I was tasked with teaching my coworkers about certain work policies, (business procedures and standards in a software company) as well as making sure their knowledge of those policies is up to date on a weekly basis. I want to make the process as smooth and not tedious as possible.

However at the moment my best idea is to have weekly meetings to teach new topics and talk about previous ones as well as making surveys to check their progress. I was thinking also on maybe have a badge system and award badges (symbolic ones) to the ones that display the most knowledge on such surveys.

I do believe there has to be something more interesting and dynamic however. So how can I accomplish this in a way everyone finds a least a bit engaging?

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    A very interesting question, maybe a bit wide, can you scope a bit more about certain work policies, business process, qualities, ... ? Note that weekly basis for policies seems a lot, does they chane their policies that often ? – Walfrat Jul 4 '17 at 20:28
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    I face a similar problem in my work- we're in the software industry, but our business processes are long and complex. Given that I'm only the intern, I haven't really said much (because I'll be gone with no intentions of returning), but I've played with the idea of making a game out of the business process on your phone, just to make the learning of the system a little bit easier. I can think of ways to convert the business process into a somewhat entertaining game, but I don't know how applicable this may be for you. – DCON Jul 5 '17 at 9:18
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    I would honestly advise you to not do this on a weekly basis. People will get annoyed at the "constant" interruption of their work days and thus you generate bad feelings towards the whole process. Try doing a large "let's get to know our new policies" day with lunch offered and you will have a better chance to get people on board. – skymningen Jul 5 '17 at 11:08
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    Note that usually all business process aren't suppsoed to be handled by developers, some are supposed to be handled by management, project management, and so on. So you may try first to be sure that the policies you want to teach really apply at their level and not higher. – Walfrat Jul 5 '17 at 20:54
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    @DCON Oh yeah, I thought about the phone app too! For most situations it accomplishes what I'm looking for in an efficient way. Bit-sized, gamey, and "at your own pace". The thing is that I have to use a PC approach, because of some company restrictions. This gives me some ideas though, so thank you. – Zerjack Jul 5 '17 at 21:58

I think you first need to assess whether your policies can be reasonably followed. Why do you need to spend so much time and effort on teaching the policies to begin with? What are the barriers you and your people are facing that make it difficult to follow these policies and how can you remove them?

Ideally, the company environment should be such that following policies is the default action, with little to no conscious effort. The policies and the environment should be such that it takes effort to not follow policies. Workers shouldn't have to have a list of rules memorized in order to be able to do their jobs.

It's the manager's job to make sure following policies is the default. If it's not, then they need to seriously consider either working to change the policy (bad policies), change the environment so that the policy can be followed (good or unchangeable policies), or provide a compelling and logical reason to your team why the policy and environment cannot be changed and concerted effort is required to follow the policy in question (unchangeable policies). As a non-manager, it's your job to make sure management is aware of policies that are difficult or impossible to follow and what the barriers are.

In the cases of policies that are staying, but need environment change, communicate the current expectations and a roadmap of the environment change to improve compliance. Get feedback on how and why a policy cannot be followed (or why compliance is low) and engage your team to solve the problem. (As a non-manager, work with your manager to obtain and pass on this information.)

Developers, especially, don't like rules for the sake of rules, and forcing rote memorization and blind acceptance is going to end in disaster for your team. Your planned attempts will only result in a disengaged team at best.

Instead, harness your team. Developers are problem solvers by nature. Explain to them the problems with compliance that management is having/seeing and ask them for help solving it. Ask them why they can't/won't comply with the policies and work with them to find solutions and middle grounds. As a peer, you can include your own thoughts to pass on to your manager and be the advocate for change.

ETA You stated that you are the peer of the people you are tasked with teaching. So I have to ask: why are you being held responsible for this, as opposed to your management chain? This sounds like something that a manager or team lead should be responsible for carrying out, not a peer.

If you are in a position of authority (either formally as a Senior or Lead, or informally as a highly-respected member of the team), then most of my recommendations still apply, though you may need to petition your management to enact environment and policy changes. If you are not, then I suspect your company has more issues, because unless you're considered a leader, your coworkers don't really have any incentive to listen to you and may in fact come to resent you for trying to do this in a dictatorial or "teacher"-like manner (due to the rather artificial authority).

In other words, it sounds to me like there are managerial issues that need addressed and my recommendation is to ask questions of your management for this, instead of blindly trying to do what they say. By asking you to do this, I believe they are barking up the wrong tree, so to speak.

You don't have to be a manager to question bad policies/decisions, to advocate for improving your work environment, and to hold your managers responsible for what they need to do.

  • Thanks for your answer. All you said makes a lot of sense, however it still doesn't answer my question. The thing is the people I'm talking about are not my team, they're my coworkers. Is not up to me to decide the course of action in that level. I just need a way to make learning engaging. – Zerjack Jul 5 '17 at 0:36
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    @Zerjack -- I've updated my response to clarify and specifically address your position as a peer. My recommendation still stands -- question the reasoning behind the task you were given, and take a collaborative approach with your teammates, instead of a dictatorial one. – Shauna Jul 5 '17 at 19:32

If a majority of the people you are teaching are developers, you should make it into a challenge or a coding exercise where they follow the business specs or standards that are set by your company. You could have documentation lined out that they can read (the company I work for uses Confluence for documentations) to understand different scenarios and what not. Having that documentation in a handy spot will also help if they need to refer back to it at any point during their week instead of interrupting somebody else. (As a developer, I know that when I have some down time, coding exercises are great to blow time and also learn.) And when they think they have completed the exercise, they can make a code review or have people look at it and point out what they can fix to better adhere to the standards.

If it is more business-y than code standards you are teaching, having a race or something that could be a friendly competition will always get a few people's attention.

  • This is very helpful, thanks! Yeah they're mostly developers but its also more business-y than code related. I've heard of Confluence, yeah we have something similar on the intranet that I could totally use. – Zerjack Jul 5 '17 at 22:10

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