Creative Employee Training Ideas

Jan 20, 2011

Inc. has put together a list of 6 tips to ensure your employees are engaged throughout the training process, retaining what they learn, and having fun. The leaders of Zappos, Disney and Home Depot offers their advice when it comes to preparing new hires:

1. Train Everyone On Everything: Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh sticks to a rigorous training regimen. Every new employee in the online retailer’s Henderson, Nevada headquarters must spend two weeks answering customer calls, two weeks learning in a classroom, and a week shipping boxes in the company’s Kentucky fulfillment center. Then there’s an additional curriculum for longtime employees, which includes 200 hours worth of classes in subjects such as Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and Twitter etiquette.

2. Add Your Personal Touch: Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, the co-founders of Home Depot, devoted 10 percent of their time to training, personally conducting classes across the country or at the company’s Atlanta headquarters. “The most important thing to remember is that you must be actively involved in all of the training that goes on in your company,” Marcus told Inc. “The fire of the entrepreneur is very difficult to translate down the line. Too often, CEOs hand over responsibility to people who may seem to represent them well on the surface but rarely do. By keeping a hand in the training process, you expose everybody, including your trainers, to your philosophies.”

3. Show, Don't Just Tell: When training its would-be leaders, Disney doesn't just tell its employees about customer service values established in the 1960s; it gathers good customer service stories from around the company to share with its leadership classes, and takes employees backstage at its parks to see its complex support environment. When on the road doing classes for outside organizations, instructors create a virtual experience using film and photographs.

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