Unlike when airlines use flight simulation to train pilots, corporations tend to shy away from creating meaningful opportunities for employees to help them practice their job responsibilities as they fit into a new company strategy or organizational transformation, often causing initiatives to fail.
Rather than simply lecturing to employees about their desired changes or distributing some training materials to read over and then get tested on, a growing number of corporations are experimenting with simulations. Simulation, which is immitation, relies on either virtual or live methods to recreate an experience often essential for employee training.
In "Simulated Training Excercises Simulate Employee Engagement," Staff Writer Anna Papachristos explores this new trend and highlights two companies--Sodexo and Permanent General--that have been relying on simulations to inspire change and deliver in-depth training to their employees. These and other companies are deploying simulations to provide a meaningful way to communicate new strategies, leaving employees with a feeling that they're more tightly tied to new projects and a better understanding of how they fit into the overall picture.
Papachristos determined that simulations are most effective when they are closely tied to reality, and are successful not only in achieving business goals but also in delivering new behaviors and tangible action plans.
According to Lamont Exeter, executive director of Learning Solutions and Delivery, TeleTech, simulations must be closely tied to real-world outcomes. "When the simulated training results in marked operational performance improvements, while developing the skills of employees with real-life simulations, true success is found," he said.
Exeter also suggested that for simulated training to work effectively, companies must consider integrating performance metrics into the simulated training exercises to better determine if the employees understand the application or information being relayed.
Technology today can support companies' transformation to this new approach of immersing employees into a new organizational transformation initiative. As executives face mounting pressure for their organizations' performance, they must begin to embrace new ideas such as experiential learning to evoke changes in employee behavior and ultimately in their emerging business strategies. This requires ensuring that employees also understand how and where they fit into companies' ever-evolving business strategies.