Training the Overwhelmed Employee
The average employee focuses on a single task for only seven minutes before facing a distraction, according to neurologist Larry Rosen.
In this day and age where we are surrounded by technology to make our jobs and lives easier, it can become a bit of a double-edged sword that can actually chew into our productivity. Did you know the average person checks their smartphone about 150 times daily?
Deloitte has published many articles describing the overwhelmed worker. This is someone who you would describe as being in permanent "on" mode, always working, hyper-connected, and overloaded with information and notifications.
The worker may look like the one you see rushing down the hall at the dealership from one meeting to another. They may look like someone hunched over their computer with multiple tabs and screens open and trying to juggle it all, they might even be wolfing down a meal.
Gallup research was published in Forbes stating that 2/3 of employees today feel overwhelmed. Concepts of work-life balance have been lost, managers are eager to "fast-track" employees into productivity without laying a foundation of knowledge. This and the lack of time for meaningful communication of expectations results in a vicious cycle of setting our employees up to fail.
Great technology that is designed specifically for your industry is a good step, however, if the technology is not rolled-out to your dealership in a planned and collaborative way it can sometimes add to the overwhelm at work.
At DealerPILOT we do sometimes receive questions such as "Do I have to make my employees take this training it seems overwhelming?" or "Can I just do this for my managers they don't have time to learn how to use the feature/module and I do not want to overwhelm them."
Though when we do not provide the direction, guidance, or time to learn our people will be frustrated when they do have to use technology, it will always feel foreign to them.
Plus looking at mandatory training by law such as WHMIS or Harassment Prevention, a surprise inspection or a human resources incident can cause such a large problem it eats away at least triple the time and profit a dealership may have saved by not investing in learning from the start.
Here are four strategies to engage your personnel in learning without overwhelming them:
One step at a time, one course at a time.
Preferably with a small break in between, providing a reasonable expectation to complete learning that is balanced with legal requirements and incident prevention.
This will also prevent any loss of learning by limiting the amount of information that needs to be absorbed in one sitting.
Two, make the training easily accessible.
The benefit of a learning system that can be accessed on a portable device from any location is that the employee does not spend a frustrating amount of time figuring out where to locate the training courses and how to complete them.
Also, make yourself accessible if they need clarification on any training points inside the courseware.
Three, allow them to self-direct their learning.
Learning is not a chore, it is an employee's right and an investment in their professional development and personal safety.
This ties into accessibility can they access their learning from any device or location?
Are employees given the "why" the training courses are necessary and beneficial for them?
Are they provided the opportunity to choose when they will complete their learning, are deadlines reasonable?
Are managers clearing pieces of time in the workweek to complete the training without distraction and to promote a healthy work/life balance?
Four, be sure the training is relevant to the employee.
Are the courses you engage in relevant to the dealership, the legislation, and the employee's tasks? For example, an accountant will not be excited to take Vehicle Lift Safety training but would benefit from Cyber Security training as they open probably open email and use the internet for work.
An effective learning platform will:
Test the learner's knowledge and competency in the skill set that is being educated on.
Track course completion and provide the employee access to training progress
Remain accessible to the worker so they can access any materials that they may wish to refer to during a work situation.
Allow and consider feedback from the learners that continuously improves the learning experience.
At DealerPILOT we provide our clients with a listing of all the available courseware available in our system for their employees. This listing includes who the target audience is, what the training is about and why it's important. It also includes a schedule for refresher training that can be automated.
Remember, training your employees is not only often legally required, it provides the dealership with more engaged, skilled, motivated, and committed employees.
If the feedback from your people is they feel overwhelmed, the goal is to work on dismantling the barriers that prevent them from learning rather than eliminating education inside the dealership.