Extended enterprise training is a different beast than your typical employee training. For one, not everyone is your employee, which means you can’t control everything—or even mandate training, in most cases. To make matters more complicated, enterprise partners often span across industries, skill levels, geographies, and languages, united only by a common business goal.
Enterprise L&D teams aim to do a wee bit more than develop competent employees (you know, like build an empire of productivity), and it’s not impossible with the right tricks up your sleeve. Here are 12 best practices to hack your extended enterprise training:
- Roll out the roadmap. Before diving into a training program, take the lay of the land and map out the courses each learning group in the supply chain needs to complete. For example, your franchisees might need to learn about hiring store management, while your online sales reps need to master the company's sales processes. To make sure content isn’t too elementary or advanced, you must be familiar with not only the type of training each group will need, but also their skill levels. To analyze skill levels, consider elements such as prior knowledge, career level (e.g. executive vs. technician), educational background, and more.
- Deploy to leadership first, then to the rest of the empire. Software services of any kind spur change, and change can impact an organization’s culture (so make sure it’s for the better). To implement a new training program, you’ll first need to get leadership on board. Then inform employees across entities about what’s available and what’s expected of them. Information can be executed through emails, online meetings, videos, and training courses, with help from store-level managers (and your LMS).
- Mix it up to max out engagement. Let’s talk course content (hint: don’t make it boring). Use a variety of multimedia and text formats—such as demo videos, infographics, and charts—to help spur memory and keep learners engaged. Don’t forget: these swarms of trainees are people, too, so be sure to include material that will engage and develop them.
- Empower partners to do their thang with sub-accounts. An LMS with sub-accounts allows partners autonomy over training while still allowing corporate to maintain influence or deploy enterprise-wide updates. Partner entities can adjust training content to their industry’s needs and standards, and the managing company doesn’t have to give up the wheel.
- Upcycle training content. One trainee’s no-longer-needed course is another trainee’s treasure. Determine training content that can be reused or repurposed for other groups by updating a few key points in those fixer-upper courses. To get really efficient and avoid reinventing the wheel, incorporate reusable learning objects that you create or purchase and can share with partners. Keepin’ boss status 100.
- Crunch numbers to keep up the march. Review analytics and export reports in your LMS to see trends or ID what’s working (or not) with partner training programs. Enterprise technology, media, data, and services company IDG found 80 percent of enterprises were using big data to plan training in 2015, and it’s only increasing. Check metrics like adoption rate, quiz scores, and percentage of correct answers for each question to optimize courses and beef up those less-than-perfect areas.
- Start engraving those trophies to increase productivity. Incentives motivate employees and are a catalyst for big sales numbers, even increasing employee performance by 27 percent. Set training goals, sales quotas, or industry-related benchmarks that promise a reward (whether monetary or other types of praise) when met or exceeded, as this has the most positive impact on results.
- Create LinkedIn-worthy training certificates. To measure learning progress in a way every stakeholder can appreciate, create certifications and levels for various skills in your training courses. For instance, Denny’s requires its employees to certify themselves through e-learning at every in-store station. Everybody needs pancake skills.
- Master onboarding (more than once). Ramping up training for new hires is important for retaining them, especially in a large organization. But onboarding isn’t just for the first few weeks or months—Qdoba decided to re-onboard employees at five months after noticing workers were peacing out after six.
- Reach for the stars (on your team).Get a little help with course creation from those who know the daily grind best: the workers. Encourage managers to recruit top employees to develop training courses or lead on-site demos or roleplaying sessions. You may even ID future managers by seeing how they handle their knowledge transfer. Even better, you’ll be able to deploy any insider discoveries to the whole enterprise. For example, a franchisee might find a better way to manage inventory that would benefit all locations.
- Go mobile or get left behind.The modern workforce is all about mobile everything, and if your training isn’t made to go, it’s a no-no. A mobile-friendly, cloud-based LMS like Bridge by Instructure allows anything with Wi-Fi to access training, which is especially useful when tech tools aren’t identical across the supply chain.
- Grant the library card.An LMS with permission levels lets organizations house all training content in one central place without a confidentiality risk. For instance, your corporate trainers can have full admin access to create, change, and deploy courses, whereas a distribution center worker would have access to the training courses pertaining to her job.
With the right LMS, these hacks are more than just frustration-free ways to train. Online learning efficiency can cut down on costs (and time), but don’t take our word for it. After switching to e-learning:
- IBM saved one-third of its previous training budget.
- Fanzz onboarded seasonal retail workers in one day instead of 14 and increased online purchases by 300 percent.
- Dow Chemical cut training costs from $95 to $11 per learner.
- Larry H. Miller Group cut course creation time in half.
To really set your enterprise-wide training apart, learn how to train your customers. Check out our ebook “Strong Culture Strong Leaders.”