Employee to employee learning

What is G2G learning and why are Google using it to boost employee knowledge

According to Google 80% of their training is done through an employee to employee network called ‘g2g’ to boost employee knowledge. This  stands for Googler-to-Googler. Basically, they have a programme where employees at Google volunteer to teach and train their fellow employees. According to their blog they have over 6000 Google employees already signed up to volunteer. They say it’s so successful because it improves knowledge sharing amongst employees and it encourages employees to act more like owners of their development needs. At Oplift we 100% agree that in order for learning to be effective, employees must take control of their training needs. This is why our platform allows staff to access a digital knowledgebase (like Google for your business) whenever they need to learn at the time of need.

Google’s most popular training courses are ones for negotiations and leadership skills, sales training and python coding. But the company stress that this is not about saving money and resources. It’s about creating a culture of learning where employees know that learning is at the heart of everything they do. It’s also crucial to ensure that employee trainers are not forced to teach. They must volunteer as this is where the passion comes from. If not, they can end up resenting the company and the role which leads to poor training.

So how can you deploy an employee to employee training programme in your business? Find out below:

1. You MUST create a continuous learning environment

In order for peer-to-peer learning to be successful your culture needs to emphasise the importance of constant learning. Your employees need to understand that learning shouldn’t be happening on the odd occasion it should be happening every minute of everyday. Listen to the podcast included in this article ‘How can you become a ‘learning organisation’ with maximum ROI?‘ to discover how Virgin Media created a continuous learning environment.

You also need to have some concrete philosophies which reinforce the value that you place on learning within your business. To come up with your philosophies you must think about why you are doing things and the way that you are doing them. They should be about how your employees will learn and interact with one another. Google’s philosophies are:

  • Learning is a process, not an event, that requires motivation, opportunities to practice, and continuous feedback.
  • It happens in real life, especially during transitions or challenging moments.
  • Learning is personal. Everyone has different learning styles and different levels of challenge within which they can work.
  • Learning is social. Google supports an environment for Googlers to connect with peers for advice and support.

Include it in your onboarding

When you hire new starters, make it clear from the very beginning that employees are expected to learn and develop themselves. Give them the tools that they need to improve their learning. This will help give them the confidence to become a trainer within your business. You should be guiding your employees so that they want to become a volunteer. Explain the benefits, how it helps the bigger picture of the organisation and how it can help them grow and develop themselves.

2. Hold interviews when recruiting your volunteers

Google states that just because someone shows a passion for teaching it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be assigned a role as a teaching volunteer straight away. They have to be keen but they do have to be an expert in the area which they wish to teach. Here a few questions which they suggest you ask during the interview: (see the full interview guide here)

Why are you interested in becoming a facilitator? 

  • What are you looking to get out of this role? 
  • How do you feel it will complement your core role? 

What previous experience have you had teaching or training? 

  • At this company or outside?
  • What did you enjoy about these experiences? 

What skills do you feel are important for a facilitator to have and why?

  • Which of these skills do you feel you possess? 
  • Which do you need/want to work on? 

What additional skills do you think you can bring to the role?

  • Why do you think these skills will be useful? 

What do you think you might find challenging about being a facilitator? 

  • How do you plan to address these challenges? 
  • What support would you need to address these challenges? 

How would you respond to a difficult participant in your class?

  • What would you do if the issue continued? 
  • Would your response differ if the course was optional vs. mandatory, and how so?

4. Provide thorough training for their teaching skills

Teaching employees can be a very challenging job. It’s not just about knowing the information it’s about being able to convey it in an engaging way. Your volunteers will need to convince their peers that they should be respected and valued as an expert in the subject area. The correct training should explain the different kind of learners they will encounter and how to deal with the challenges that they will pose. For example, how to engage with disengaged learners who never seem to pay attention and always look bored out of their minds. Here is a link to the workbook which Google have provided to improve teaching skills.

5. Provide regular feedback to your training volunteers

To make sure their classes are up to scratch, you need to watch your volunteer’s teaching and give regular feedback. To make this as easy and quick as possible use digital reporting tools. Oplift allows you to set up quick reports wherever you are. You can capture insights quickly and easily plus add photos or comments. The platform also allows you to assign tasks within the reports which is really useful for example if you think the volunteer needs to brush up their skills in certain areas. You can simply write a task saying ‘learn more about closing the deal as knowledge in this area is slightly weak.’ You can then direct them to the microlearning playlist within the app about closing deals in sales.

Google also stress that you should get feedback from your learners. Ask your employees to fill out a survey which aims to find out how good and effective they are as a trainer. Questions could include:

  1. How engaging is your trainer?
  2. How well do they convey and articulate knowledge?
  3. Do they make you feel comfortable and at ease?
  4. Do they make the subject matter clear and easy to understand?
  5. Are they good at problem solving?
  6. Do they answer your questions in full giving you detailed and helpful replies?
  7. What are their best attributes?
  8. What are their worst attributes?
  9. How much more confident do you feel after their training compared with before?
  10. Do they have the ability to make the subject matter interesting, please explain your answer.

6. Reward your volunteers and make them feel recognised

Like anything to do with employee development, reward and recognition is essential to boosting performance and keeping motivation alive. It can be as simple as a manager taking a volunteer to the side and verbally expressing their thanks and gratitude to them. Or it can be a formal process to make employees feel valued.

You can include milestones in your career development plans which can help volunteers progress within their role. For example, you can reward them when they hit certain milestones such as done ten training sessions, when they’ve had eight or above for their feedback for four weeks running, or perhaps they’ve hit 100/100 in their feedback. Oplift’s reward and recognition software allows you to send stickers and trophies to employees devices. These can be sent by peers or managers to boost morale, motivation and productivity.

7. Recognise the challenges for peer to peer learning

The main challenge with peer to peer learning is quality. If you leave the programme to unravel itself, then you can face quality issues which will impact performance. We suggest having extensive checklists for your volunteers which they can go through every time they hold a session. Our digital checklists make it easy for volunteers to swipe left, right and comment to let you know whether they have completed certain checks. These then go straight to head office once they have been completed. Your checklist could include questions such as:

  1. Do employees have a key takeaway sheet summarising the essential points?
  2. Does your session have a ratio of 20/80 for slides and talking?
  3. Have you set up a microlearning playlist to supplement your class?
  4. Is your class under an hour?
  5. Can you provide a simple sentence which makes it easy for your class to understand your core message about the subject matter? What is it?

Support is another challenge. You need to have the correct resources and training to actually support your volunteers. Google said that when they started their employee to employee training, managers just had to give permission for someone to become a volunteer. But now managers are encouraged to support their them. They do this by making space for them to create their learning materials and helping them with their workloads.

Get in touch with Oplift

If you are interested in transforming employee learning get in touch. We work with large enterprise companies to help them save time and money on their training. Virgin Media have already seen a huge ROI since deploying Oplift and you can too. Call us on 01273 778289 email us hi@oplift.io or book a demo.

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Brochure vector created by katemangostar

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 18th September 2019