When we ask our employees about learning and improving, they generally think of a formal education program. But what if learning and improving were just the way they approached their day? If we were able to create small, two minute learning moments throughout the day, how much more practical could we make learning? How might it inspire a learning workplace culture?
Formal learning is important — it's how we learn new concepts, expand our thinking and connect with new ideas. And as performance goes, formal learning is a critical and required part of a success formula. Formal learning also accommodates a variety of learning methods — live, self-directed, facilitated, online — to help employees learn in ways that work best for them.
Although structured learning is critical for sustainable success, great, practical, hands-on, make-a-difference learning happens best in the moment. Organizations advance significant performance progress as we make short, meaningful learning contact with our employees.
Picture this: You are managing a restaurant and watch the way a server greets and connects with a customer. As the server comes back to the service area, you have an optimal learning opportunity. Take two minutes and share one or two ways to improve the initial contact with a customer that will improve both rapport and accuracy of the order.
Or this: You are the supervisor of call center employees or employees who are involved in phone service. Regularly listen to employee calls and spend two minutes sharing applause for successes or ideas to improve something that needs improving with the employees whose calls you have listened to.
As you pay attention to your employees, you are gathering information about how they perform. Instead of overwhelming employees with significant improvement plans that come from formal education, limit your performance guidance to one or two simple ideas, delivered in a two minute training. Several two minute learning sessions, multiple times a day, can both improve performance and create a culture of continual and effective learning. This can also encourage employees to do the same with each other — to constantly watch and offer short and focused support to improve performance.
The value of two minute learning is that we keep our learning practical, succinct and results-oriented. This learning feels like guidance, not lecturing. Additionally, because it is delivered as the employee is performing, it can be implemented directly into practice, both improving performance and reinforcing habits and skills.
Supplement your formal and structured learning with two minute learning. Watch employees, then when necessary provide on-the-spot coaching and educating to affect performance in the moment. And as performance improves, consider using some of your two minute moments to acknowledge and encourage. Employees will look forward to the learning and the applause.