It is crucial to invest in employees’ development if you want your company to be successful. Working in IT, marketing, science, medicine, and many other fields requires continuous learning. Even if you hire experienced specialists, they still need to refresh their skills and knowledge from time to time. In this article, you will learn about common types of training, understand the benefits of employee training, and learn how to create an effective training program.
Learning about Employee Training & Development: Definitions and Types
Employee training usually takes the form of a specific program that includes the acquisition of new skills and enhancing professional knowledge. Effective training can improve an employee’s current job performance in a short period of time.
Employee development is more comprehensive and is designed to enhance an employee’s future opportunities and career growth rather than immediate performance impact. A development program may include multiple training practices, professional conferences, and resources for self-learning.
Below, you will find descriptions of the most common types of employee training.
Skills training is meant to improve the skills needed in the employee’s current job. For example, a college lecturer is likely to be interested in teaching techniques. A programmer would be looking to deepen their knowledge of a programming language they use, and perhaps learn from more experienced colleagues. Typically, skills training is handled in-house, and often requires a mentor, either from your company or another business.
Soft skills training is important for people who are engaged in marketing, sales, and customer service. This kind of training is aimed at developing communication skills, overcoming negative personality traits and cultivating positive ones, learning important ethical principles, and more. A call center operator might study phone communication tips and ways to avoid conflicts. A salesperson may learn how to provide customers with a positive experience. Soft skills training can happen externally or in-house.
Technical training is intended to teach new employees important technology aspects of their job. In copywriting, this might include learning how to use a content management system to add and edit content on webpages. In a coffee shop, someone has to show a new server how to use the guest order processing system. If a company has purchased new software, the employees who are going to work with it need to be trained how to use it effectively. Most of the time, technical training is given in-house, but it may sometimes be provided externally.
Professional training keeps employees’ professional knowledge up-to-date. There are professions that require regular refreshment of specific knowledge. For example, an accountant must frequently learn new tax laws, since they change almost every year. A web designer has to keep up with new design trends to deliver a more effective product.
Legal training is a subtype of professional training. It is about learning and following local and international laws which may affect the company’s activities. A lack of familiarity with these laws may come at a high price. For example, for online businesses, obeying privacy laws is a high priority as huge penalties can result from ignoring them. This is a key reason some companies provide regular legal training for their employees.
Quality training is important for businesses that produce and sell product. The goal of quality training is to teach employees how to spot and eliminate items which do not meet certain quality principles as well as how to prevent such items from appearing in the first place. There are a number of standard-setting organizations, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), supported by more than 160 countries around the world. ISO sets the international quality standards for companies that provide products and services. The ever-growing rate of globalization and increasingly competitive business environment make these standards important to abide by, so quality training is always relevant.
Managerial training is necessary when an employee is going to be promoted to management level. A future manager needs to learn how to motivate their team, delegate tasks, deal with crisis and conflict situations, and much more. Managerial training can also include learning the technical aspects of a new position – for example, mastering scheduling software. Usually, at least some managerial training is performed in-house, so other managers can share their experience. Sometimes, external training is also needed, when qualified coaches can give lessons on leadership skills, team building, and other aspects of management.
Team training is aimed at building trust and team spirit in a group of people and showing team members how to interact, exchange opinions, and resolve conflicts. This type of training is particularly important when new employees have to work together or a new member joins an existing team. Team training sessions can be either led in-house by an HR specialist or outside the workplace. They usually include social activities in addition to the training itself.
Safety training is intended to ensure employees know about company safety rules and procedures, so they are protected against accidents in the workplace. Such training is especially important for companies that deal with hazardous materials and machinery. Many organizations also provide safety training on using emergency exits and fire protection equipment.
The Benefits: Boosting Your Business and Encouraging Career Growth
Why is employee training so important? Read these six reasons why you should invest in training your staff:
1. Performance Growth
After undergoing effective training, employees will understand their roles and responsibilities better and be more productive. Competent employees benefit the company as they keep up with industry changes and help your business stay competitive.
2. Fewer Mistakes, More Time and Money
If a worker isn’t trained properly, he or she can make mistakes. As a result, time and money can be lost, and clients may get a lower-quality product. To avoid such problems, train your employees so that they bring only benefits to the business.
3. More Creativity
Constant upskilling can encourage employees to be more creative. Fresh ideas, improved strategies, and effective solutions often emerge after a good training session.
4. Happy Staff
Employees become happier and have greater job satisfaction when they receive ongoing training, either in-house or through outside conferences and courses. They feel supported by the company and are encouraged to achieve better results and grow professionally.
5. Reduced Staff Turnover
This point results directly from the last one. When employees feel that they are valued and supported, they are more loyal and less likely to leave the company. As a result, recruitment expenses decrease significantly.
6. Good Company Reputation
Employees who receive good training will likely share their experience with friends and give positive feedback on your company online and offline. All this establishes a good reputation for your organization and helps your human resources department hire the best new employees.
How to Create an Effective Training Program: Plans and Actions
Creating an employee development plan is similar to making a work plan: you need to lay out every step of the process.
1. Determine the Goal
First, think about why you want to train your employees and what you expect to gain by this. Determine the business goal before planning any activities. This goal may include increasing efficiency and revenue, decreasing expenses, teaching a new process or technology, or abiding by particular regulations.
2. Choose the Training Method
Now you should choose the most appropriate training method. Some companies choose traditional methods, such as coaching and classroom training. Others prefer online methods that involve educational videos and web-based training courses. Below, you will find the most common training methods:
Instructor-led training is a traditional form of learning, also known as classroom training. It resembles college classes, when an expert gives a lecture on a particular topic, complemented by a PowerPoint presentation or other materials. Instructor-led training is still very popular, as it allows direct communication between lecturer and trainees.
Interactive training combines instructor-led training and interactive modules: case studies, group discussions, quizzes, role playing, and business games. This approach can make training more interesting and fun.
Practical training involves hands-on learning when employees can apply the skills they have learned right away. This is an effective method because trainees can acquire important skills in a short period of time.
Mentoring is another popular type of offline training. Its main advantages are low cost and high levels of effectiveness. When more experienced colleagues assist new employees, they build a professional and personal relationship that often stimulates performance growth.
Computer-based training allows employees to train remotely. It can include reviewing training materials, doing practical tasks, and completing end-of-course tests. Many organizations prefer computer-based training because it gives more flexibility both to trainers and trainees.
Video training is classified as a separate training method because of its increasing popularity. Many people learn better when they watch videos rather than read training materials, so this type of learning is often more effective. Recording on-screen instructions for employees helps organizations save time and money.
3. Conduct Training
When you have determined your business goal and chosen the appropriate training method, it is time to actually conduct the training. If you are going to do this yourself, you need to prepare well. Here are some of the most important tips for a good training session:
- Start your training with a short overview of what you are going to talk about.
- Make sure trainees understand everything you say. Repeat key points and the meanings of new terms if necessary.
- Before showing a video, a PowerPoint presentation, or other multimedia content, explain to people what they are going to see.
- Try to always include practical activities.
- Ask trainees their opinion on the subject, do not stick to just the one perspective.
- Add fun to the training process. You can use humor when it is appropriate.
- Always start and finish your session on time. Don’t make people wait for latecomers and never be late yourself.
- If a session is longer than two hours, include one or more short breaks.
- Collect feedback on the training to ensure the next one is even more effective.
4. Evaluate the Results
After the training has been completed, you need to evaluate its effectiveness. The following four criteria will provide a wide-ranging assessment.
Employee feedback. You can easily find out whether people liked it or not by observing them during the session, asking their opinion, or creating an anonymous survey.
Employee knowledge. To evaluate what people actually learned from the training, give them review tests and practical exercises.
Employee effectiveness. Has anything changed in their job behavior? Can they apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the real world? Define the development of your employees by observing them closely after training.
Measurable benefits to the business. Compare your initial business goal and the actual results. Did you see the benefits of the employee training program that you expected?
When you conduct these evaluations, you will be able to see whether the employee training and development program has been effective. If you achieved your business goal, you may want to repeat the program at another time. If you are not completely satisfied with the results, create a new training plan or adjust the existing one based on previous experience.