Each employee needs to master a certain set of skills and competencies to be successful in their role. A strong training program is key to ensuring employees have what it takes. But on its own, training isn’t enough.
You’re likely familiar with the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, a mathematical formula from the 1880s showing that humans forget about half of new information within an hour—and 70 percent within 24 hours. More recently, Gartner found that B2B sales representatives forget 70 percent of information they learned in training within one week; 87 percent is lost within a month.
It seems obvious, but employees can’t apply their learning on the job if they can’t remember what they learned. As such, organizations must focus on reinforcement so employees have opportunities to hone their skills and master new ones before money is on the line.
Reinforcement Efforts Are Often Inefficient and IneffectiveMost training and enablement teams understand the importance of reinforcement. Yet, many approach it in an ineffective way—and nearly impossible to scale.
Some organizations require all employees who undergo specific training to complete the same reinforcement practices and tasks. Each employee must “check the box”—even if they’ve already mastered the skill in question. This leads to disengagement and a reluctance to participate in future training initiatives.
Other organizations attempt to deliver more personalized reinforcement opportunities, with varying levels of success. But often, they waste much time and manual effort in doing so. For example, consider a sales manager overseeing a team of 10 sales reps with varying levels of skills and experience. That sales leader must sit on several of their reps’ sales calls to determine the skills they’ve mastered and identify the ones for which reinforcement is needed. The manager must then determine what reinforcement is appropriate for the rep’s individual needs. If something doesn’t already exist, they may have to create it themselves—or work with the training or enablement team to set the wheels in motion.
Neither approach is effective—or efficient.
AI Can Supercharge Your Reinforcement EffortsToday, the world seems to be buzzing about artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential to influence (and improve) our personal and professional lives. In fact, the most innovative businesses have already started tapping into the tremendous potential of AI.
It can seem overwhelming to dip your toes into the world of AI. But it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of opportunities for learning and development professionals to leverage AI, and many are easy to implement.
AI can be especially useful in delivering reinforcement opportunities that are personalized to each individual—and scalable. Let’s examine a few practical applications.
Automate Training DevelopmentLet’s face it: Developing a new training takes time. According to the 2023 State of Sales Productivity Report, it takes an average of three to four weeks to launch a new program.
You may not have the time it takes to develop each reinforcement activity from scratch. This is especially true if you’re working with a smaller-than-typical training team due to a reduction in force (RIF).
Winning organizations are tapping into AI to simplify the setup of role-plays and other reinforcement opportunities. Have AI create a role-play scenario to test and upskill your teams on new messaging, a new product or service launch, or an upcoming renewal conversation. By giving AI a description of the scenario and topics to cover, your scenario description and module are auto-created as well as a scoring rubric in seconds. AI can take the guesswork out of creating reinforcement, which means your teams have more time to tackle strategic initiatives.
Automate Role-Play ReviewsRole-plays can effectively help employees practice their skills and ensure they’ve absorbed information learned in training. Traditionally, role-plays are conducted in person or, if done virtually, managers review virtual submissions to provide coaching and feedback. Either way, these exercises require a ton of time on the manager’s part—especially for those with larger teams.
Today, organizations are using AI to scale role-play scenarios without requiring a huge commitment from managers. AI can review and grade role-plays at scale, either completely alleviating the need for human intervention or acting as an initial reviewer, so managers can prioritize their focus on team members who need additional coaching. AI can also help team members improve before they submit their final role-play by delivering instant recommendations for improvement.
Understand What’s Happening in the FieldLet’s say an employee is nailing their role-plays and other reinforcement activities. But once they get in the field, things go sour. They struggle to articulate the problem, so you’re unsure what kind of reinforcement will help.
In the past, managers would have to sit in on several of this employee’s calls to get an idea of where things were going wrong. But sitting in on calls takes time, and you probably don’t have much to spare.
These days, organizations can leverage AI to understand what’s happening in the field—without attending calls or poring over transcripts. AI can highlight key moments, objections, and customer pain points during calls. Leading organizations use AI to analyze, transcribe, and answer questions about recorded calls. Managers can tap into these insights to quickly prioritize their call reviews and deliver coaching and reinforcement that will improve outcomes.
Uncover Key Training Insights QuicklyPersonalized, effective reinforcement requires the right data. For example, you need to know what training programs are adopted the most, the least, and why.
Most organizations have no shortage of data. But it can be challenging to pull data from multiple dashboards and reports—and then make sense of it all. Sometimes, you have to dig through multiple dashboards and pages of reports just to deduce one key data point.
With AI, you can derive quick, actionable insights from data. With AI’s impressive query abilities, organizations can ask questions to an AI assistant about training data within their platform and quick answers. For example, you can ask, “Which training program has the lowest completion score?” or “In the last quarter, which employee had the highest performance scores in our onboarding course?” Now, with quick access to data that’s been turned into insights, training, and enablement, professionals can better inform their strategic tasks and planning initiatives.
Tap Into AI to Boost Retention on Your TeamsOn its own, training isn’t enough to ensure skill and messaging mastery. Reinforcement is key to ensuring learning sticks—and it is applied when it matters.
Today, AI empowers organizations to deliver reinforcement that’s personalized to the needs of each employee. That means your employees will always have what it takes in the moments that matter.