“If it ain't broke, don't fix it.”
Change for the sake of it just isn't worth it, right? When your schedule is already overflowing and you hardly have time to think beyond the task you're currently doing, it's easy to adopt this thinking.
But there's one problem with this: time. Time can turn the unbroken into the obsolete. Time forces us to consider flipping that old, tired adage on its head and turn it into something much more relevant: “If you think it ain't broke, maybe you're just not looking at it closely enough."
The Rebel.com Customer Service team recently faced this very situation. We'd had our training documents in place for over a decade and achieved good results with them, but then the moment of truth arrived: we were planning a new wave of hiring and were asked to review our training docs.
What we found was that our slides contained all of the information required to train a new class of employees, but they failed to reflect many of the ideals that our brand is built on, like embracing modernization and valuing contributions.
We decided it was time to make a change. Here are 5 ways that we completely modernized our training:
We ditched the slides
The first step was to find a new way to deliver the information. We'd had those slides since 2009 and had patched them with newer info as needed, but we knew we could find a better way.
We didn't have to look far for a solution. As a domain name registrar and web host, we had the ability to use our own products to deliver the information. We set up a website with WordPress and found a plug-in for a Learning Management System (LMS) called WPLMS. This gave us somewhere to display our documentation while allowing us to integrate testing into the training modules.
Not only did this modernize the way we delivered training, but it also introduced our new employees to our products before they'd even started any lessons.
We re-wrote EVERYTHING
While we could have copied our slides to the LMS, we forced ourselves to rewrite them in an effort to streamline the information and to use more of the terminology that we use internally. We wanted the written documentation to represent the type of answer a team lead might provide to a question rather than something that belonged in a stuffy old textbook with yellowing pages.
We involved more people in the training process
We have an office full of people who are experts at what they do, so it only made sense to involve them in training. We had plenty of agents ready and willing to contribute some of the knowledge they'd gained from helping our customers over the years.
This process changed everything: it accelerated the integration of trainees into the company, building a rapport with several of their coworkers before they ever stepped onto the floor, and it showed our tenured agents that we recognized the work they'd been putting into representing our company with our clients.
We integrated our work culture into our training
Rebel has adopted Agile methodology for planning our work - across all departments, not just the development team. One of the main tools that the Customer Support team uses from Agile are retrospectives - essentially reflective meetings where our team tries to think of improvements we can implement.
As our training was wrapping up, we decided to introduce our new employees to this process by inviting them to have a retrospective on their training experience. While much of our in-class training was focused on the “what” aspect of the job, this was a valuable exercise in showing them the “how”.
We asked new employees to help shape future training
The most important part of a retrospective is to identify issues and then try to implement solutions, and our new trainees did just that. Not only did they provide us with valuable feedback, but they also gave us recommendations on how to address some of the problems they'd faced. By doing so, they had an immediate impact on the future success of our organization.
Training is an essential part of the onboarding process. It’s your second opportunity to tell your new employees what you’re all about and to help them feel at home - it only makes sense to build your work culture into it.
Want more tips for welcoming new employees into the fold? Read all about our onboarding process.