It is a common phenomenon for military personnel, pilots, doctors, and disaster response teams to pass through intense simulations before they set foot in the real world. This not only allows them to learn about their areas of specialization extensively but also be ready to respond in case of a crisis. Just like in these fields, money-making enterprises also leveraging business training simulations to develop their capabilities.
Business training simulations are interactive learning experiences (based on mathematical models and economic game theory) used to depict real-life situations as simplified and minimized models. They help organizations test things out in a robust, risk-free environment. Business training simulations provide organizations with a means of adding business acumen to employees, sharpening their strategic thinking, and increasing their customer understanding. Simulations are also implemented in business training/leadership development as an effective method of enhancing the skills of the workforce, improving their teamwork spirit, as well as their decision-making process.
When developing a business simulation program, management should ensure that it resonates with the specific operations and KPIs of the company. Identifying the exact benefit that employees derive from a business simulation program will increase the probability of realizing a return on investment.
How to Create an Effective Business Simulation Program
- Have clear and precise goals for the simulation
This is the single most common problem I see. Failure to set out your goals before you create a simulation program can make it crumble before it even begins. If the management fails to make adequate preparations, they risk wasting their precious time and money on an endeavor that will not yield any returns. It is imperative that you clearly map out what exactly the company wants the workforce to achieve, the precise subject matters to be covered and how all this is going to happen.
From financial development to compliance training to anything related to the business, identifying the skills and knowledge you need imparted is critical. Knowing every precise action before it happens will enable the company leaders to keep their eyes on things that require implementation. This will help them create an effective program.
- Make the Simulation Program Focused and Straightforward
Since simulations may cover real-life phenomena that take years to complete, leaders may be tempted to pack the program with tons of content. However, they should understand that simulations should be focused and align very tightly with learning objectives. If a business simulation program contains too much information, it might bore the learner and make the project lose its intended purpose. Besides, you will be dealing with employees that already have a lot to do in their respective job roles.
You can opt to break the simulation session into sizeable chunks so employees don’t spend long-hours sitting. You can also allow them to select topics and modules as they wish.
- Make the Simulation Realistic and Applicable
Since simulations are meant to mirror the real world, they need to be realistic enough for employees to resonate with them. While you may want to add sophisticated materials to the simulation program, you should avoid overcomplication as it might frustrate your learners and make them lose interest. The employees might be willing to take part in the simulation training, but if they find it unrealistic, they may decide to do it just for fun. This means you would spend time on an experience that doesn’t reflect the real experience in the company. Additionally, ensuring the simulation aligns behind applicable skills adds a great detail of validity and credibility to the business training simulation program.
Therefore, it is important you identify the exact training goals you want your staff to do beforehand. Once you have that area covered, you can go ahead and devise ways to simplify your content and keep it realistic.
- Prioritize Commercial Skills
Since the primary focus of most companies is to make a profit, developing the commercial skills of its workforce should be a priority. Therefore, if you want a business training simulation program that pays sufficient attention to marketable skills including effective leadership behavior, business acumen, strategic thinking, and a lot more.
For this reason, it is prudent for company leaders to improve the commercial skills of participants, even if it is indirectly. They can structure the program in a way that it offers employees insightful and trendy industry developments, as well as ideas that have proven to improve efficiency in similar roles, thereby help improve engagement. Whether the business training simulation is aimed to transform sales, apply effective leadership, accelerate innovation, or create a culture, finding a way to incorporate commercial skills in the mix will bolster the ROI.
- Use the Right Tool
The tool you use to create your training simulations will also significantly influence the efficiency of your program. Whether you are doing the project in-house or outsourcing to an experienced custom learning development partner, you need a state-of-the-art simulation tool. An excellent tool should save not only time but also be able to scale up. Additionally, it should resonate with your company’s budget. On the topic of budget, start small! Don’t fall under the pressure you should spend a large portion of your budget on a business training simulation. The training content is the most important part of your budget.
- Conduct a Post-Program Effectiveness Analysis
Company leaders should plan for analysis after the completion of the business training simulation program. This will ensure that employees take responsibility for their decisions after fun and engaging simulation process. Through the analysis, workers can reflect on what was executed judiciously and what could have needed more input. This would help embed the learning of the simulation back into the company.
An effective analysis system can be implemented into a simulation program by asking questions like:
- Have you learned something new about yourself?
- Which aspects were your favorites?
- Are there areas you could improve on?
- Have you picked something you can apply to your workstation?
A constructive analysis system will allow your employees to do performance evaluations according to their engagement with the simulation program. The analysis results can be maintained in-house and continue to yield its benefits as part of workplace training.
Creating a business training simulation program can be an important and exciting part of the modern-day workplace. And even though simulation training can’t help solve all problems, its effectiveness will depend on how well you utilize the insights listed above. If you set precise goals, make the program more realistic, and choose the best tool, you’ll create a more effective program. However, care should be taken to ascertain that training simulations are economically viable and accurately planned.