How to Motivate Workers: Developing a More Engaged & Innovative Workforce

Before we begin our article, let’s begin with a teaser to get you interested.

There’s a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.

Daniel Pink, TED Talk, The Puzzle of Motivation

And with that attention-grabbing teaser, let’s return to our article, which ultimately addresses that teaser, explains it, and and offers tips on how to solve the problem…(but know that you can also find the video of that TED Talk near the bottom of this article).

We’re moving into a new era of manufacturing. Or really, we’ve already entered the new era, and things are continuing to change at increasing rates even now.

If you’ve heard people talking about the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, you’ve already heard about it. The same is true if you’ve heard people talking about advanced manufacturing.

And that’s great, because this era holds a lot of exciting promise. But there’s a problem, too. Many employers are struggling to find enough workers with the necessary advanced skills. If you’ve heard of or read articles about the skills gap, you know what we’re talking about.

As a training company servicing the manufacturing industry, we’re dedicated to providing workforce training materials to help workers develop the skills necessary to help their companies thrive in this new, modern economy. Training can and does provide a measurable leg up in the perpetual manufacturing skill arms race.

But while training is helpful, important, and necessary, it can’t be the entire solution. There’s more to it than just that. For one thing, you’ve got to have workers who are motivated and capable of learning new skills–the skills they need today, and the new skills they will need tomorrow.

All that learning and skill acquisition takes motivation. Motivation to learn, motivation to acquire new skills, and motivation to be creative and innovative. But where does all that motivation come from?

Some of the motivation factor is up to the employee, of course. But employers also play a big role in creating and sustaining an environment that encourages motivation, creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.

In recent years, cognitive scientists, psychologists, behavioral economists, and other experts have learned a lot about what motivates people in their lives and at work. Some of those findings are pretty counter-intuitive.

What’s really stunning is that while some companies are doing the right things on this point, many or even most companies are not. Not only are their management practices, rules, and culture not actively contributing to these desirable workforce characteristics, they’re actively working against and stifling motivation. This is one of the areas of workforce organization where there’s a large gap between what studies and research shows us and what companies really do.

And that’s a shame, since the research is out there and in many cases can be easily applied if companies just look into it and make a few simple changes. Some companies will succeed precisely because they have taken steps to motivate workers to learn and innovate. And other companies will fail not only because they failed to take those steps, but because their culture, rules, and management techniques actually stifled that motivation to learn and create new business value.

In this article, we’re going to give you some tips from Daniel Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, which focuses on how companies can create a workplace environment that nurtures these important traits in their workers.  Pink’s book is based on and compiles research from a lot of scholars in this field, including Dan Ariely (whose book The Upside of Irrationality: the Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home we’ve written about in the past).

Before you begin reading about how to motivate workers, feel free to check out the short video overview of samples from our online workforce training courses. And as always, let us know if we can help you with your workforce training programs.

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Industrial Maintenance Technician Job Description & Training

Whether you are a novice or have a great deal of experience, industrial maintenance technician training can help you in any stage of your career.

Convergence Training can provide you with a variety of eLearning videos on industrial maintenance topics so you can become a more productive, valuable worker. These videos can be used both to understand topics and demonstrate tasks to make sure you are performing your job correctly.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to a few, explain their value and use, and show you some samples as well.

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What is eLearning? How Can I Use It?

eLearning allows you to access training material online rather than in a traditional classroom setting. This makes eLearning more convenient because you can complete the courses when you desire, on your schedule.

While eLearning courses can have videos embedded in them, eLearning  is much more interactive than simply watching a video. eLearning presents material in a multimedia format, so you are more likely to remember it. Some of the tactics used to present material include practice questions, feedback to answers, and scored tests.

eLearning allows your employees to learn more about topics relating to their careers. Completing eLearning courses ensures that your employees are well informed so they can be more efficient, productive, and safer at work.

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Online Occupational Health and Safety Training Courses

online occupational health and safety training courses image

Convergence Training’s online occupational health and safety training courses teach new employees important knowledge and skills while providing experienced employees a way to refresh their understanding of knowledge and skills they’re familiar with (see our article on the importance of “spaced practice” for more about the value of this).

There are some clear advantages of online training. One is that the employee can learn at his or her own pace. Another is that the employee can access the online training anywhere at work anywhere by using a mobile device.

Convergence Training provides a large number of online safety courses on many different topics. This article describes some of the courses involving driver safety, first aid, equipment safety, and general safety. However, to see the full list and course descriptions, check Convergence Training’s online occupational health and safety training courses.

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Spaced Practice: How to Use Refresher Training to Improve Worker Performance

The human brain is amazing. And so are the human abilities to learn new information and skills, remember them, and later retrieve and use them when it’s needed.

But if you’re involved in training and/or learning and development, you also know it’s not all that easy. And one of the big problems is that people tend to forget much of what they learned in training.

We’ve addressed some of the reasons why this happens earlier in our articles Why Don’t People Remember Their Training? and How People Learn (or Don’t). In this article, we’re going to continue looking at issues related at this general theme.

In particular, we’re going to focus our attention more specifically on what’s known as the learning curve, the forgetting curve, and space practice. We think this will make you see more value in refresher training, for one thing. But we’ll include tips for using spaced practice at points of the learning and development cycle beyond just refresher training, too.

Our plan is to introduce the basics in this article and then give more how-to’s in later articles. Continue reading to start the introduction.

 

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What is Visual Learning? Identifying and Understanding the Benefits of Visual Learning

Humans are visual creatures.

Going back a bit in time, vision was important to us on the African savanna to recognize predators and find food.

And although today most of us spend less time dodging leopards than our ancestors might have, it’s easy enough to see the importance of vision in our lives. How long do you go without watching a movie at the cinema, viewing a film on Netflix, or playing a video game? Or even consider music–don’t you often experience music in a music video, or while watching a stage full of dancers?

Why are so many of the dominant forms of entertainment visually oriented? Because, to return to our beginning, humans are visual creatures.

And so it makes a lot of sense to take advantage of that for workforce learning and development.

We’ll discuss this a bit in this blog post.

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Guide to Effective EHS Training (Updated for 2016): How to Design, Develop, Deliver, and Evaluate EHS Training

effective-ehs-training-guideSome time ago, we wrote a series of articles about ANSI Z490.1, the national standard for accepted criteria in safety, health, and environmental training.

That series was so popular, we used it as a source to create a free, downloadable Guide to Effective EHS Training.

Then, in 2016, the good people at ANSI and the ASSE updated ANSI Z490.1 (and did a good job, I might add).

And so now, we’ve followed suit, updating our own Guide to Effective EHS Training to keep up to date with the times.

If you’re not familiar with the standard or our free guide, we encourage you to buy a copy of the standard and to download the free guide. If you’re one of the thousands of people who have already downloaded the earlier version of our guide, we think you’ll like this new version even more.

Hope you enjoy it. You can download it now, or you can read the short preview article we’ve prepared for you below and download it from the bottom of this page. Such a life-so many options!

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Training Workers to Use Software Systems with Screen Recording Software Programs

training-workers-to-use-software-systems-w-screen-recording-software-programsComputer software systems are all around us, and we use them a lot.

We use them a lot in our personal lives. For example, Facebook lets us catch up with friends and family. Google lets us find information we need. We watch movies online and we listen to music online. We even go online to do our banking, pay our bills, or shop.

The same is true at work. You’re reading this on a web browser now, obviously. And I wrote it using a blogging platform called WordPress. And if you’re anything like me, today you’ll be using a lot more software, too: Microsoft Office, Excel, and Word, plus maybe PowerPoint depending on how the day goes. I’ll probably be using some image editing software and custom software for logging my time at work, too. Maybe you’ll be doing stuff like that as well.

But it’s not just you and me. It’s all of the people that I work with, and probably all the people you work with, too. And because software is so common at work, it’s important to be able to teach new workers how to use software. Plus you’ve got to train existing employees how to use new software when it’s introduced at work.

And all that software training can burn up a lot of time–yours and theirs–if you do it inefficiently.

But fortunately, there’s a group of products that have the ability to record your computer screen and make little “how-to” videos for software training.  These tools can be very helpful, they can save you a lot of time and money on software training, and they can be used to teach employees software applications more quickly and effectively. So what’s not to like about that?

In this article, we’ll tell you more about these screen recording software applications. Please note that Convergence Training makes none of these products, has no business relationship with any of their makers, and doesn’t endorse any one product. We’re just saying that as a group, they’re a handy product type that can make your life easier at work.

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Writing True/False, Matching, Drag and Drop, and Short-Answer Questions for Workforce Training Tests

Recently we’ve written a series of articles about writing effective test questions for workforce training assessment.

We hope you’ve found the series interesting and helpful. And yep, you guessed it–we mentioned it because this article is another addition to the series.

In this article, we’ll give you a few general tips for writing specific types of questions. We already covered multiple-choice questions, an online workforce assessment workhorse, in a different article, so we won’t address that here. In this article, we’ll consider true/false questions, matching and/or drag and drop questions, and short-answer and/or fill-in-the-blank questions.

If you missed any of the earlier article in the series, we’ve already covered:

Keep your eye on the blog for a future post on creating assessments that evaluate how well employees perform specific job tasks and/or demonstrate job skills. That’s still on the agenda.

And let us know if we’ve missed something you’d like us to write about.
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Comic Books and eLearning: Lessons from Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”

In an earlier blog post, we took a quick introductory look at some connections between comic books and eLearning.

And in that article, we promised to follow up with a second article that focuses on the classic book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud. And we also promised that the second article would focus on some lessons from comic book design that we can apply to the design of eLearning other forms of learning.

This, my friend, is that second article.

Before we get going, let’s take a stop at the “credit where credit is due” department.  Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art is a classic and is GREAT. If you’ve read it, you can vouch for me. Or maybe you’ve just heard of it and know it’s very well regarded.

If you haven’t heard of the book or read it yet, I highly recommend it. If you read it, you’ll learn a lot on a wide variety of topics. And even better, it’s written in the form of a comic book, so you’ll have a lot of fun while you’re reading, too.

But even though I suggest you check the book out and promise you’ll like it, you won’t have to read the book to begin drawing some lessons from it. Because that’s the whole point of this article. And of the comments section at the bottom, too–please share all your own ideas.

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Effective Workforce Safety Training: 6 Adult Learning Principles for Safety Training

adult-learning-principiles-for-safety-trainingBefore you read any further, let’s do a quick check.

Are you in safety/EHS and do your responsibilities include safety/EHS training?

If so, that’s a good sign that you’ll find this article relevant.

Next, take a moment to think about the people you provide safety/EHS training to. Are they adults?

If so, things are looking very promising for you and this article.

Because in this article, we’re going to take a look at something called adult learning principles and see how keeping them in mind when you design, develop, and deliver safety/EHS training can make your training more effective. Which of course means your training will create a healthier, safer work environment.

We’ll even give you some tips and examples of how to apply adult learning principles, and try to clear up some confusion about the multiple different lists of adult learning principles you’ll find if you do a Google search for the term.

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Workforce Tests That Match Your Learning Objectives: The Issue of Fidelity

 

workforce-tests-match-learning-objectives-issues-of-fidelityA lot of you write test questions for online training (or even for paper-based training).

Maybe you’re doing it with an e-learning authoring tool, such as the ones from Articulate, Adobe, or Lectora. Or maybe you’re doing it with quizmaking tool built into your learning management system (LMS). Or maybe with pencil and paper. Probably not with chisel and cuneiform, though 🙂

However you’re doing it, you may sometimes find yourself wondering about the best practices for writing standard question types. (By the way, instructional designers often use the wonky phrase “assessment items” for this kind of thing–an assessment “item” is a question).

In this article, we’re going to give you tips about something related to test creation that learning experts call fidelity (no, not THAT fidelity–this is not a notably juice blog post despite the wedding ring image above). In training talk, fidelity is the extent to which your test or test question mirrors the real task your workers will have to perform on the job.

In describing fidelity and test questions, we’ll cover a few other best practices, too. Hope this helps you with your question writin’.

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