To foster teamwork, it is important to utilize multiple teaching and learning methods and get many people involved. Prior job experience, education, and company or product specific knowledge are valuable human resources to be shared. Explore the skills each person brings to the job and find creative ways to share that knowledge. A manager may not always be the one to teach a new process or to get a new employee started. Acknowledging the strengths of staff members is complimentary and makes them feel valued. Cultivate your team by teaching each other, encouraging sharing, and taking advantage of free resources from providers. Here are a few no-cost ideas:
Internal Training Sessions
Gear up for busy seasons with training programs led by your experienced staff. These may be one-on-one or small group teaching moments. If everyone cannot be together to learn, ask experienced staff to make a checklist of steps or video demonstrations of a new process that can be shared with others in the company. With software, identify the most experienced users of software programs and tap into them to share the best tips with other staff before busy seasons hit.
Mentoring is a successful way to teach without slowing down productivity. At SSI, new developers start in SSI’s Apprenticeship Program. Not only do the new staff have someone to go to for advice and new assignments but, we have found that the mentors also grow and build their leadership skills.
Another technique used at SSI are Lunch-and-Learns in which staff learn from other staff in a presentation style format. This may be inter- or intra- departmental. For example, a speaker from another department could provide a new point of view of how the company is impacting your industry. Ask for volunteers or designate instructors on topics that could benefit others and ultimately improve your company by providing a better understanding of the business.
Create a Workplace Where People Are Encouraged to Share Ideas
Valuing the work, the industry, the customer, and each other helps to define the culture of a business. Additionally, place value on different walks of life. Prior experiences can contribute to great ideas to move your business culture forward. Cultivate new ideas by drawing on life experiences of your staff and discovering what could benefit others. For example, if you are implementing or upgrading technology you will want to Create a Company Culture that Embraces New Technology.
Listen to your staff. You just might learn something from their past experiences or find they have expertise and hands-on knowledge to share. If you need to implement a new process, ask for suggestions in a staff meeting, an email, or in a casual conversation. Encourage sharing of ideas that may stem from lessons learned at your company, a previous job, or school. Recognize that not everyone got to your company in the same way and a new employee is not a blank slate. They have experiences and everyone can likely learn something new. Past experiences should not be a threat to the long-term staff, but rather an opportunity to bring a fresh perspective.
Know When to Get Outside Training and Resources
Make sure your employees know about the helpful resources from equipment manufacturers or software providers. For example, when utilizing Agvance, staff can consult the Agvance Community or the Agvance SKY Help Center for written instructions and how-to videos.
Whether attending a conference, webinar, or course, ask staff to bring the information back to benefit others at the company. Sharing key points of what they have learned may be in the form of a quick written summary, or future one-on-one assistance to a coworker, or a demonstration to a small group. The idea is that the information does not conclude at the end of the educational experience.
Keep sharing, keeping valuing what your employees are capable of, and everyone wins!