Employee training and development pertains to any activity or training program that teaches employees new knowledge or skills or improves upon existing knowledge required for organizational growth.
Employee training programs can vary depending on what is needed to close skill gaps in the workplace. These could range from technical training to vocational and management training.
One common misconception is that training programs are similar to learning and development (L&D) programs. Employee training is a short-term endeavor that is production-centric and aims to solve a particular problem. L&D, on the other hand, pertains to a multi-layered program with the aim of facilitating a larger employee development program within the organization.
For instance, learning how to use new accounting software is considered an employee training program. In contrast, learning accountancy to get new certifications or degrees will fall under the L&D program.
Employee skills are important in helping a company achieve its business goals. With that in mind, knowledge and skills need to be improved over time to keep up with the changing times.
Hosting regular employee training presents many benefits to the company. The major benefits include:
Increases Employee Retention
A company that invests in effective training programs and continuous learning has 30% to 50% higher retention rates than an organization that does not prioritize development programs.
Improves Employee Morale
Employees lose motivation and morale if there is a lack of opportunity for improvement and if they are unable to perform to what is expected of them.
Conducting employee training gives your workers the opportunity to sharpen their skills and gain new knowledge, thereby boosting their morale and increasing their job satisfaction.
Increases Employee Productivity
When employees lose motivation and morale, their productivity will likely suffer as well. An effective training program can improve their morale, which also leads to a boost in productivity.
Better Employee Performance
When the company introduces a new system or shifts to a different program, mistakes and errors are likely to occur, especially when your employees lack the knowledge or skill to efficiently use the tool.
A workplace training program is needed to make employees more proficient in using a new system or tool and reduce the chance of them committing mistakes on the job.
Address Employee Weaknesses
Conducting employee training sessions allows the company to distribute valuable training materials that could help employees strengthen the skills that each employee needs to improve.
Addressing employee weaknesses through training development programs creates a knowledgeable workforce that can work independently.
Perhaps one of the most important types of training programs is orientation. Onboarding programs help new hires get acquainted with the company culture even before they join the company.
The HR staffers typically handle orientation programs and develop training materials related to, but not limited to:
Orientation training needs to cover the essential information that new hires need to get started. That being said, it is also important to ensure that this type of employee training should not become overwhelming. Too much information can discourage new employees.
All employees are required to go through compliance training, regardless of how long they’ve been in the company. During this type of workplace training, the learning objectives should be to educate employees on the laws and regulations applicable to their job function or industry.
Having an effective compliance training program in place helps prevent poor conduct in the workplace and ensures proper governance within the organization. Additionally, it lowers the chance of safety risks and provides employees with a healthier workplace environment.
There are plenty of examples of compliance training programs, including:
A technical training program focuses on teaching employees how to use the tools and technology they need to perform their tasks. For example, if a role requires the use of a printing device, then it should be covered in technical training.
The time it takes to complete technical training from start to finish can vary. Basic tools can be covered in a quick, one-time course while more complicated systems would likely require a more-involved training.
That being said, technical training is not always required. Some positions may require little to no knowledge of using company software.
As such, it is important not to impose technical training on employees who do not require it. For those who do, however, technical training programs should be revisited every year or when there is a major update to the tool.
Product training programs should cover all information about your company’s goods, products, or services. This type of training is typically given to sales representatives, customer service staffers, and the product team.
A product training program may cover different aspects and have varying learning objectives, depending on the employee set to undergo training. Including critical questions about the product can be beneficial to a sales staffer while value-adding can help your marketing team reach the right audience.
In addition to training employees, product training can also be designed for customers to teach them how to use the product and achieve great results. This process can also be called “product adoption.”
Sales training is similar to product training. However, this type of employee training program focuses more on the selling points of your company’s products and services instead of the granular product details.
Effective sales training can teach your staffers how to effectively market and advocate for the product, navigate customer questions, and promote key features.
By the end of sales training, your employees should ideally be able to:
While sales training is more geared toward your sales and marketing staff, it can also be given to non-customer-facing employees to help them better understand the profiles of your target audience and their pain points.
A soft-skills training program focuses on teaching or improving upon personal attributes, including communication skills, conflict resolution, and problem-solving.
Soft skills are crucial across the organization, regardless of the business unit and employee role. Having the right soft skills can help employees gain new clients, close sales, improve customer relationships, and build a stronger team dynamic.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, companies have identified these soft skills as key to the success of young employees:
Team training helps encourage healthy and beneficial team dynamics, which can open the way to professional growth opportunities. Team training, when done right, can also significantly boost employee morale, collective efficacy, and employee satisfaction.
When conducting team training, it is important to take time in determining what initiatives to implement through feedback. Additionally, it is also important to spend an ample amount of time preparing and developing training materials and a training plan.
Leadership training is not intended for just the members of your organization’s leadership team but can also be given to other employees. This type of training can refresh and reset the mindset of your existing leaders. On the other hand, it can help employees better understand their roles, what is expected of them, and what it takes to become exceptional leaders in the future.
Leadership training programs have plenty of benefits, including boosting employee morale, increasing employee retention rates, building better teams, and improving leadership styles.
Effective employee training programs are one of the cornerstones of organizational success, making it even more essential to build a program that caters to the needs of your business and employees.
Here are some tips for you to create an engaging and effective training program.
The first step in any employee training process is establishing your business or learning goals and developing training objectives to successfully achieve them.
When developing an employee training strategy, there are some questions you should consider, including:
Not all training programs can be conducted efficiently and effectively using a single method. Here are some ideas of the different types of employee training plans, courtesy of Workable:
Not all employees have the same learning styles. Where some learn faster through visuals, others may fare better if the training is given through audio recordings. That being said, not all training programs can be designed to adapt to different learning styles.
For instance, you can create audio recordings or speaking seminars for leadership training programs. However, audio recordings may not be effective if you’re aiming to teach your employees how to use a certain tool.
The best way to cater to your employee’s learning styles is by setting up a learning management system. A good system comes with several different learning modalities that allow you to address the various learning needs of your staff.
Adults participating in planning trainings are often more experienced that young students, especially in an academic setting. As such, it is important to keep the characteristics of adult learners in mind, including:
Having learning objectives or outlines in place ensures that you are hitting all the important points of your seminars.
The outline should answer several key questions, such as:
When you have established the outline and the learning objectives, it is time to get feedback from your colleagues, move sections around, and make revisions to finalize the training plan.
A successful training program needs effective training materials. Training materials can include eLearning, training manuals, slide presentations, job aids, workbooks, and online materials.
Once the training is done, do remember to evaluation your employees and ask them for feedback. It is best to do this right after the program so it is fresh on everyone’s minds.
Consider using online surveys or questionnaires to efficiently collate feedback from your employees. You can also consider asking for anonymous feedback to take the pressure off your employees.
Over the next months or quarter, measure whether the objectives of the training were met and whether there are tangible changes within your organization.