Employee training and development is the key to building a stronger firm and staying competitive in the AEC industry. Research shows companies that invest in employee training and development programs enjoy a higher profit margin, lower turnover rates, higher productivity, and improved safety and compliance. But when it comes to getting employees engaged in training, sometimes it takes a little nudge. Here are five quick tips guaranteed to do the trick:

  1. Get the Word Out. It’s hard to get employees engaged in training when they don’t know about it, so be sure to spread the word. Send email reminders, put up posters in the break room, and let them know about new courses or offerings. If you’re recruiting, be sure to mention training as one of your company benefits, and encourage managers to pass on the word to their teams.
  2. A Little Incentive Goes a Long Way. Goodie bags, gift cards, lunches—they may seem like small potatoes, but these little incentives go long way toward getting employees on board with training. How about a $10 gift card for the first course completed? Or a catered lunch to the team that completes the most courses? You can even award an extra PTO day at annual review time if employees have met their training goals for the year.
  3. Friendly Competition, Anyone? Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition in the workplace? Start a contest to see how many courses employees can complete in a certain amount of time, and ask managers to display a weekly or monthly chart to get those competitive juices flowing. Another idea? Link training to annual reviews and encourage employees to challenge themselves and advance their knowledge or learn a new skill.
  4. Ask for (and Listen to) Feedback. Take the time to ask workers what they think of your current training solution. Are there certain courses or areas of focus that seem more popular than others? Is there a particular course they’d like to seed added to the curriculum? Making them an integral part of the training process will likely improve overall engagement.
  5. Recognize! Finally, everyone loves a little recognition. Make the last Friday of every month “Training Champions Day” and distribute certificates or awards. Have the winner or winners talk about what they’ve learned and the benefits they’ve received. Or, tell employees “Way to go!” in person or via email when training goals are met. It may sound like a simple thing to do, but the impact will resonate.