One Brick at a Time
Survey results indicate that 40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year. The principal reason they move on is the lack of skills training and development1. It’s surprising this figure is not higher since only 34% of companies focus on developing and retaining current employees2.
As we live in the midst of the Digital Era, it is important to point out how quickly technology and business processes change. On-going education and training is critical for anyone who wants to stay afloat and ride the wave of success.
Andrea Lechner-Becker discusses the importance of training employees within today’s business landscape in her blog post Talent: The Investment You Can’t Afford to Ignore. BUT this brings to light an important dependency. WHO should put this training together?
Enter the subject matter expert (SME)…
For training to truly be effective, it needs to be created by someone who actually knows the material well—duh. Depending on your resources, you may have a whole team of people that develop training material and the SME will just be one role within that team. On the other hand, you might have a unicorn that can fulfill multiple roles: SME, designer, writer, producer, and editor.
40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year.
A qualified SME should have extensive experience in the subject matter, including hands-on strategy, execution, and analysis. All three components are required to fully understand a specific subject since they all influence and build upon each other. Furthermore, the SME must be at least comfortable and up-to-date with best practices for the subject at hand. Bonus points if they are in a position that creates and influences best practices.
Building upon experience, another important characteristic of a SME is their street credibility. Are they well known within the industry? Do they have a significant social following? The best SMEs will be considered a thought leader in the industry where their subject matter exists.
Is the SME passionate about the subject? Is the SME interested in developing training? Does the SME have adequate time to put the training content together? If you do not answer yes to all of these questions, then this person is not the right SME for you. How can you expect someone to create effective training if their heart is not in it?
These are all factors that Six Bricks considers when identifying and choosing the right SME.
Utilizing a SME
The key to successful training is identifying your learner outcomes and using a SME to ensure the content does just that. Training can be very dry depending on the subject. If possible, the SME should make the training material fun and engaging.
No matter what subject you are developing training material for, there will inevitably be a section (or the entire training) that will require continuous updating due to the evolution of technology that we all surround ourselves. So, the SME should expect to be involved in keeping the training material up-to-date as trends in the subject landscape change.
The best SMEs likely already have a day job that enables them to maintain their skill sets as the industry changes, which keeps them in-line with best practices. This is where educational platforms, like Six Bricks, can help! Our mission is to fill the knowledge gap between traditional education and the ever-evolving marketing industry. We are always connecting with the best SMEs to bring you relevant and timely training.
90% of millennials would choose to stay in a job for the next 10 years if they knew they'd get annual raises and upward career mobility.
Technology and business will continue to advance and evolve. Smart companies will ensure that their employees remain effective and reliable talent. Creating and retaining this talent requires rapid, practical, and opinionated training by those who already have that talent—a subject matter expert.
I will leave you with this point to consider… 90% of millennials would choose to stay in a job for the next 10 years if they knew they'd get annual raises and upward career mobility2. Effective training is a key ingredient to make the second requirement a reality.