Let Your Employees Train Peers to Maximize Impact, Motivation, and Collaboration
Peer-to-peer training and cross training are often overlooked as options for employee development. But these methods can engage top performers in educating colleagues across the organization on key concepts, and create employee connections that may not occur on their own. Studies also show there is a 90% retention rate that comes from teaching others, making it an essential way for employee instructors to ensure their own high levels of performance.
Human Resources professionals and managers want to retain, develop, and motivate talent, yet sometimes they may think that achieving these goals has to be difficult, costly, and time consuming. However, encouraging employees to train their peers can be an inexpensive, efficient, and simple way to develop and retain workers.
Let’s consider a hypothetical situation centering on David, a high-performing team member, who notices that some colleagues are missing key knowledge and skills to help projects move forward. David tells his manager, Maria, and suggests he offer a few weekly sessions to educate his team members. Maria, impressed by David’s observation, gives him the green light.
So, David starts the sessions, focusing on a different topic or skill each week. Each member of the team takes a turn leading a session while also incorporating videos, podcasts, and other internal speakers. At the start of each session, each employee talks about how they put the previous lessons into practice, and to close each session, each team member commits to applying the most recent lessons to their work processes.
The team starts performing better, and thanks David for the opportunity. David feels great about his contribution to the team’s success and performance. Maria then decides to promote David based on his initiative, leadership, and commitment to the group’s projects.
Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Training
In the example with David, we can see how his efforts not only helped him, but his colleagues as well. While David took the initiative himself, HR professionals and company leaders can promote similar programs to gain similar benefits.
Let’s take a closer look at some examples.
Benefits for the Employees Providing Training
- An opportunity to lead: Encouraging employees to share their knowledge is a leadership opportunity as it asks them to guide and mentor others
- An opportunity for self-development: Training other employees helps employees build, reinforce, and further develop their own expertise
- An opportunity for celebration: Showcasing their knowledge to others is a feel-good moment for an employee. Being given this opportunity can instill a sense of pride when they’re seen as a thought leader or expert
Benefits for the Employees Receiving Training
- Connecting with someone new or with someone with a skillset or knowledge base that can help them in their own careers
- Encouraging them to seek support from others to increase their sense of belonging and build their internal network
- Relieving pressure when discussing topics they may not have confidence in
Harvard Business Review highlights that, “peer-to-peer learning taps into the expertise that already exists in your organization. Think of all the smart people that you hire and surround yourself with every day, and how much could be gained if peers shared their expertise with each other to learn and build new skills.”
Benefits for Organizations
Peer-to-peer training benefits companies as a whole, as well. Business leaders can use this approach to:
- Develop employee’s skills at little to no additional cost
- Future-proof the company by filling knowledge gaps in potential successors
- Discover internal talent fit to take on leadership roles
While the cost savings of such internal programs are attractive, the benefits to retaining, developing, and motivating employees are just as critical.
Employees Training Other Employees: Tips and Best Practices
Whether you’re putting together a formal peer-to-peer learning program within your organization, or simply offering it within your team, there are a few key points to keep in mind to enhance the experience for everyone.
- Delegate the task, but don’t force people: Some people love public speaking and training, but some may want to avoid it. While public speaking is one element of providing training, some may not be interested for other reasons. The Society of Human Resources notes, “not all employees will be interested in these opportunities. Some will hesitate about the time commitment and the amount of time it takes away from their other responsibilities.”
- Confirm a schedule: Training, whether peer-to-peer, eLearning or instructor-led, can lose its value when people don’t see a commitment to learning from the organization and its leaders. Confirming a schedule and showcasing that this is a priority is key.
- Let people teach how they want to teach: It can be tempting to tell people how to teach based on your experience, but people need to develop their own voice and style. While it can be a challenge to let people figure this out for themselves, it’s a vital learning opportunity within itself.
- Let people teach what they want to teach: Someone may be an expert on Excel, but it doesn’t mean they want to train a group of people on it. Let people teach what they feel comfortable with. They will ensure their success.
- Reinforce and celebrate the learning: Don’t let the sessions be “one and done”. Find ways to celebrate the sessions and successes coming from them. Highlight the people leading them and find ways to reinforce the learning and its impact on the organization.
How KnowledgeCity’s Online Training Tools Can Help
KnowledgeCity is another valuable resource that can help you and your teams broaden their knowledge on a variety of topics. Even encouraging teams to watch courses together and discuss key takeaways can be a way to socialize the learning and make a more impactful difference in your organization. Having people schedule these hybrid methods can be an alternate option while still promoting all the benefits outlined here.
Creating a peer-to-peer learning program offers massive benefits to organizations, HR professionals, managers, and employees at all levels. These high-impact programs are easy to implement and can be the solution to growing, retaining, and developing your current and future leaders and internal experts.
Download our free guide on How to Implement a Successful Employee Training Program today to get started!
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