Surprising fact: Although U.S. companies spend billions on formal training programs, as much as 70 percent of all workplace learning takes place informally on the job and during shift changes, says a recent Center for Workforce Development study.
Advice: Foster such informal learning by giving employees the tools to spread knowledge to their co-workers. Example: Managers at a North Carolina manufacturing plant realized that much of the discussion in a company cafeteria centered on work skills and actually helped employees do their jobs better. So they decided to encourage such gatherings by placing notepads and even an overhead projector in the cafeteria.
Final tip: Schedule training in a way that encourages informal learning. A Pennsylvania company found success in sending employees to training in small groups, rather than individually. The employees were able to help each other implement what they learned.