The Ultimate Guide to Training in 2015

hr training topics The Ultimate Guide to Training in 2015

If your organization is like most, a guiding question for your 2015 planning will likely be some version of this question: “What kinds of training & development programs should we choose that will help ensure we are able to attract and retain talented employees, as well as prevent regrettable attrition, within our organization in 2015 and beyond?” What follows is a snapshot of some of the most popular training topics for 2014 and into 2015, along with a brief explanation of how they can each be leveraged to the benefit of the organization.

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The Cost of Employee Turnover

With the economy and the employment situation slowing pulling out of recession in 2013, employers across the country are faced with a different kind of economic challenge, that of employee retention.

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100 Ideas for Employee Engagement Activities

Employee engagement plays an important role in attracting, retaining, and developing top talent for organizations, and is important to a business' success. There are so many ways to engage employees through recognition and rewards, compensation, training and development, advancement opportunities, work/life and wellness initiatives, leadership and management behavior, community involvement, employee events, among others.

employee engagement activities

Below are 100+ ideas for employee engagement activities:

1. Share stories about how employees' work impacts customers and the organization.

2. Volunteer at a local charity or non-profit organization.

3. Start an internal company newsletter or blog in which employees and leaders can contribute content.

4. Create a wellness committee to implement initiatives around the office.

5. Start every meeting by recognizing one person for a recent accomplishment.

6. Create a job shadowing program for employees to job shadow and learn about other departments in the company.

7. Create a years of service recognition program.

8. Offer a flexible work schedule.

9. Provide employees with job opportunities outside of their regular job duties.

10. Have the leadership team eat lunch in the cafeteria and promote employees coming to talk to them with questions or concerns.

11. Have a no-email day once a month to encourage employees to encourage in-person interaction.

12. Provide on-the-job leadership opportunities for non-management top performers.

13. Have internal training classes once a month for employees to learn more about the company’s products/services.

14. Create an employee idea/suggestion program.

15. Have supervisors write thank you cards to employees, letting them know much their contributions are valued.

16. At staff or team meetings, encourage employees to recognize their fellow co-workers for a job well done.

17. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with staff.

18. Create an employee of the month award.

19. Allow employees to bring their dog and/or bring their child to work day. 

20. Create succession plans and communicate them to successors.

Engage and Retain

21. Invite top performers to attend a networking or special event with senior leaders.

22. Invite each employee to attend at least one training program each year.

23. Host exercise or yoga classes at the office.

24. Give employees stretch assignments to challenge them.

25. Recognize a personal accomplishment or milestone in employees' lives, such as births of children, weddings, retirements, and professional development achievements.

26. Start a new-hire mentor or buddy program.

27. Meet one-on-one with employees to talk about what they like and dislike about their job.

28. Implement a fitness program or activity.

29. Host an all-staff or team potluck breakfast or lunch.

30. Create a cross-training program.

31. Create employee-led committees for safety, wellness, or other workplace initiatives.

32. Host a community involvement day.

33. Have senior leaders work with non-management employees on projects and assignments.

34. Take a high performing employee out to lunch and/or host a luncheon or breakfast with a small group of employees.

35. Have monthly/quarterly town hall meetings during which senior management reports on the state of the business and employees have a chance to ask questions.

36. Talk about career development with top performers at least once a year.

37. Require that every manager provide ongoing coaching and feedback to their employees.

38. Start a profit sharing or bonus program.

39. Provide employees with extra time off as a reward, perhaps around a holiday.

40. Give employees a day off for their birthday.
 Engage and Retain

41. Host a summer company picnic or outing and a holiday party every year.

42. Do something special for employees when they are take on extra work while another employee is on vacation or out sick/on a medical leave.

43. Create open, comfortable collaboration spaces in which employees can gather together.

44. Implement an open door policy.

45. Match an employee's charitable donation.

46. Have employees participate in developing the organization's mission, vision, values, and strategic direction.

47. Create a mentoring program.

48. Give employees a paid day off to volunteer at a charity or non-profit organization of their choice.

49. Have a different department lead company staff meetings each time. Let the department plan an activity and report on what their department does.

50. Hang a white board (or other type of collaboration board) in the office and each month post a “Question of the Month” and leave markers for employees to write their answers.

51. Support an employee with a personal or work situation, such as a medical issue, loss of a relative, etc.

52. Pay for one professional membership per employee per year.

53. Offer employees to attend a conference paid by the company.

54. Give stretch assignments to top performers.

55. Give top performers the lead on special projects.

56. Create a culture committee comprised of employees.

57. Coordinate an employee appreciation day/week.

58. Allow employees to work from home as needed or on the regular basis.

59. Have a peer nominated employee of the month award.

60. Have non-management employees lead department or team meetings.

Engage and Retain

61. Rotate each person in your department leading a department meeting.

62. Have a welcome celebration and/or activity for newly hired employees.

63. Create a KPI board so employees can track how well they are doing on a daily/weekly basis.

64. Have a praise board in a public place where employees can informally thank other employees.

65. Do a short daily stand up at the beginning of each shift to recap what is going on in the department and business.

66. Coordinate a team-building event or retreat.

67. Start an internal knowledge-sharing group or initiative.

68. Create a book club in your organization on leadership, management, or industry-related topics.

69. Create a personalized learning and development plan for each employee.

70. Offer career counseling or coaching.

71. Implement a creativity and innovation contest.

72. Take candid photos of employees and at events to share on a bulletin board. Every month start with a new board and create an ongoing scrapbook of the old pictures.

73. Contract with a wellness or health coach to come on-site. 

74. Have a monthly birthday celebration for all birthdays in the office.

75. Put fun games and entertainment in a common area, such as a ping–pong table, television, or Wii.

76. Create a leadership development or emerging leaders program.

77. Offer career opportunities and promotions internally before seeking external hires.

78. Offer online training courses.

79. Allow employees to personalize their workspace.

80. Have a field day of outdoor activities or a few field hours during lunches throughout the summer.

Engage and Retain

81. Send top performing employees to a train-the-trainer class so they can help train new associates in their departments.

82. Start a tuition assistance/reimbursement program.

83. Have a company history month, during which employees learn about the history of the company through different activities.

84. Encourage employees to improve at least one thing about their job each quarter that helps the department and/or company.

85. Have senior leaders make "rounds" around the office each week (if possible) to interact and communicate with employees.

86. Have the CEO or top executive write a column for the internal company newsletter or blog.

87. Highlight a different employee in each internal newsletter. 

88. Give surprise half days to the whole staff.

89. Create an internal job board on which positions are posted internally before looking for outside candidates.

90. Create a company vegetable garden together as a staff.

91. Have employees set yearly professional and developmental goals.

92. Celebrate employee work anniversaries; give employees a gift and a card on their anniversary.

93. Give all employees a compensation increase each year. Differentiate increases based on performance.

94. Offer educational opportunities or programs related to stress management.

95. Have casual dress Fridays.

96. Get everyone involved with safety and have a tally in a common area of how many days without an accident. Every 60 days with no accident everyone is rewarded.

97. Play music in the office.

98. Host meetings outdoors for a change of scenery and fresh air.

99. Start a community puzzle for employees to work on during lunch.

100. Initiate a walking, running, or other type of exercise club.


Hopefully this list gives your organization several ideas for employee engagement activities. Providing opportunities for employees to be engaged creates a positive environment where employees can excel in their work.

Engaged employees can pay off in better business results, retention, and productivity if your organization is willing to create a great workplace environment and culture.

Interested in learning more about engagement surveys?

Submit your contact information and receive instant access to a brochure that overviews what is included in ERC's engagement surveys and our process for conducting and assessing.

View the Engagement Brochure

 

A Toolkit for Retaining Great Employees

Are you giving your best employees good reasons to stay at your organization? Retaining employees comes down to giving great employees a good reason to stay at your workplace over and over again, especially when they have another opportunity on the table.

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Training: Building Your Talent and the Economy

Organizations in Northeast Ohio have long understood the importance of offering training and development opportunities to their employees. Whether training is being used as a strategy for attracting and retaining top talent to overall workforce development, ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey consistently reports that between 80 and 90 percent of organizations provide their employees with financial assistance to upgrade their skills. This percentage is even higher among NorthCoast 99 winners with 96% of these top workplaces offering workshops, trainings, conferences, etc to their top performers.

Training as an Attraction & Retention Strategy

Offering training and development opportunities was cited as is the top strategy, after direct monetary incentives, used to attract and retain top talent from a sample of 102 Northeast Ohio organizations participating in the 2012 ERC Talent Management Practices Survey. This commitment to building a skilled employee base is further demonstrated through the financial commitment made by these organizations. For example, 82% of respondents report offering financial assistance to employees who wish to pursue job-related training, 79% contribute financially towards conferences and 72% put money towards costs associated with professional societies/organizations on behalf of employees.

Training as a Factor for Economic Recovery

In addition to being beneficial for individual employers and their employees, training is also singled out as a key component for economic recovery. In an issue from November, 2012 of Fortune magazine, Nina Easton takes this one step further. She suggests that not only is training key for a recovery, but also warns that without significant investments in training from corporate America, the “job crisis” plaguing the U.S. economy for the past few years is likely to worsen. In today’s global market, she continues, U.S. employers hold the fate of their own recovery in their own hands. According to Easton, if we don’t invest in building the skills of employees here at home the so called “skills-gap” will continue to grow- a trend which she argues could be used by U.S. employers, “as an excuse to go on a shopping spree overseas for talent.”

While the survey data above demonstrates that many Northeast Ohio employers already recognize the importance of a well trained workforce, if Easton and other experts like her are correct, the influence that these organizations can have on the business climate may run even deeper than they realize- right to the heart of the economic recovery.

Additional Resources

Technical Training
Give your people the knowledge and skills to become a more efficient and productive employee. ERC offers a wide variety of technical training courses that are important to the success of your business. Click here for more info.

3 Reasons You're Losing Employees Because of Pay

In this article, we explore three current and critical compensation problems that cause employers to lose talented employees. These issues include low salary increases, lack of differentiation in pay by performance, and difficulties finding the actual "going rate" for jobs.

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Employers Attempt to Identify Retention Challenges

When asked “What is the biggest challenge your company faces today?” the most common response by participants in the 2012 ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey was, “hiring & retaining employees.” To address the first half of this challenge, employers report using recruiting and hiring practices at rates that are fairly consistent with past years. Most organizations check an applicant’s references (90%) and more than half (57%) use some type of psychological testing as part of their selection process. Unsurprisingly, there was a noticeable uptick in the use of technology as a recruiting tool overall, with more employers routinely using tools such as internet job boards (85%) and social networking (52%) to match the right candidate with their organization’s needs.

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