Employee Training Programs: Best Types for Greatest Benefits
Employee training programs come in many different shapes and sizes. Top companies invest in them because they know the investment results in multiple benefits for the staff and the organization.
Let’s review employee training programs, starting with the benefits, subject matter to consider including in the training, and the different options available for implementation.
What are the Benefits of Creating a Training Program?
For the organization, empowering employees through training programs has a number of positive returns, including greater productivity, increased profitability and reduced employee turnover.
Training programs result in increased employee motivation and engagement, as well as the desire to apply what they’ve learned to day-to-day operations
Adds Value to the Company Appeal
Don’t overlook the added value of employee training as a recruiting tool. Above and beyond its benefit to current employees and the organization as a whole, employee training has become an important factor in job candidates’ decision making.
Today’s workers tend to look closely at the entire benefits package – and that includes training and development options, because these individuals favor organizations that encourage them to learn and apply new skills.
By providing opportunities through employee training, you’ll be more likely to attract stronger candidates while concurrently reinforcing a positive public image as an organization that supports a learning and developmental culture.
One of the most common questions asked by applicants in interviews is about the training provided to them when they start a new position. Candidates want to know that the company they may be working for is going to invest the time and resources needed to help them be successful in the position. Having a specific training program you can speak to will help them feel confident about accepting a position with your company.
Employers Gain a Competitive Advantage in Their Industry
Well-trained employees enjoy greater job satisfaction and that directly results in a competitive advantage for the employer. The business landscape is in a constant state of flux driven by changes in consumer demand and purchasing habits, the emergence of new competition, and the constant evolution of technology.
Inaction in that environment can be fatal for a business. Employee training ensures that your employees are continuously advancing their awareness and understanding of developments and challenges. That provides a competitive marketplace advantage for the organization.
Improves Team Morale
Employee training gives employees greater job satisfaction, bolsters engagement and motivation, and improves team morale. It helps employees remain positive about their career opportunities in the organization, which reduces employee turnover, increases productivity, and directly improves profitability. It also prevents competitors from taking away your best employees by offering training incentives.
Increases Employee Contribution
Nurturing employees by helping them develop current skill sets provides them with the capability to increase their contribution to the organization’s mission plan and business objectives. As an example, job training can result in increased employee capacity to adopt new technologies and products, which could be transformational for your organization.
Staff that may have been considering seeking employment elsewhere may be more inclined to stay if employee training efforts provide ways for them to learn and develop – and contribute – in meaningful ways.
Skills Every Company Trains For and Why?
Employee training programs not only provide benefits to the individual but also to the business. Regular training is well worth the investment because building the skills of employees will ultimately improve the organization’s bottom line. Here are four skills that most companies focus on when providing employee training.
Given the pace of technology development, technical training is usually a high priority for most organizations’ employee training efforts. Regardless of the expertise employees currently possess, up-to-date technical training is vital.
Employees who receive technical training are able to work more efficiently, resulting in reduced operating costs and increased profitability.
Policies and Procedures
‘Orientation’ is one of the most common types of employee training, welcoming and introducing new hires to the organization. Usually the topics covered include:
- Company mission, vision and values
- Corporate culture
- Organizational structure and leadership team information
- Mandatory new hire paperwork
- Overview of benefit plans
- Key corporate policies
While the policies and procedures training is done during the new hire process, it is also something that should be on-going as policies and procedures can change over time. It is also important to be continually training and reinforcing the company’s culture, mission, vision and values. The more this is reinforced with training the stronger it becomes over time.
Most organizations expect their employees to be responsible for their own time management, planning, and day-to-day productivity. Some employees are focused, while others may not have developed the skills to do that. That’s why it’s constructive to include personal skills development in the employee training process.
People skills are what, ultimately, make an organization function smoothly and efficiently. Whether interacting with co-workers, customers, or prospects, people skills are extremely important. Making them a focus of employee training efforts ensures that everyone knows their roles and responsibility to behave appropriately and contribute to an environment that embraces and encourages the organization’s mission and values.
In many respects, how employees act is just as important as what they know. Providing people skills training develops their ability to interact effectively and harmoniously. Studies have demonstrated that a lack of basic soft skill competency among company employees affects company success and increases turnover rates.
Topics usually addressed in soft skill training efforts include:
- Communication skills
- Presentation skills
- Problem solving skills
- Conflict resolution
- Leadership skills
- Time management
Best Types of Employee Training and Why?
There are many different approaches to employee training because every organization has its particular needs and challenges. Employee training is not a ‘one size fits all’ proposition, but there are certain types of employee training that can prove beneficial.
Hands-on training is a time-intensive method that focuses on the individual needs of the employee. One advantage of hands-on training is that it is applicable immediately to the employee’s job.
In a recent survey of more 1,000 office workers, 33% said they prefer to learn by feeling or experiencing what they’re learning. Hands-on training affords employees the opportunity to apply what they’re learning before they have to translate the skills to their day-to-day tasks.
Instructor-led training is the traditional type of employee training that takes place in a conference or class room, with a qualified instructor presenting the material to a group of ‘students’. Instructor-led employee training is effective, particularly when presenting complex topics. Instructors can answer specific questions or direct employees to other resources. They also allow for highly-skilled instructors to match the training level and style to the employees in the room. Instructor-led training does have some drawbacks, including cost and time to implement.
In some instances, certain topics can be addressed by using a required reading approach. Case studies, in particular, can provide a quick way for employees to learn about real workplace issues. Employees can read and mentally process the assigned material at their own pace, which increases retention and the employee’s confidence in applying what they’ve learned.
Coaching or mentoring shares similar qualities with hands-on training, but focuses more strongly on building a relationship between an employee and a more-experienced, senior staff member. The one-on-one mentoring style creates a relationship between employees that carries far beyond training. It also allows the employee to ask questions they may not feel comfortable asking in a classroom, instructor-led training.
For all its benefits, mentoring is costly in terms of employee hours, but the relationship-building aspect is extremely valuable in developing employee capabilities.
Depending on the organization’s internal dynamics and the people skills of the employees, group discussions and activities can be a useful training approach. These discussions and activities can be instructor-led and are best used for employees facing work challenges that require a collaborative approach.
Similar to group discussions, role-playing requires employees to address and resolve learning challenges. By being asked to consider different points-of-view and think on their feet as they work through the role-playing activity, employees develop their problem-solving skills which then can be applied in their daily interactions with others.
Management-specific activities focus on training managers on how to be more effective, efficient and successful in their roles. This approach can include simulations, brainstorming activities, team-building exercises, role-playing, or online instructional info on management best practices. These activities help managers build a foundation of capabilities that they need to reinforce and support the efforts of their staff.
Simulation training is usually provided through a computer or virtual reality device. Despite the initial costs for producing the software or technology, simulation training can be a very valuable option for training employees who are tasked with high-risk responsibilities.
For many good reasons, online training has proven to be a very wide-spread approach to employee training. With proper planning and design, online training is a highly effective way to provide employee training, especially for employees who do not work on-site or aren’t able to attend training sessions.
Unique Advantages to Online Training
For some organizations, the advantages of online training can outweigh those of traditional approaches. For a number of compelling reasons, many organizations are turning to online training to save money, time, and energy – while better meeting the needs of their employees. Here are some of the benefits to consider.
Program is Available 24/7 Everywhere
One of online training’s greatest appeals to employers and employees alike is its 24/7 accessibility. Online training enables employees to learn anywhere at any time. They can use mobile devices, like smartphones, tablets and laptops, or home- or work-based PCs to access learning materials. This makes it possible for employees to learn the subject at their own pace and in comfortable settings.
This accessibility allows employees to enhance their skill sets and increases their knowledge base quickly and conveniently. It also ensures that the curriculum can easily be customized, regardless of when or where it is reviewed. Obviously, this eliminates the need for the organization to stage expensive day-long seminars with trainers reviewing teaching materials to rooms full of employees.
Information Suitable for Slow and Fast Learning Styles
Everyone learns at a different pace and everyone retains information differently. When the individual can control the speed at which the material is presented, they are more likely to retain the information.
With online training, employees proceed at their own speed. If an employee is struggling with material, they can repeat previous lessons until they feel comfortable with the subject, and then continue. Other employees may move through the material without needing to review. By allowing employees to learn at a comfortable speed, online training makes the process stress-free and user-friendly.
Digitally Track User Progress
Online training programs include tracking capabilities that provide automated status reports for individual employees. This tracking feature produces up-to-the-minute data on lesson progress or inactivity, course progress, test and quiz results, and lesson completions, as examples.
This information can be used in a variety of ways, too. It can help identify employees who are struggling with lesson material and need guidance. It may also reveal if certain parts of the curriculum are problematic for many employees, which may be a red flag that the lesson material should be reviewed and revised for clarity.
Attractive to Millennials
Born between 1980 and 2000, millennials were literally raised on the internet. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, millennials already represent the majority of the workforce, and by 2030, they will comprise 75%.
As the number of these tech-savvy millennials continues to rise, online training will become the new ‘normal.’ Given their lifelong exposure to the internet and technology, millennials are completely at ease in online learning environments.
While there may be resistance by non-millennial employees to online training, millennials prefer it because it aligns with their learning and development needs, career expectations, and lifestyles.
As with any significant business investment, employee training can be costly but the rewards should be well worth it. When considering how to implement new or improve existing employee training for your organization, keep these three key considerations in mind.
Skills. Take the time and make the effort to find out from your staff what skills they want to develop – and why they think those skills are most important. That input is crucial because it comes directly from the most significant assets your organization possesses – your employees. In addition, asking for that input conveys to your employees that their opinions and concerns matter.
Frequency. Timing is everything, so think about the frequency of training. Be sure to provide enough relevant training, but avoid providing too much. You want your employees to absorb the material without struggling to keep up with their daily responsibilities.
Delivery. We’ve reviewed the many different types of training that are available. Every organization is unique and effective employee training must take into account the specific dynamics and needs of the organization.
This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created between the author and reader of this blog post, and its content should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are urged to consult legal counsel when seeking legal advice.