The average employee has bigger goals for their time at an organization than good pay and an attractive benefits package. The chances are if they're happy with the career they chose, they're eager to engage in training initiatives that get them closer to their goals. For HR teams, it takes more than onboarding training to keep such an employee engaged. Even when your training program is well-crafted, considerate, and helpful, there's such a thing as the ideal time to re-engage employees for training, and that's the start of the year.
Here are six reasons why the beginning of the year is more effective than any other time.
1. The Beginning of the Year Attracts the Least Resistance
Re-engaging employees for training has a nuance of change, and change is often dreadful because it disrupts what they're used to. The start of the year is a change by itself, which makes it a great place to introduce change, including re-engaging employees for training.
Further, people have a sense of life offering them a blank state to start over. Most of them are in the mood to start something, and it's likely that their new year's resolutions list involves becoming better at their job.
These facts make them more receptive to important organizational and strategic changes during this season than at other times. To reduce the chances of pushback, involve your employees in the implementation, paying close attention to their views and publicly appreciating every participant and their specific input.
2. There's A Surge in Hiring January and February
According to Career Sidekick, January and February is the best time of year to look for a job. Hiring managers have received new hiring budgets for the year, the majority of workers are back from holiday vacation, and companies also often have a backlog of hiring that they have been meaning to do but had paused during the holiday season. For these reasons, January and February are excellent months to look for jobs.
Because January and February are the most popular hiring months, Q1 is the perfect time to consider pushing for a re-engagement campaign for online employee training.
3. January is Ideal for Performance Discussions
The start of the year is also prime for face-to-face conversations about performance contracts. These discussions should define a key performance indicator that the employee should meet and can track for the rest of the year.
To improve the employee's chances of being successful, there has to be continuous dialogue between them and the manager they report to about the goal. The point is to eliminate instances where the manager decides the employee's performance level alone and instead invites their input in setting one. Next, the employee must clearly understand that the metrics accompanying the goal will be discussed first during performance reviews. Lastly, the employee has to enjoy complete control over meeting the goal to make it easier for them to satisfy the metrics.
If the discussions reveal areas the employee can improve on with training, they're more likely to accept learning in January than later in the year.
4. A New Budget Makes the Approval Process Easier
A new year usually coincides with refreshed budgeting, meaning that new programs or upgrades are more likely to be approved by managers. Because a training platform usually requires a fundamental system change within an organization, it can take a while to get approved. If money is not as much of a concern, new systems can be implemented easier than if managers are on a tight budget.
5. January Makes a Great Pacesetter
Each end year tells a story of the organization's performance for the last twelve months; down to the details of everyone's contribution and mistakes made. Beginning with discussions about performance helps the organization to rethink, reorganize, and restrategize. It's an opportune time to create new goals and set KPIs, then come up with a routine people can start practicing and follow until next year.
Support your yearly goals by setting a quarterly action plan, and focus on setting realistic goals that are easy to measure when the quarter ends. This way, you acknowledge what's achievable and set the foundation for meeting your annual goals.
6. Q1 is Ideal Time for Managing Employee Uncertainties
Some employees dread training because it means time away from their daily roles spent in a conference room to learn something they don't believe they need. These thoughts can form beliefs where employees think anything they do is for the business and never for them.
Beyond piloting, taking time early in January to ask employees' views on training can help point out beliefs you didn't know they had and explain how the training helps them.
For example, if you find out your employees feel uncomfortable with instructor-led group training, presenting an online training option eliminates the discomfort, helping them learn better.
However, don't leave out those happy to learn through face-to-face interactions. In that case, take a blended approach and allow your employees to sign up for face-to-face or online training courses.
The overlapping reason for training your employees is to meet the required skills. But if you're reintroducing it, you may have a different goal in mind – improving task management, instilling confidence, clarifying expectations, enhancing employee engagement, etc.
We recommend you make it easier on the employees by giving a specific reason for the new training. Ensure you explain how you got to the decision too. For example, support your reason with a survey's results, then explain how the training will be conducted, when, and for how long.
About Knowledge Anywhere
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