Turning Employees into Teachers

One of the greatest assets HR directors can give their organizations is finding new talent to stay ahead of the curve. The good news is that you may not even need to look outside the company to find a wealth of educators and content creators. You have a stable of experts at your disposal already; you only need to unlock their potential.

The employees you already have are among the best at communicating information about their specific roles, their industry as a whole, and your company in particular. Here’s how to turn your personnel into teachers both within the company and when working with customers.

Identify Your Best Communicators

Teaching is an art as well as a science, and it’s heavily dependent on good communication skills. Who in your organization excels at explaining a concept to co-workers or is constantly in demand as a proofreader for memos? These people are your future content creators, especially if they already occupy positions about which other employees need to know. An engineer who has experience with technical writing or someone in sales who started off in journalism might be the ideal person to tap for creating in-house content, including newsletters and manuals, or for giving external content such as blog posts and white papers greater depth and scope.

Improve Communication Skills for Everyone

Giving all employees an opportunity to become better teachers can pay dividends too. For those who aren’t innately at ease with writing or public speaking, offer additional training in these skills so everyone in your work force is a more efficient communicator. Almost everyone benefits from feeling more confident in front of an audience, and with the right training, you’ll add depth to your roster of seminar and trade show speakers. That flexibility lets you send more personnel on press tours and to conferences, which in turn opens more doors to vendors and clients. Classes in writing and narrative structure also improve content creation skills, making cross-department communications easier for everyone to follow.

Create a Teaching Team

Content isn’t just there to entertain; it also instructs. Within your organization, you already have talented teachers, but you may not yet have a way to get them in front of a class. Assemble your teaching team from among the most motivated personnel in those communication courses and work with them to find out how you and they can turn their areas of expertise into learning sessions. For example, a talented member of your marketing team might have some ideas on lead nurturing that benefit everyone from receptionists to sellers.

Organize Discussion Groups

Some of the best learning takes place not from lectures and articles but from open discussions. Setting up some of these round-table discussions, either within departments or as interdepartmental events, gives everyone a chance to contribute knowledge to the group. Because you’ve laid the groundwork for these events to be successful with training in public speaking and communications, each meeting will be more productive. If you have a talented editor among you, you might even record some of the sessions and turn them into video blogs or podcasts.

Establish a Database

A library is only as good as its organizational structure. Once you have your teaching team going and a schedule of discussion groups on the calendar, make sure none of that knowledge is lost by filing it logically and keeping it accessible as a reference library. A central repository where department heads and their staff can readily find what they need is essential for building more in-depth knowledge later.

Give Credit Where It’s Due

Content creators deserve acknowledgment for their contributions. Verbal praise is always welcome, but crediting employees’ names on blog posts and listing them as contributors to teaching sessions that later become podcasts or webinar subjects goes a long way toward helping people feel valued. You can even incentivize contributions by offering small prizes such as gift cards or half-day vacations for the most insightful article written each month.

Give your personnel the opportunity to learn better communication skills and challenge them to put their new talents to use, and you’ll help them find their calling as thought leaders in your industry.

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