I read recently that training organizations spend something like 60 billion dollars a year on employee education. At Cascade Employers Association we are a bit short of 60 billion, but we do a heck of a lot of training. But just because you expose employees to a few new concepts or ideas does not mean that they will remember what you want them to remember. The “forgetting curve” means that 70% of content will be forgotten within 24 hours. So, is your training worth the time and money?

Turns out there are a few very important things workplaces can do to overcome the forgetting curve so that the training investment brings the returns that we all want.

A common misconception is that the training itself is the most important part of the process. Perhaps it is those of us who do the training that are furthering this idea. Research tells us that the things workplace managers do before and after the training event are far more important in the transfer of information. This does not mean we trainers are not important. It means that the context and support from the workplace makes all the difference in making the training stick. We need to give our employees coherence, repetition, and practice to build more sustainability into our training.

Here are a few things our training team gets excited about when we approach a workplace training because we are increasing the likelihood that the lessons will stick:

  • We love it when the boss sits in on the pre-training conversation and sets up clear follow-up activities related to the training. These are activities that continue to answer the questions of SO WHAT? WHY? and NOW WHAT?
  • We love it when workplaces build in brief refresher and booster quizzes to keep ideas alive.
  • We love it when management actually digs in during the trainings with the rest of the team, as opposed to stepping out all day. (While we understand business priorities, you can see the message being sent to other participants when the boss keeps stepping out.)
  • We love it when new leadership concepts are incorporated into subsequent meeting agendas so that we keep these concepts alive.
If your goal is to produce long-term retention, and if your goal is to produce behavior change, then what you do after training is more important than what you do during training.

We are keenly aware of the “use it or lose it” dynamic in training. (Insert your favorite muscle or exercise analogy here.) Here’s to taking a second look at what happens BEFORE and AFTER your next workplace session!

Looking forward to making your training sustainable, practical and useful.




This nonprofit’s vision is an Oregon where every child can read and is empowered to succeed. Did you know…

  1. In 1991, a group of concerned business leaders came together to address the troublesome reality that Oregon’s children were routinely reading below grade level. As a result, the SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) program was launched in 1992.
  2. Over the years, SMART has steadily grown to become the state’s largest volunteer-driven nonprofit organization devoted to children’s literacy. Their proven model engages community volunteers to read one-on-one with pre-K through third-grade children for one hour per week during the school year, exhibiting the joy of reading, while supporting the child’s efforts to read independently. Students also receive up to 14 new books to take home and keep each year.
  3. SMART has now served more than 211,000 children and given away over 2.5 million books. More than 134,000 volunteers have logged over 4.2 million hours reading with children across the state.
  4. In 2016-17 SMART celebrated its 25th anniversary with the release of the publication Oregon Reads Aloud, a collection of 25 read-aloud stories written and illustrated by Oregon authors and illustrators.
  5. SMART invites individuals – volunteers, educators, parents and former students – to share their stories. Here’s what one student had to say: “I was an early reader, but standardized tests in third grade brought to my teacher’s attention that I wasn’t comprehending the way I should. Mrs. Jordan worked with me for an hour a week, and by the third grade, I was reading at an eleventh grade level. I’m living proof that one person can make a huge difference in a child’s ability to read and learn.”

Cascade is proud to showcase SMART. This year the program will serve more than 11,000 kids, taking more than 5,000 volunteers across the State to make it happen. SMART is currently recruiting volunteers to donate an hour of time a week to ignite a love of reading and books in children throughout Oregon’s communities. If this is where you would like to spend the best hour of your week volunteering to make a difference, sign up here:



Soft Melting Clock

That’s right, it’s that time again. Time for that “extra hour” of sleep we will all be getting. On Sunday, November 4, 2018 at 2:00 am, Daylight Savings time ends and our clocks will bounce back to 1:00 am; thus, giving us an hour of sleep, festivities, or work, depending on what we are doing. Changing our clocks back an hour means we gain an hour of sleep (or fun) that night, but what does it mean for employers?

For those employers who have graveyard shift employees, it means that you need to ensure your employees are paid for the correct number of hours. Any employee working when the time changes at 2:00 am, and continues to work after, will have worked the hour from 1:00 am to 2:00 am twice. This means you must pay them for that extra hour of time.

If you have an automated time clock system, double check that the system is accurately recording the number of hours worked. If you have paper time cards, ensure that your employees understand they should calculate that extra hour of work when they fill out their time cards. The best way to do this is to communicate the time change to your employees.

The truth of the matter is, not all employees will know that it is time to fall back. For those working the graveyard shift, this means they may not properly record the number of hours worked. For those who will be coming in on Monday morning, this could cause them to potentially show up an hour early for work. Providing a written reminder to them regarding the time change can help prevent this. This reminder may be a company-wide email for those with access, or reminders posted on the incoming and outgoing doors, near all time clocks, and any company communication boards.

Any manual clocks should be turned back an hour at the end of the shift before the change, preferably after non-exempt employees have clocked out for the day. Or, if someone is working during the graveyard shift, give them the job task of updating the clocks with the correct time. Having these processes in place will provide a smoother transition during this bi-annual event.

By preparing for this event ahead of time, you can prevent wage errors and confusion from employees who may not remember the time change. If you have questions about how to pay your employees, contact Cascade.



The Halloween Spirit

There are many ways to brighten up the work day, but holidays provide the perfect occasion to engage employees and show them work can be fun, too! Halloween offers more than one way to inspire your employees to be creative and gives you the chance to frighten some holiday spirit into them.

Allowing employees to venture back to their childhood is a great way to help boost morale and entice collaboration. Some employers may stage elaborate haunted houses, or throw big bashes to celebrate with their employees; others don’t allow costumes or decorations at all. Is there a middle ground for employers? Can you put on an appealing event and still maintain business during festivities?

Here are some tips for an employer-friendly Halloween event:

  • Give employees plenty of notice of the event. Many people like to put effort into their costumes or decorations and may want time to prepare.
  • Make sure employees understand that participation in the event is completely voluntary.
  • Set up specific times and locations for the actual holiday events. This allows employees who do not want to participate to keep focused on their regular duties.
  • Allow costumes, but set guidelines; costumes should comply with the company’s dress code and safety standards, as well as your company harassment policy.
  • Costume and decorating contests are a lot of fun and provide a great opportunity for relationship building in the office.
  • If costumes won’t work, some fun alternative activities are a pumpkin decorating contest, or Halloween themed games like a marshmallow toss or an apple cider donut eating race.
  • Hand out prizes for contest winners to entice more people to participate, such as movie passes, a massage, or maybe even 2 hours of PTO.
  • If business allows, let employees go home early to trick-or-treat with their kids. Even better, pay them for it!

We all spend a scary amount of time at work – putting on a fun Halloween party can make employees feel appreciated and remind them why they work for your company and not someone else.

If you ever need help with setting up policies or practices to put on an event like this, let us know!

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