Break Your Training

Break Your Training
July 7, 2023 Susan Diepen

Break Your Training: 4 ways you can start an evolution through disruption

Christina Briggs

Director of Training and Development, Shipley Do-Nuts

Matt Nelson

CEO and Founder, Modern Training

Now that we have your attention! By “break” your training, we don’t mean to cause it to stop working. Rather, we want to break it into pieces to get it to work BETTER. To disrupt what we are doing now to allow for faster content and delivery so we can get people on the floor quicker and contribute faster to your hospitality business.

What we have observed from even before the pandemic, is that training needs to be shorter and faster. So many companies have training programs that are simply too long, and frankly, too boring. We want people to train faster, be engaged, reduce our labor costs, and increase sales – to get them out there earlier so they and the company can start making money.

Break Your Training is all about using the power of disruption to change and improve your current training programs or build new ones. Here are four ways to approach content and learning paths to make onboarding faster and keep people learning all year long.

Break Your Content

Blend Information and Interaction

The traditional approach to training is to offer lots of information, followed by a big test, and once they pass the test, they are on the schedule. While this might work for certification training, we often give people too much information (that they don’t need to perform their jobs) all at once.

A better approach is constant interaction paired with periodic skills assessments to implement staggered repetition. Instead of having to intake too much information all at once, they then have a chance to interact with the information and test their knowledge as they go along by being quizzed, figuring out where they are in their understanding of the skills they need continuously. Repetition leads to better retention of information. It gives people the opportunity to practice skills learned.

Move from Onboarding to Everboarding

We are used to the concept of onboarding – in essence training people for a couple of days; giving them all the information at once. Instead, have them interact with content over time. Take the content you already have, and break it into pieces so that you can release the information slowly so that there is more chance to retain the information.

For compliance reasons, you may need to recertify once a year, but for behavior impact you can break up the information into pieces over the year. You may want to teach a concept once comprehensively, and then segment it over time so that the information is retained. For example, harassment is one module we need to address once a year.

Break Your Learning Paths

Focus on Core Skills

The next way to break your training is to examine the learning path. We want people to be proficient as quickly as possible on their jobs. What if you only focus on the core skills they need to do their jobs? Instead of teaching them everything they need to know, teach them only the core skills so that they can get on the job faster. Instead of 14 days of training, take it down to a couple of days.

The advantages to this approach are that:

  • People reach higher proficiency of the most impactful skills
  • People feel less overwhelmed
  • It builds confidence
  • Trainers are free to focus on observation and coaching
  • It gets new team members on the schedule faster

Level Up

We have talked about breaking up the content and focusing on the core skills. There is a potential downside to this since if people want to level up, they won’t have the information they need to do the job one level up. So what are we going to do? The traditional model is to train for a specific job. How about we instead look at jobs in terms of levels? We are going to give them skill levels.

What works about this concept is that it gives a clear finishing place for each level. So when a person achieves a level, you know exactly how proficient they are at the skills needed for that level. It encourages people to move up the path. It is an incentive to be competitive against themselves, and motivates people to continue learning as they go, to unlock skills for the next level of the job.

This way, people are motivated to learn more skills as they go along. When they are ready to level up, they already have the skills they need instead of having to go through a training program for that level. People are then empowered to learn on their own, of their own volition.

This method also opens up the opportunity to incentivize people in some way for taking the initiative; giving them a reason to stay. Why not reward them for wanting to contribute more to the organization? This approach is also more intuitive for managers. The more intuitive training is, the more it motivates managers to get people out on the floor, contributing quicker.


How we train is changing by necessity. Breaking your training offers some important and immediate benefits. Because the content is short and focused, learners are more engaged and complete the training quicker. This results in increased transfer of knowledge and skills to the job. This type of learning can also be easier and faster to create, which is budget-friendly. Isn’t it time to disrupt your training norm and create a training evolution?

Take a few minutes to think about where you could start breaking your training: learning paths, position levels, staggered content, etc. You might be surprised at how quickly you can deliver something new to the field.