At the Training 2019 Conference in Orlando, the first such conference for our company (how fortunate it was in sunny Florida in February!), we unpacked our hop-up and pull-up, stacked up copies of Powered by Storytelling, took out our branded mugs…and then we listened.

Here are the main pain-points and common challenges we heard from the Training Coordinators, Founders, Vice Presidents, Communication Managers, and Creative Directors who visited our booth:

Virtual shadowing. The need to create a scalable proxy for the traditional mentorship behavior of “shadowing.”

Cultural assimilation. New employees are often given unwieldy handbooks on their first day and will likely read something about the values of their new company. We heard a desire to welcome new employees with a more tangible expression of culture that connects them to their new colleagues and gives them an experience of what the organization stands for. This type of acculturation process, if implemented, can serve additionally as an appealing recruiting tool, where the culture of the organization itself becomes a beacon for talent.

What happens when knowledge is hidden? When employees leave a company, they take their knowledge with them. Similarly, if employees are never asked, or given the chance to speak up, important information remains buried. The challenge is to find a way to capture the experiential dimension of employees’ knowledge such that, when conveyed to others, it transmits the full-breadth of those experiences and all their nuances as well.

Engaging and compelling content. Across the board, we heard a desire (if not a desperate need) to enrich content.

Ask questions. Especially in sales, we heard about a lack of dialogue and unfamiliarity with asking questions. Without listening to a story, it’s hard to tell a story, especially one that positions the benefit of a product or service. Salespeople need to become better listeners was the point.

In summary, what’s clear is that training requires constant iteration to remain fresh, while there are also abiding, systemic communication issues in organizations that need innovative, longer-term solutions. The present urgency is how to make a lasting and deep connection with your learning audience that reduces the “acculturation-curve,” improves job readiness, and sees culture as an asset rather than an afterthought.

Companies like CultureIQ are hot on the scent of this recognition. Our approach is to harness the power of storytelling to excavate, manifest, and sustain culture through story-based content and training.

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caroline nobo sarnoff