5 ways to use digital marketing to improve staff training

Better staff training is often on the top of the list for nonprofits, especially in the human service sector. How can we keep our staff up to date as we implement new policies and improve our procedures? New staff have a lot to learn, which is one challenge, but often getting existing staff to change old habits can be an even bigger challenge. You probably have a staff handbook that gets updated, but how many of your staff are really reading it and if they do, are they taking it all in?

So how can we educate staff in a way that they actually take in the information and how can we know if it’s working?

Coming to the marketing world with a background in education, I see a lot of similarities in the two. In fact, I think both disciplines can really benefit from the other’s best practices. I’ll could say a lot about this topic, but I’ll save that for another post. In the meantime, the key point for this topic is that you can use the same tactics and tools you are using for marketing to get more donors and clients to help train your staff and get them more engaged in your organization’s work, beyond what their particular day to day job is.

So here is a list of 5 marketing tactics and ideas to get you started. If you’re new to any of these tools or you don’t have a digital strategy already in place, I recommend just testing the water and trying one by itself, but if you have a good grip on some of these tools and the capacity to try something a little more involved, then try combining a few of the ideas below to make a full education and feedback engagement loop with your staff.

  1. Drip Email Campaign → Break your new policy of even your entire staff handbook into small segments (1-3 paragraphs) and deliver each segment, one at a time, in a drip email campaign.
  2. Use Comments → Put your training materials online on a microsite or internal part of your website that only your staff can access. For each chapter or segment of training, enable comments so your staff can ask and answer questions. This will give staff an opportunity to engage, you’ll get great feedback for improvement, and the comments and answers will be there to help the next person understand, making your training materials more valuable over time.
  3. Reviews → Just like with comments, why not let your staff rate your policies on a scale of 1-5? Sometimes people don’t follow policies they don’t like. If you know that there’s a problem you can address it better and your staff will feel like they have a say and thus a stake in your policies.
  4. Facebook Advertising → Say what? Why not advertise to your employees on Facebook about the things you want them to be aware of? (Yes, this is possible)
  5. Awesome Content → This is a marketing basic and a marketing must. It should be for your training material too.  If you want people to get engaged, you have to write things, choose images, and make videos that your staff find compelling/funny/interesting/moving. Learn about your staff and what motivates them, then use that information to make content that they will engage with.

Digital marketing is all about engaging people and that’s what nonprofits need from staff, so putting digital marketing tools to work inside your organization just makes sense. I’d love to hear if you’ve tried using any digital marketing tools! Please share your successes and failures.