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There’s never been a more critical time for organizations to focus on their employees’ learning and development.
With record numbers of people joining the Great Resignation and leaving their jobs, employers are looking for ways to attract and retain the best talent. In turn, employees returning to the workforce post-pandemic want to upskill and so are prioritizing professional development opportunities when deciding whether to accept a role.
On top of this, technological advancements in the workplace continue at a rapid speed. Without training, employees can’t keep up, making it more difficult for organizations to remain competitive.
So what’s the solution?
Employee Training to the Rescue
One strategy for tackling these issues is investing in an employee training program that offers your employees classes or courses designed to teach them new skills or develop existing ones. Not only does training contribute to your employees’ professional growth and improves their ability to do their job, there’s also a strong business case to be made for it too, given its direct effect on employee retention and your bottom line.
If you’re wondering how to create a training program for your employees, look no further. In this article, we guide you through building a training program that keeps your employees engaged and addresses their professional development needs while also making your organization more competitive.
The Importance of Employee Training
Employee training doesn’t come cheap. The average US company spends $1,286 on each employee for training every year. Is it worth it?
The answer is a resounding yes. Investing in the development of an employee training program:
- Directly impacts your organization’s bottom line. Upskilling your employees has a direct positive effect on their productivity and the quality of their work. In turn, this enhances organizational processes and reduces the risk of mistakes happening, contributing to increased profits.
- Improves employee retention. Training and development matter to employees and influence their level of commitment to an organization. In a LinkedIn survey, 94% of employees said they would stay longer with an employer who invested in their training and development.
- Attracts top talent. Training is also an important factor for new employees and can give you a competitive edge when it comes to recruiting top talent. 80% of US employees say an employer’s professional development and training opportunities are important factors when accepting a new role.
- Helps you stay on top of technological developments. Business technology develops at breakneck speed. Organizations need employees who can work with new and changing technologies. Rather than replacing employees to address a skills shortage within an organization—the cost of which can run as high as $4000 per new hire—you can use training to upskill employees.
What to Include in an Employee Training Program
When it comes to employee training programs, there are no rules! You can design a program that suits your organizational and workforce’s needs. But there are two things your training program should address—the types of employee training you intend to offer and the way you will deliver them.
Types of employee training
A key aspect of any training program involves identifying what types of training you will offer your employees.
Orientation and onboarding are forms of training used to familiarize new employees with the organization as well as its processes and culture. Getting new hires up to speed quickly and integrating them into the organization smoothly is important for employee retention and building a strong company culture.
Competency-based training is a common approach used by many organizations. Competencies are a group of skills, abilities, knowledge, and behaviors such as strategic planning or managing resources effectively. Competency-based training can be used across teams requiring the same skills to perform their different roles.
Skill set training focuses on developing the complementary group of skills an employee needs to perform in a specific type of job, for example, sales or marketing training. Management training is another example, frequently used by organizations to identify and develop internal leadership potential by equipping employees with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to succeed as a manager.
Skills-based training teaches employees a specific technical skill that they need to use immediately in their role, for example, learning a new software program. It keeps employees’ skills up to date and in line with competitors.
Soft skills training, in comparison, equips employees with the personality traits, social attitudes, and individual behaviors necessary to thrive in a role. Some of the most in-demand soft skills include creativity, persuasion, collaboration, and adaptability. Improving these abilities indirectly contributes to an organization’s functioning and overall success.
Compliance training is required by law. This training is mandatory for a specific role or industry under the relevant legislation, regulation, or policy. It includes topics such as workplace health and safety, ethics, quality, diversity training, or the renewal of a professional license. It’s usually aimed at minimizing risk, regulating a profession, or providing a better workplace environment.
Product or service training. This type of training explores the ins and outs of your product or service, helping your employees to fully understand it. It’s often prioritized for sales, customer services, or marketing teams so they can more effectively communicate the features and benefits of your product or service.
Training delivery methods
The way you deliver your training is as important as the content itself. You can choose the method that best suits your resources and employees’ learning preferences. You don’t have to just choose one—mix and match the different types of training methods for employees to maximize their effectiveness.
Mobile apps like Connecteam are the new standard for employee training. With direct access to training materials online via their personal devices, employees can learn more at their own pace.
Online employee training programs:
- Save you time and money. You don’t need to coordinate a time when everyone can attend a training session. Instead, employees can access the material at their convenience.
- Guarantee consistency across your organization, with each employee receiving the same information and training.
- Allow you to train multiple locations at various times without any additional cost.
- Digitally track and assess training completion. This way you and your employees always have an up-to-date record of their learning.
- Give employees access to information whenever they need it, reducing uncertainty, misinformation, and error.
- Are typically less expensive than on-site, in-person training.
Connecteam helps you create completely customizable on-the-go training content using videos, texts, workflows, and even quizzes, so there is no need to have your employees physically there to start.
Employees must be physically present for in-person training, which can be held onsite at your organization or an external location. Led by an instructor—either someone experienced within your organization or an external provider—examples of in-person training include workshops, seminars, or training days.
In-person training is more difficult to organize. You need to find a convenient time to hold the training, as well as the space. It can also be more expensive once you factor in additional costs such as travel costs, venue hire, and training costs.
Blended learning is a combination of both online and in-person training. You can adopt it as a permanent approach to training your employees, or use it short-term to help employees transition to online learning.
This hybrid approach offers more flexibility and cost savings, compared to fully in-person training.
Peer training, or collaborative learning, involves employees learning from each other, such as through coaching or mentoring. Interactive training like this is an ideal way to share and build institutional knowledge.
While peer training often happens organically between employees, it’s useful to consider it and expressly include it in your formal training program.
A practical approach to training, job rotation involves moving employees laterally between different tasks or roles to learn new knowledge and skills. As well as variety, job rotation also gives employees a better and broader understanding of the organization.
Before using it, it’s important to develop a job rotation policy and strategy to ensure this type of training is beneficial rather than disruptive to employees and your business.
Microlearning is a technique involving short learning courses, for example, 5 minute online training videos. Microlearning presents new information in bite-sized chunks, resulting in a more engaging and effective training method compared to more time-consuming delivery methods. It avoids employees becoming bored and leads to higher knowledge retention than traditional methods.
Individual or group training
The subject matter you’re covering may influence whether to train employees individually or as a team. While individual training can be tailored to suit an employee’s specific needs and gives them the flexibility to complete the training when convenient, group training may also serve as a good team-building opportunity, promoting collaboration.
Internal or outsourced
Internal training is developed and run in-house by an organization. Managing training like this allows you to tailor your training program to your organization’s needs while building a learning library of content based on the employee training materials you develop. However, developing training content can be a time-consuming process.
Alternatively, you can outsource your training by hiring an external trainer or facilitator to come to your office, or by sending employees to an external industry conference. While this approach is typically more expensive, you have the benefit of an expert leading employees through the training.
8 Tips for Creating an Effective Employee Training Program
Define training goals and objectives
Before deciding what training to offer your employees, it’s essential to identify what you want to achieve with it. Any training program you create should support your organization’s broader business strategy. For this reason, it’s important to involve or consult with executive management when designing an employee training program.
This helps you define the goals and objectives of your training program. Ask yourself questions such as:
- How is this training supporting our business goals?
- How will this training improve our retention rate?
- How will we ensure our training is engaging?
For example, if an aspect of your business strategy is to increase profits through improved efficiencies, your training should focus on teaching employees to use production machines or software programs more quickly.
Collect employee feedback
It’s also a good idea to involve your employees when creating a training program. Seeking their input helps you identify their professional goals, knowledge gaps, and preferred learning styles. This highlights your organization’s training needs and may also help direct training priorities.
A survey app is an easy way to collect and collate employee feedback on a potential training program. Involving your employees in the process reinforces that you value their opinion—and employees are going to engage more with a program they helped shape.
Identify subject matter and employee groups
Armed with a clear understanding of your training goals and objectives as well as your employee’s feedback, you can then start to identify the topics and target employees for your training program.
A training needs analysis is a useful tool for this. A top-down training needs analysis involves management identifying the training needs of their teams as they see them. Alternatively, you can take a more decentralized approach and involve employees directly in the process. Employees tell management what their training needs are and management or HR can then set training priorities based on this feedback.
Alternatively, a skills-gap analysis—where you compare the skills needed to do a job against the skills an employee already has—can also help identify potential training topics.
More often than not, your training needs will be greater than your training budget. It’s important to identify the most urgent areas to focus on and prioritize your training program accordingly. For example, if you are experiencing issues within your company culture, your training program might prioritize soft skills, such as communication and how to work effectively in a team. If your organization is projecting significant growth and needs to prepare leadership, management training may be your top priority.
Tailor your training program
Training programs are not a one size fits all proposition. When building an employee training program, you should tailor both the type of training and the delivery method to suit the needs of your employees, their roles, and the organization. This helps employees develop the skills and abilities they need to do the job, while also supporting the organization’s business strategy.
For example, if you manage a team of deskless shift workers, then scheduled onsite training might not make a lot of sense. Offering training that employees can access at any time, from anywhere via an app may better suit your workforce.
A learning library or employee training manual is an ideal resource for employees who prefer to work independently. There are plenty of training manual templates available online to help you put one together. Other employees may prefer interactive or hands-on training, rather than materials-based training.
Offer a combination of formal and self-directed training
As well as tailoring the type of training and delivery method, your employee training program should use a mix of formal and self-directed training.
Formal training involves designated training sessions that follow a structured curriculum, set by the organization. It can cover all types of training—from technical skills through to soft skills. It’s especially useful in situations like orientation and onboarding.
Self-directed training, on the other hand, puts employees in charge of their own learning. They can choose their learning goals and materials and decide when they want to do the training. One of the best ways to manage this is with an online learning library with training materials for employees to search and access. Ideal for soft skills such as communication, teamwork, or time-management, self-directed training may be useful for long-term employees looking to upskill.
The takeaway is that your broader training program should use a combination of both self-directed and formal training, depending on the topic and intended audience.
It’s impossible to know whether your training program is effective without measuring its results. You can do this by collecting data before and after the training and comparing the post-training results to your goals and objectives to find out whether you’ve achieved what you set out to do.
In addition, it’s useful to measure your employees’ level of engagement with a training program. This is especially easy to do with an online training platform, where you can keep employees’ training records.
Qualitative data is equally as helpful. Seek employee feedback on the effectiveness of your training program so you can find out what’s working, as well as areas for improvement, directly from the training subjects. If you’re not seeing the results you wanted from your training program, it may be time to review and adjust it.
Review your training program often
You can use the data you gather on your training program to review it and make any necessary changes. Metrics and employee feedback should highlight any problem areas or skills gaps, and you can address these issues as you develop your training program.
Even effective training programs should be regularly reviewed and updated as needed. Employees’ and organizations’ needs evolve and your training program should be refreshed to accommodate this. This is especially true for technical skills relating to new workplace technologies.
Training should be ongoing
Successful training programs are a marathon, not a sprint. Delivering a one-day seminar and drawing a line under your training program for the year won’t achieve much. Instead, a training program needs to be ongoing and in-person events should be planned well in advance to encourage maximum attendance.
Offering a range of training opportunities throughout the year ensures your employees’ technical knowledge stays up to date and helps structure their professional development. It also helps the organization to optimize its training budget.
FAQs About Employee Training
Do employees want training?
Yes, employees want professional training and development opportunities to progress in the workplace. In a recent study by the University of Phoenix, 49% of employees said they want to develop their skills but are unsure how to and 52% said they need to learn new skills in the next 12 months.
Who is responsible for employee training?
Employee training is a team effort requiring cooperation between various departments within an organization, as well as the individual employee. However, HR is typically responsible for the development and supervision of an employee training program. Larger organizations may have a dedicated Learning and Development team within their HR department.
Can employers make employees pay for training?
While the relevant laws vary, employers typically have to cover the cost of training for employees, especially where it directly relates to their role, attendance is mandatory and it’s offered during work hours.
What is the most common type of employee training?
Onboarding is one of the most common types of employee training. Every new employee needs to be onboarded, making it an important part of an organization’s employee training program.
A Successful Training Program Benefits Both Employees and Employers
If you don’t already have one, developing an employee training program should be at the top of your priority list. Effective training can boost your bottom line, improve your recruitment and retention rate, and help your organization adapt to any technological advancements in the workplace.
Now that you know your employees are hungry for training and development opportunities, follow our above tips to build a successful training program!