writing in a notebook with an open laptop next to it
PHOTO: Alejandro Escamilla

Employee training is essential to a company's survival. Companies with established ongoing training programs do better than those without one. However, some training programs perform better than others.

Digital technology makes it possible to train people without the need to bring them to a specific location. The traditional classroom approach is no longer effective enough at training employees, it hasn't adapted to the modern digital way of doing work.

Training sessions can be helpful in some scenarios, but aren't as effective as digital tool enabled micro-training for the general purpose of ongoing employee training.

Micro-Training's Advantages

Overall, micro-training works much better gives your digital workplace a sustainable competitive edge. It has several advantages: cloud-friendliness, more extensive topic coverage, easier consumption, higher information retention rate, lower cost in the long-term, etc.

Cloud-Friendliness

Today, many workers prefer not to be bound to a specific location or set hours — they have the option to work wherever and whenever they choose. When away from office, instead of sitting through an hour-long lecture, employees can read a few paragraphs of text or watch a five-minute video on their smart devices, one content item at a time. The cloud makes it possible to deliver this micro-training content when and where it is needed.

More Extensive Topic Coverage

An event-driven training session can cover only a limited amount of topics in the allotted time. So trainers often default to selecting a limited number of topics that they think would be applicable to the highest number of users.

With such limitations, employees won't be exposed to the many Office 365 capabilities that can make their work easier. Ongoing micro-training can drive this ever-expanding knowledge.

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Easier Consumption

It is easier to read one tip per day than hundreds of tips in one hour. If learning is quick and easy, people will do it.

A major problem with training events is they deliver too much information too quickly, which can be overwhelming. In contrast, micro-training makes it easier for employees to take in and grasp content.

Higher Information Retention Rate

Information overload is a recipe for an over-stretched memory. People forget most of what they learn within 24 hours after a class. With micro-training, employees retain more of what they learn.

Lower Long-Term Costs

For most organizations, traditional employee training programs are simply too expensive to sustain long-term. Micro-training programs can save money when compared with the long-term costs of traditional training programs.

With the right content delivery tools, you can repeat these programs on an ongoing basis cost-effectively.

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3 Simple Ways to Provide Micro-Training

Get creative with how you deliver micro-training content to employees. Here are three ideas to get you started:

1. Deliver Content Right to Their Inboxes

Almost every employee checks their inbox daily. Use that habit to deliver micro-training content. Broadcasting daily tips via email has proven very effective in growing employee knowledge of digital tools and driving digital adoption.

To run a successful program, make sure you gather an influential team of senders, add a call to action to every email, create a sense of urgency, and reward early action takers. I describe these steps in details in this article.

2. Deliver Content in the Cafeteria

If your workplace has a cafeteria with some basic screening equipment, you can use these facilities to deliver training content. This will take some creativity.

We have seen companies display Office 365 tips on their cafeteria TV screens. They would play the same tip multiple times to make sure that everyone who enters the hall watches it. Also, people are instructed to pay attention to the screen for at least five minutes a day. Many companies that use this technique prioritize broadcasting of governance policies and regulatory compliance guidelines.

The method may seem simple, but the results will surprise you. 

If your cafeteria isn't equipped with a big screen, put one in the most frequented area of the building, for example on a balcony or next to an elevator.

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3. Deliver Content Where They Work

There are certain applications that employees use almost every day: Outlook, Word, Excel, etc. You can get everyone to view a tutorial before they start using the application. A contextual help system displays messages on specific windows, workspaces and pages of software applications. The method is very effective.

As an add-on, a contextual help system allows you to overlay a popup tutorial over a software application workspace so it can be the first thing a user sees and read or watch before they are able to continue.

Over time, this gives every employee a chance to learn more every day, one tip at a time.

Provide Training in Bite-Sized, Digestible Chunks

Micro-training is the better way of making sure that employees gradually improve their knowledge of a digital tool. It is affordable, more effective, and well adapted to the cloud technology.

Deliver content items to your colleagues most commonly frequented spaces: inboxes, cafeterias, applications windows, etc.

With time, everyone will master SharePoint and other Office 365 applications, will use them to the fullest, and will remain ahead of the digital transformation curve.