Micah Griffo, head of marketing at Ardent Learning, talks about why creating a great customer experience depends so much on a company's employees' experience in their day-to-day work. The central idea is that a great customer experience begins with employees who are not only well trained but who truly embody the core value of the brand and are able to convey those in a way that results in customers having an optimal experience with the brand.
Kasper Spiro, CEO of Easygenerator, talks about employee-generated learning--what it is and how to leverage it to generate training content without relying solely on L&D.
* Empowering teams and individuals to capture their knowledge and format it for training can save time and money.
* Millenial employees are used to learning on-demand, in their own time and on their own devices. Top-down, mandated learning derived from a central source takes too long to create and Millenials and other employees no longer find this sort of learning content engaging.
* Employees like being recognized for their knowledge and for sharing it with others. Knowledge sharing boosts morale and helps spead best practices throughout a company.
Nick Kane, managing partner at Janek Performance Group and co-author of the book Critical Selling: How Top Performers Accelerate the Sales Process and Close More Deals, talks about how to frame sales training to engage experienced reps.
* Frame the workshop as focused on acquiring knowledge and career development instead of on "sales training."
* Get input from senior reps before the workshop to help shape the content and to make them feel part of the process instead of just passive recipients.
* Follow up with senior reps to get feedback on the training and to develop coaching around ideas and principles set forth in the workshop.
Nathan Frisk, owner of Aro Communications, talks about why your onboarding program probably doesn't work as well as it should and offers ideas for improving onboarding and getting new employees off on the right foot.
*When welcoming a new employee to your company, you're not just adding a number. Focus on what the employee can expect and how the company will help the employee get up to speed and thrive in their role.
* Get rid of buzzwords and corporate jargon and speak to new employees like regular people, using everyday language that clearly communicates what's expected from them and that enables them to communicate what they expect and hope for.
*Crappy onboarding can result in unengaged employees and high turnover, costing your company time and money. Investing in onboarding upfront saves time and money because it empower new employees to perform well in their roles and to grow over time.
John Girard, CEO of Cience, talks about why, admist the deluge of technology and artificial intelligence systems transforming sales, B2B prospecting is actually become more reliant on human-to-human contact and conversation.
* While AI bots may be useful for automating many rote, systematic sales-related tasks, the technology is not yet capable of navigating the complex give and take of most B2B sales processes and interactions.
* The automation of some parts of the sales process has highlighted the value of so-called "soft skills" unique to humans -- the ability to listen, to tell stories, to read body language and connect on an emotional level.
* Trainers and coaches have increasingly important roles to play in helping sales people and other employees hone their soft skills.
Melissa Lamson, founder of Lamson Consulting, talks about why roughly 17% of women leave their corporate jobs for better opportunities and what businesses can do to make their workplaces less likely to lose female employees.
* Many women, like men, leave jobs because they don't find the work to be very meaningful. But women also have a greater concern for being able to climb the ladder and make a career. And, generally, women are less socialized to ask for what they want. Leaving to find a better opportunity is often seen as easier or less confrontational.
* 17% of women leaving jobs every year matters because there's global competition for talent, and businesses around the world are struggilng to fine qualified, trained talent. Also, research shows the having a more diverse leadership in terms of gender increases financial performance.
* Many women struggle with delegating and try to do it all themselves. Melissa tries to help women understand that by delegating, they're helping their teams learn new skills and take on new challenges.
* Companies that make a conscious effort to make leadership more diverse in terms of gender set an example for the entire company and encourage younger female employees to stay and work their way up.
Ed Holinski, who leads solution strategy at Performance Development Group, and Jim Rush, founding partner of MEM partners, talk about why L&D professionals need to position themselves not just as curriculum developers but as value creators who help solve business problems and meet company wide goals.
* In order to add value, L&D leaders need to look at things from the perspective of the CEO and know the business inside and out. CEOs want solutions to pressing business problems, and so L&D professionals need to market what they do as helping to solve those problems today.
* A key way for L&D to add value is to meet the desire for real-time, pinpoint learning. Doing so helps the company compete for the most talented employees.
* Another key for L&D is listening to the CEO and c-suite executive to learn about the issues they're facing, the problems hitting them over the head, and opportunities for solving those problems. Then using that knowledge to leverage the L&D function to add value by helping to address those problems.
* Businesses spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year on L&D yet often don't see ROI and consequently don't see L&D as a particularly valuable part of the organization. It's incumbant on L&D leads to find out what sort of material impact the CEO and his or her team are looking for and then figure out a way to help drive that.
We talk with Jason Weber, enterprise training director for the Wisconsin Department of Administration and founder of Elements Consulting, about servant leadership--the concept that leaders should have an innate desire to serve and support their team.
*Servant leadership involves providing accountability, i.e. ensuring that the goals identified by the team are being accomplished by all members of the team, including the leader.
*Servant leadership also involves providing the support and resources employees need to do their jobs to the best of their ability. This includes not only physical resources but also emotional and psychological support and making people feel valued.
*Servant leadership also entails honest self-evaluation. This involves leaders admitting mistakes and being aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. Honest self-evaluation is also about seeking feedback and taking it to heart to change behaviors that are detrimental to success.
I talk with David Hoff, COO and executive vice president at EASI Consult and author of Learning Agility: The Key to Leader Potential, about what learning agility is a why it matters. David discusses several factors that contribute to learning agility and explains why learning "agility" is not the same as learning "ability." Where learning ability is about intelligence, learning agility is about adapting to knew situations and being able to figure out how to function and get things done. Agile learners are able to easily paradigms and see problems from various perspectives; are able to take constructive criticism and use it to improve their performance; and are willing to take interpersonal risks.
I talk with my co-host Mike Allison, who's also a world-class sales trainer, about tips for making training engaging. Mike's tips include:
It's the trainers job to engage his or her audience. Trainees are not obligated to be engaged.
Trainers have to be great facilitators by getting the participants to do the heavy lifting themselves.
Great facilitators get participants up out of their seats and doing things.
Avoid PowerPoint at all costs!
The physical space where the training takes place matters. Arrange chairs (no tables!) in a U-shape to facilitate engagement and interaction.