From the Editors

It Happens. Employees Forget What They’ve Learned

Workers could get more done if they weren’t doubling back to relearn what was taught in training.

There’s a chance the training a company just put employees through won’t amount to much. If it does, it may be due to the extra work employees put in post-training to relearn what was covered.

According to a January 2017 survey on employee information retention by corporate learning management system provider Bridge by Instructure, 45 percent of employees spend at least 15 minutes per week looking up information that was taught in a company training session. For instance, in a company of 1,000 workers, nearly 6,000 hours are spent backtracking information.

This equals lost productivity, which Bridge attributes to infrequent training engagements and a lack of appropriate tools to help learners retain information. As it is, 78 percent of survey respondents participated in training sessions on a quarterly or less frequent basis. Forty-seven percent of respondents in the restaurant/food services industry received training annually or not at all, and 40 percent of respondents in the field of education received training at the frequency or less, for example.

When it comes to employees who want to quickly refer to information to keep them working, they go low-tech using sticky notes (46 percent) and calendar reminders (47 percent). Only 9 percent of employees search out corporate materials like an employee handbook for help, and while verbal reminders may be wildly popular they’re an inefficient way to reinforce training, yet 36 percent of companies continue to deploy them.

The bottom line is employees could use some corporate support retaining the information shared in training, Bridge reported. More than 1,000 U.S. employees participated in the Bridge survey, 43 percent of whom were Generation X, 35 percent millennials and 19 percent baby boomers. Most respondents were mid-level employees, managers or supervisors. Today, a growing number of workers seek out information at the point of need — especially digitally native millennials.

In addition to boosting training frequency when and where it makes sense, learning leaders can save their employees time, and improve their company’s productivity and training ROI by integrating performance support tools into employees’ daily work experiences. And if they haven’t done so already, invest in microlearning to augment training sessions and aid retention.

Bravetta Hassell is a Chief Learning Officer associate editor. Comment below, or email editor@CLOmedia.com.

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