Business simulations are proving to be a preferred method of workplace training for business leaders in several professional industries, as they serve to engage employees across an entire hierarchy.

It is foolish, however, to think that a business simulation should only follow a linear structure and be focused on one area, such as the development of skills.

When constructed and implemented correctly, a business simulation can go beyond the realms of a typical workplace training programme, offering leaders more of an insight than ever before into what drives their business, as well as highlighting any areas they need to focus on for the foreseeable future.

What is a business simulation?

A workplace business simulation will provide an environment for employees that is mirrored to their typical professional surroundings, allowing them to practice and develop their skills.

Working collaboratively with other members of staff, employees will attempt to solve problems and make decisions that would be expected of them in their roles. The difference is, however, that they will make these critical decisions in a risk-free environment, meaning there are no consequences for the wider business.

Furthermore, employees are given an opportunity to reflect on their own performance and decisions, including what they did well and where they could improve in a real situation, thus improving learning retention. According to Advantexe, learners retain only 5 per cent of what they hear and 10 per cent of what they read, but they remember more than 50 per cent of what they learn through discussion and interaction.

In order to make the most out of a business simulation event, leaders should be looking to get more for their investment than just an improvement in learning retention. Here are three areas that should be focused on:

Developing commercial skills

In addition to developing core skills related to specific roles, business simulations can be utilised to ensure that employees have a deep understanding of how the company operates, as well as the broader industry in which they work.

For employees, possessing commercial skills allows them to become more engaged within their roles and feel included in the business. They can also, in turn, monitor competitor activity more accurately and gain the confidence to make regular suggestions for long term improvement.

Business simulations to drive innovation within the business

With innovation and technology dominating so many professional industries in the modern world, business leaders run the risk of falling behind competitors if they fail to implement it.

Where business simulations are concerned, they can be utilised as an opportunity to integrate new technologies to benefit the company. By replicating an environment that an employee will typically face within their role, with the addition of new processes, individuals will be prompted to work in creative ways that will help the business to improve.

For more information, please read our blog on how business simulations can drive innovation within a business.

Identifying the developmental needs of employees

One of the most significant advantages of simulations compared to traditional workplace training methods is that they allow for greater reflection of performance from both employees and those in management.

If a common trend begins to appear of employees lacking or underperforming in a particular area, it is more than likely that this area of the business needs more attention when developing the skills of employees in the future. Similarly, if employees generally perform particularly well in a specific area, business leaders can rest assured that their employees will be able to perform well in these areas and thus focus less on this area in future training programmes.

For more information, please read our blog on how business simulations can identify the developmental needs of your employees.

In conclusion, a business simulation provides many opportunities for companies of all sizes, as well as individual employees, to reflect on their performance, thus maximising their return on investment. A well-rounded simulation event can serve as the most effective solution for leaders who want to optimise their general training programmes.

At MDA Training, we utilise simulations as part of our experiential learning programmes for businesses in a range of professional sectors. For more information, please visit our services here.