Training at the North Pole: Bringing Santa’s Workshop Into the 21st Century
From the CLO of the North Pole
It’s the day after Christmas, and every year on this day, I do two things: I sleep in, and I reflect on the past year.
Like any CLO, it’s important for me to examine what went well, what didn’t go well and what my training organization should do to support our business better next year. After all, the goal of the North Pole training department is to make sure that Santa and the elves can efficiently plan, manufacture and deliver toys around the globe each year.
Here are a few key components of North Pole training as we move into 2017.
Maximize Learning With New Technologies
Not everyone works well in cold weather, and as technologies have advanced, we’ve been able to permit some of our elves to work remotely from such locations as Florida or the Bahamas. Of course, our toymakers stay in the North Pole, but some of our administrative employees now work in the sunshine all year. They still need training, though, and rather than asking them to bundle up in parkas and trudge to the North Pole for in-person training, we use e-learning (both synchronous and asynchronous) to help our remote employees brush up on existing skills and learn new ones.
The elf workforce has exploded in recent years, with a large group of millennials entering the workshop. These elves are technology natives and learn best when content is personalized. Fortunately, technology enables our content developers to adapt learning to each elf. By using learners’ previous learning experiences and assessments to modify new content according to their needs, adaptive learning increases retention and engagement, ultimately helping us achieve a positive ROI.
Enhance Engagement Using Marketing Techniques
The North Pole has a stellar marketing team. (You see Santa’s face everywhere, starting months before Christmas.) Training is similar to marketing in that we also have clients (employees or even customers) for whom we create products and services. That’s why at the North Pole, we’ve started using marketing techniques to engage learners, just like our marketing team does to engage the toy buyers at Amazon and Target.
We start by using analytics to target our content directly to the learners who need it. Then, we develop, promote and implement training initiatives with a deep understanding of learner needs. By marketing the North Pole training organization more effectively, we get the right content to the right learners, engaging them better and resulting in greater results.
Develop a Coaching Program for Multigenerational Development
Elves have a much longer lifespan than humans do. That means that while the rest of the world has up to five generations in a workplace at one time, we have even more. To ensure that we have a strong leadership pipeline and engage our older employees, we are creating a culture of coaching to develop mentor elves who can pass on their wisdom to younger employees. Our coaching program promotes strong working relationships, passes on institutional knowledge and ensures that Santa (who is, of course, immortal) will always have an effective organization of toymakers backing him.
About the Author
Taryn Oesch, CPTM is an editor at Training Industry, Inc., where she manages website content. Prior to joining Training Industry, she worked in higher education and wrote for a regional newspaper. She holds a BA in psychology from Meredith College. Connect with Taryn on LinkedIn.