No one doubts that employee training is important for both employee and the company. For employees, job satisfaction ranks high. A well-trained employee remains proficient and productive at work and thus, happier in the long run.
For the company, more productive employees mean a better bottom line.
Unfortunately, employees often dread training programs. They expect long and boring training sessions. And many people feel a general aversion to anything that reminds them of dreary college lectures.
Even so, you need an effective employee training program if you wish to get the best performance out of your employees for years to come.
Why Employee Training is Important
Research proves the immediate and long-term positive returns of training. The immediate benefits include better learning ability. But you also see skill development and favorable behavior towards work.
Then, over a period of six to twelve months, training continues to have fairly strong effects on the trainee’s job performance. Business benefits including boosted profitability and decreased staff turnover.
However, effective employee training doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. While there is no magic formula for creating the perfect employee training programs, there are a few things that are repeatedly observed in companies with the most effective training programs.
Consider first things first. Make sure the training coordinator recognizes the needs of the business. They must take the time to understand the past. They need to have their finger on the pulse of the present. And they must anticipate the future direction of the business.
Begin by carrying out a needs assessment. Do some some good old fashioned research. Interview employees. Or take a poll or internal survey. Because at the heart of any successful training program is the correct classification of who needs to be trained, and on what skills or topics.
The gap between current performance and the required performance is known as a “training need”. This gap is recognized with a training needs analysis. For instance, if you learn that you have many disgruntled customers, there might be a need for customer service training for your support team.
Determining Training Objectives
Next, it is extremely important for the person in charge to determine the various objectives to be attained from an employee training program. In simple terms, these objectives are the desired upshots of the training sessions.
Essentially, the purpose of a training program is to address knowledge, skill, abilities (KSAs) — the attributes required to perform a job efficiently.
Besides, needs assessment goes beyond assessing the needs of the business or employees alone. It’s about following a methodical process to ascertain not just who needs to be trained (that is, who needs KSA strengthening), what they need training on, but also how the training program will be aligned with strategic objectives.
Based on the training needs assessment, define and communicate the purpose, objectives, and outcome of the training program to the employees in a clear and intelligible way. Because when you make it clear as to how the training will be useful and what the expected outcomes are, motivation to learn increases.
Trainers must actively demonstrate the specific skills and tactics covered in the training. Conducting real-time, hands-on demonstrations presents trainees with an exemplar of the desired behavior they can emulate. It leads to better learning, regardless of the topic at hand.
For instance, if the training is on improving communication, the instructor might exhibit active listening skills through a role-play with an enthusiastic participant. For a coding class, the trainer might demonstrate dexterity by solving actual coding problems from the company’s past projects.
Possibilities for Practice
The best training programs provide various opportunities for trainees to put into practice the skills they’ve learned in their sessions.
By simulating real-life problems the company solves into hypothetical problems, you enable trainees to apply their new skills in a safe place where they can get creative, make mistakes, and not worry about consequences.
Periodic Feedback During Training
Trainers must also give regular feedback to their trainees while they are testing out their new skills. It should be given systematically, not just a verbal pat on the back. Above all, the feedback must always be constructive in nature.
Bad feedback might sound something like “How can you make such a silly mistake?”. On the other hand, good feedback would be “I see you missed using the binary search algorithm. Let me show you how…”
Needless to say, it should also be directly related to how the employee faired in the assigned tasks and never be directed toward personal traits.
Countless companies spend thousands of dollars a year training employees. They only realize later how they’re not applying what they learned in the training sessions. Give them the opportunity to retain what they learned. Otherwise employees forget. They fail to retain almost everything they learned in just a couple of weeks.
And so, post-training reinforcement becomes vital. It helps ensure training gets utilized on the job. Think of training reinforcement as a series of small lessons. Make them evaluations in the form of quizzes. Or create learning activities that support a core concept or skill. Also, use employee training digital adoption platforms. Then measure the effectiveness of your training program. Use advanced analytics for this.
Continue to reinforce what was learned earlier. Because employees need to retain more. But they also must apply these lessons to their daily work.
Employee training programs must incorporate all these characteristics. Then they consistently reap the benefits of better employee productivity and overall organizational performance.