How do I gain mastery? Have you ever asked yourself this question when thinking about your job? Especially when one is new to a particular area, we all wish to acquire all the necessary skills as quickly as possible. However, gaining mastery is not something that you achieve overnight. Instead, it is about learning and practicing, over and over again, for months and often years.
Think of a pianist. In order to become highly skilled in playing the piano, ongoing training and practice are fundamental. Proper initial training, that teaches the basic techniques of piano playing, is important, but it is far from sufficient to master the instrument. A good pianist trains regularly and practices each new piano piece many times before presenting it to an audience.
The same principle applies to working in a contact center: Ongoing training and practice is the key to mastery.
Employees that are provided ongoing learning opportunities after onboarding, are more motivated, work smarter, and are more productive. In contrast, employees who have not received further training after their onboarding are more likely to become frustrated with their job, make more mistakes and fail to meet even minimum standards. By providing ongoing training opportunities for your employees, you will reduce turnover and thus keep the cost of hiring new employees low.
Here are our 5 proven initiatives to establish an ongoing training mindset that can make your employees more loyal and productive than ever before.
1. Create an environment where people can try, fail and learn from mistakes
People learn from mistakes. If mistakes are not tolerated in an organization, we are mainly concerned with doing nothing wrong. This ends in mediocrity. To become really good at something, you have to be given the opportunity to try things out. Naturally, mistakes sometimes happen during this process. It’s the only way to learn how to do things better next time. So, communicate to your employees that it is okay to fail. Encourage talking about mistakes in order to share knowledge, identify learning needs, and expand skills.
2. Give employees learning opportunities
Give your employees time to learn new things by scheduling learning times. Just 15 minutes a day is enough to complete a short e-learning unit and acquire necessary theoretical knowledge. Regular classroom training or coaching sessions, e.g. once a month, are ideal for applying and theoretical knowledge and practicing new skills.
3. Set clear learning goals
With a clear learning goal in mind, employees are much more motivated to invest time in regular learning. Sit down with each employee and consider areas for improvement together. Based on this, derive concrete learning goals and training measures. In addition, agree on the time required to achieve the learning goal. One possible learning goal could be: The employee handles challenging customers in a professional manner. To achieve this, the employee could take part in an online course on handling challenging callers over two weeks to learn helpful conversation techniques. Several coaching sessions could then follow, in which the employee practices the techniques learned.
4. Provide ongoing support after training
Learning continues even after a training measure has been completed. Support your employees in applying their new skills. Give positive feedback when you notice that an employee uses the new skill. Ask them how helpful a particular training session was, and if there are any problems applying the new skill in everyday work. From this, it may be possible to derive further learning needs.
5. Give employees opportunities to learn from their peers
If employees do not know how to solve a certain task, they usually ask a colleague first. Exchanging ideas with colleagues is a great way to improve skills on-the-job. Create space for your employees to exchange information on job-related topics and to learn from each other. This can be regular peer-to-peer coaching, where an experienced employee teaches a particular skill to a new employee. A positive side effect is that those employees who pass on their knowledge to their peers strengthen their own understanding.
On-going training and practice is essential in today's contact center life in order to master diverse and complex challenges. Not only does it increase an employee's skill set. It also significantly increases employee retention and thereby reduces recruiting costs. There are many approaches for establishing continuous learning in your organization, such as:
- Creating an environment where people are allowed to fail
- Giving employees time to pursue learning opportunities
- Setting clear learning goals for your employees
- Providing ongoing support after training has been completed
- Giving employees opportunities to learn from their peers
At The Call Center School, helping people improve their skills is our core business. We are passionate about creating bite-sized e-learning courses that can be easily integrated into daily work routines. Over 30,000 graduates of the Call Center School have improved their skills with our e-learning courses. Click here to learn more.