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Employee Training and Development: A Definitive Guide

Employee Training

Employee training and development is a significant activity in corporate settings.

From employees’ perspective, it’s a means to acquire new job-related knowledge and skills, deliver better performance, improve productivity, and advance their careers.

Similarly, looking from employers’ standpoint, it’s a proven way to retain and manage talent, improve business ROI, and achieve growth and profitability in the long run.

On the flip side, according to the latest employee training statistics:

  • 59% of employees say they received no formal training for their current positions
  • 74% of employees consider lack of training opportunities as the main reason they’re not unlocking their full potential

Companies lose about $500 billion annually due to the absence of employee engagement methods like training. (Gallup report)

From this, it’s clear that employee training plays a major role in ensuring employee engagement, performance, retention, and business growth. Only systematic training can keep your workforce satisfied and invested in your company.

Why Should You Keep Reading?

Perhaps you already have a rough idea of employee training. But to make the most of such programs, you first need to know them inside out or the nuances.

This post discusses all that you should know about the topic so that you can plan and implement impactful employee training programs.

Continue reading to get to the substance of this article.

What Is Employee Training and Development?

Employee training and development is a planned and systematic process of developing general as well as role-based knowledge and skills in employees.

Such training programs are tied to:

  • improved employee performance
  • better decision-making
  • achievement of business objectives
  • adherence to industry standards

Employers use various methods of training employees, including classroom training, eLearning, role-plays, webinars, group discussions, and more.

Point to remember: To achieve positive results, employee training and development programs should be:

  • engaging
  • flexible
  • measurable
  • Consistent

Watch: What Is Employee Training? 

Examples of Training and Development Programs for Employees

There are various examples of training plans for employees. These include onboarding, soft skills training, technical training, and safety & compliance training. Almost all companies deploy these programs regardless of their size and industry.

Let’s look at each of them in detail:

  • Onboarding Training

It starts with orientation and covers other activities, such as HR paperwork, training on company policies and culture, facility tours, introduction to team members, and role-based training.

The primary aim of onboarding is to integrate new hires into a company physically and emotionally. It should be thorough and engaging to get the desired results.

A learning management system or LMS can help you automate onboarding and bring your new hires up to speed faster.

Watch: How to Create an Employee Onboarding Training Program

  • Basic Skills Training

Basic skills are something that all employees are expected to possess regardless of their educational background and positions. It includes training in custom software, interpersonal skills, analytical skills, productivity, and high-performance habits.

Basic Skills Training

  • Technical Training

It involves training on all the technical aspects of a job. These skills are often job-specific and necessary to perform a task correctly and competently.

Examples include:

➤ In sales: CRM or customer relationship management (CRM) system training

➤ In hospitality: Training on how to process orders

➤ In retail: How to use a point-of-sale system or inventory system

Technical Training

Want to Simplify Technical Training?  

  • Soft Skills Training

This training encompasses personality development, communication skills, social skills, and emotional intelligence.

Interpersonal skills training programs like this help mold employees to work harmoniously with others in a professional environment.

Soft Skills Training

  • Product & Service Training

Product & service training is recommended for both new and existing employees.

Product knowledge is important, particularly for salespersons, as it plays a major role in closing sales. This training is equally significant for the rest of the employees whose daily tasks revolve around a company’s product and service.

  • Safety & Compliance Training

Training programs for employees like OSHA, HIPAA, sexual harassment training,  and diversity training come under this category. Federal and state laws require these training programs, and they may vary from one state to another.

Companies can ensure their employees’ safety, well-being, and unhampered productivity through these programs. This type of training is conducted periodically.

Safety & Compliance Training

     Looking for the Best Compliance & Safety Training? 

Before we move to the next topic, let’s see a real example of compliance training in action.

Who: AppFolio

What Does It Do: Provides cloud-based property management software solutions.

Problem It Encountered: AppFolio needed to create a compliance company training program. It was looking for a solution that would give it freedom and capability of creating training material to fit its unique tech start-up culture.

Solution It Adopted: The company started using an employee training and development LMS. It  created a training program to comply with its industry’s requirements and educate its employees on the obligations.

It wanted to make sure that the training material fit the company’s culture and didn’t want to utilize any program with dry material. AppFolio found that the LMS offered the flexibility and freedom to create training in any way.

Results It Achieved: AppFolio made the training experience fun and unique for its company. With aesthetic designs and the freedom to create custom training material, the LMS enabled the company to create an approachable and effective training program.

Read more about Appfolio’s success story here.

Now that you understand the meaning of employee training and development, let’s discover  the importance of training employees.

Why Is Employee Training Important?

Your employees are your most valuable asset. Unfortunately, many employers don’t invest in their employees’ ongoing learning. By doing so, they are making a costly mistake.

Don’t be one of them. Instead, find out some of the top reasons why employee training is crucial.

  • Helps Employees Feel Valued & Boosts Morale

Some businesses delay employee training either because of other priorities or because it doesn’t bring an immediate benefit to their workforce.

Employers need to understand that training improves the overall workplace experience of employees. 

And it takes time to see quantifiable results.

Training also shows an organization’s commitment to its employees’ future through continuous learning.

All of this helps increase employee skills, boosts their morale, makes them feel more valued, and ensures retention, which is good for your organization.

  • Increases Employee Agility and Fosters Curiosity

Agility gives a sense of achievement, and it’s becoming a key factor for business success. If your employees are not given the right training and it’s stalling their progress, then it affects their workplace agility.

When employees get stuck in their duties, productivity comes to a halt, and it can escalate into larger problems.

Employee training can teach your workforce how to resolve problems quickly and efficiently, thereby encouraging them to become more innovative.

The need for innovation goes along with a sense of curiosity.

Workforce training can bring a positive change. Before long, you’ll be developing leaders who stand out in the crowd.

  • Helps Grow Your Customer Base

“The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers.” – Richard Branson

Proper training is the best way to keep your employees motivated. This will ultimately translate into better customer care and customer satisfaction.

When your existing customers are happy through exemplary customer service, the news can reach potential customers by word of mouth.

This eventually paves the way for growing your customer base and generating more revenues.

Helps Grow Your Customer Base
Want to Provide Delightful Customer Experiences?

  • Enhances Company Reputation

Employees are the backbone of an organization. Your success depends on them.

Having a training strategy in place can help improve employee productivity and develop your brand.

Training also makes a company more attractive to potential recruits. Such training can be of any kind relevant to their area of work and you can deliver these through several effective methods.

  • Your Employees Will Thank You for It

There are two main reasons employees quit: 

  1. They fall out with their manager 

  2. They aren’t learning anything useful

If employees are properly trained, it helps maintain healthy relationships in the workplace and enables them to work better. They’ll also be grateful to you for the opportunity to learn something and they are more likely to stay loyal to you.

Here, online employee training software can make your job a lot easier. Most of the popular software solutions on the market today are robust, accelerating how you set your employees up for success.

Benefits of Employee Training and Development

Employee learning and development increase job satisfaction and boost employee morale. They help maintain the desired level of knowledge and skills. They also increase the scope for internal promotions and give your organization the necessary competitive edge.

There are countless other benefits of staff training, including many not-so-obvious ones. 

Let’s find out.

  • Bridging Knowledge Gaps

This is perhaps one of the greatest benefits of training employees.

No matter the position and role of an employee in an organization, there’s always something new to learn from time to time.

You can first identify the mismatch between the required skills with a training needs assessment and the skills your employees actually possess. After that, you can close the skills gap through systematic training.

This will enable your employees to adapt to new professional requirements easily.

  • Improved Performance

When employees receive the right training at the right time, it paves the way for improved performance. That’s because training empowers them with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their jobs proficiently and effectively.

Such professionally trained employees, in turn, bring measurable business results.

  • Reduction in Employee Bounce Rate

It’s estimated that turnover among the millennial workforce costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually

No surprise then that this class of workers has earned the nickname “the job-hopping generation”.

This problem underscores the importance of taking effective measures to counter employee attrition. One of them is investing in employee training.

This is because employees tend to feel valued when employers invest in their learning and development.

In addition to sharpening employees’ skills and preparing them for their job roles, such training programs prevent employees from switching jobs.

Training lets you get a grip on employees and retain them easily.

  • Greater Creativity & Innovation

Brainstorming sessions, knowledge sharing, co-learning, and other collaborative activities conducted during a training session spark creativity and innovation in employees. This helps them become more proactive, especially when they encounter job challenges. They can apply ideas in new ways to overcome those problems.

This is again one of the significant benefits of training employees.

Well-trained employees are more agile by nature. They can readily respond to and handle different workplace situations. Their approach to work becomes more refined than their untrained counterparts.

This, in turn, results in greater performance and productivity.

Watch: How to build  a culture of Innovation | Training Course Introduction

       Need to Develop an Innovative Bent of Mind?

  • Engagement in the Workplace

Training increases workplace engagement by keeping employees busy learning something new and exciting.

Restricting employees to routine tasks can breed monotony over time. They easily become jaded in such situations.

During such times, learning & development opportunities can be the best antidote, a welcome break, as they bring a change in vibes. It shifts their focus to rewarding activities that promote their professional development and career growth.

  • Satisfaction and Morale Boost

One of the reasons employees leave an organization is the lack of growth opportunities through continuous learning. No employee likes to remain stagnant in their profession. They expect to move up the ladder with time and be happy about it.

Training can make that possible. It can help them realize their real worth and enhance their capacity to contribute to an organization. As a business owner or trainer, you should offer them those opportunities.

When employees realize that they are doing their best and are appreciated for that, their satisfaction level soars dramatically. This gives them the much-needed morale boost to sustain themselves in your service.

  • Brand Growth

A company that makes ongoing employee training one of its business strategies never stops growing. Such an organization always sets staff training and development as its priority as it’s the surest way to outdo its competition.

Corporate training can enhance employee skills and performance and make them feel delighted. Over time, it can transform the employees into your brand ambassadors.

This has a positive impact on your company profile and reputation. As business networks and customer base grow, so does your brand.

  • Increased Bottom Line

Regular training of employees can help improve their performance, ensure job satisfaction, and reduce turnover. It eliminates the need for hiring and training new employees again and again, which saves business time and cost.

A well-trained workforce also delivers on what is expected and keeps customers happy. 

What does this mean for your business?

Increased ROI and a sound financial standing.

Interesting Read: 9 Experts Explain Why eLearning Success Depends on Microlearning

How to Develop a Successful Employee Training and Development Program

Employee training cannot and should not be a shot in the dark.

Whether you’re training your employees on soft skills or delivering compulsory compliance training, it should achieve certain objectives. For that, you need to create and deploy high-impact training.

You should follow the best practices and strategies to make it worthwhile and make the right impact.

This will make the whole process meaningful and sustainable.

So, let’s see how you can do it. Check out the following employee training ideas:

Step 1: Start With the End in Mind

To begin with, you should know where you want to take your training program and why. 

Do you want to develop leadership skills in your workforce? 

Or do you want to impart more technical and role-specific training on handling modern tools?

Either way, a clear understanding of the outcomes should be your guiding principle. More specifically, it should be based on SMART goals.

When you know what you want to achieve, you’ll find it easier to take the right path and avoid those that won’t lead to your goal.

Watch: How to Set SMART Goals | Training Course Introduction

Step 2: Analyze Skill Gaps in Employees

There’s always something an employee can learn in the workplace to improve their professional knowledge and skills. To make training relevant and effective, you should identify their current skills and compare them with the skills that a modern workplace demands.

This will reveal the gaps, if any, in your employees.

There are several proven techniques to conduct an effective skills gap analysis that you can use. Make sure you employ them.

Step 3: Choose the Best Tool

Once you know your learning & development goals based on the skills gaps in your employees, it’s time to select the best training tool.

There are many employee training platforms on the market with different sets of features. Cherry-picking in this situation becomes challenging when almost all of them sound compelling.

The best bet in such a situation is to look for a solution that’s easy to understand and use. That should be the first criterion. This is because no matter how feature-packed a tool is, if it entails a steep learning curve and persuades you to frequently seek the help of customer support, it’s not worth it.

Another way to find out whether a tool is suitable for corporate training is to read genuine customer reviews and ratings on neutral third-party software review sites.

Watch: How to Choose the Best SaaS LMS Software

Related Post: 15 Best Online Training Software

Step 4: Choose the Right Courses

Along with the tool, online courses make another essential element for employee training.

The courses you choose should be professionally designed and credible. They should cover comprehensive topics and present information in engaging formats. Also, they should be of the right length, not too short, not too long.

In other words, credibility, suitability, and engagement level should be the deciding factors.

Another feature to consider in these courses is that it should be easily customizable to add content from your end or modify the existing one to suit your specific needs.

Step 5: Implement the Program

The next step is to implement the training program and bring your plan to life. A tool such as ProProfs LMS lets you share course links via email, embed them on your website, or make courses available on social media.

Similarly, the tool lets you assign courses to learners in bulk through its virtual classroom. As soon as you assign a course to a group, all the learners in that group will be invited to take the course.

Once the course assignment is taken care of, you can start tracking progress in real-time. You can view course participation, pending and completed courses, engagement levels, scores, and more.

Want to find out how to administer training to a large group? This video guide will help you: 

Watch: How to Administer Training to Large Groups

Step 6: Evaluate Training Outcome

Training evaluation is necessary to determine whether the training has achieved its objectives. One way is to collect feedback from participants using online surveys to know how effective they think the course or instructor was and if there’s anything they want to see improved.

Beautifully designed feedback surveys can be a useful tool at this time to get input from your stakeholders. You can use different types of templates and questions for this purpose.

Evaluate Training Outcome

 

You can also use the 4-level Kirkpatrick Model to evaluate the effectiveness of your online training programs. It’s the most widely used training evaluation method.

Kirkpatrick Model

(Source: ResearchGate)

Yet another effective training evaluation method is the built-in reporting & analytics feature in most cloud LMSs.

For example, ProProfs LMS provides real-time granular reports and data visualizations on:

  • who took your course and when
  • participation rate
  • course progress
  • completion
  • engagement & satisfaction

From this information, you can assess your learners’ understanding, gaps, and challenges with your course content and delivery methods.

These reports also show results of in-course quizzes and surveys through scores, points, or ratings.

Watch: How to Analyze Training Course & Quiz Results

Read More: How to Develop an Employee Training Program

Now that you know how to develop a training program for employees find out the proven methods you can use to deliver it.

5 Best Employee Training Methods You Can Use

After learning why employee training matters, you should know how to train employees. There are five popular methods to train employees. Most companies use them as a standalone solution or in a blended form.

  • ILT Classroom Training

Instructor-led training (ILT) is where an instructor takes the lead. It’s the most widely used method of imparting training. Live discussions and question & answer sessions are the highlights of this training method. Such face-to-face interactions give a personal touch to training.

  • Computer-Based Training

On the other side of the coin is computer-based training (CBT), also known as eLearning, online training, or web-based training.

This training uses electronic devices such as PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, as well as an internet connection. One advantage of this training is that learners can access training courses and tests anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

Generally, companies rely on online training courses to deliver this type of training. For example, ProProfs provides a library of 100+ ready-to-use courses that you can share with your learners as-is or with modifications.

Online employee training systems such as an LMS can make your job a lot easier. Most of the popular software solutions on the market today are robust and can help you streamline workplace training.

Watch: What is a Cloud-Based Learning Management System?

  • Coaching & Mentoring

Done either in person or online, coaching and mentoring provide a one-on-one learning experience to employees. It usually takes place between a new employee and an experienced senior during onboarding. 

Trainees find this method more personalized and comfortable than the one that takes place in a physical classroom setting.

  • Social Learning

This is simply learning from others in a social environment. Activities such as group discussions, Q&A sessions, role-plays, and team-based brain games are examples of this kind of learning.

Multiple individuals are involved in the learning process characterized by observation, imitation, and knowledge sharing.

Watch: How to Enable Collaboration & Discussions in Your Course

  • Interactive Training

Employee training manuals alone don’t cut it. You need to explore additional ways employees can learn actively.

There are several elements that make training interactive. These can include team-based learning activities, images, audio files, video instructions, quizzes, simulations, gamification, and so on. They make learning fun and engaging, thereby increasing the chances of success.

Here’s a quick look at How to Add Text, Images, Audio, Video, Docs, & Presentations to a Course

6 Characteristics of Top-Rated Employee Training Programs

Employee development programs differ from one organization to another. That said, every successful employee training program has the following characteristics:

  • Company-Wide Needs Assessment

Ideally, a thorough needs analysis precedes all quality training programs. You need to conduct research across your company to determine whether you need training and, if yes, what type of training.

Such exercises are generally conducted to assess the current performance of employees and expected performance. For example, unhappy customers clearly indicate that your customer support team needs some customer service skills.

Company-Wide Needs Assessment

Want to Develop Customer Service Core Skills? 

  • Alignment With Business Objectives

Along with employee development, every corporate training program has another higher purpose – meeting business objectives.

Whether it’s maintaining a healthy cash flow or achieving sustainable growth, a company always strives for specific objectives. So, it’s obvious to see businesses aligning workforce training with larger corporate objectives.

Here are some common business objectives and training goals that you must align with them:

Business Objective Training Goals
Enhance speed and quality of production To make employees more skillful in process knowledge, efficiency, and quality standards
Brand building To train employees in such a way that they can grow with the company and also, to reduce attrition.

Long-term growth To provide delightful customer experiences wherever possible by training sales and support staff to be more knowledgeable and helpful. Also, to upskill design teams so that you can deliver high-quality products and services.
Compete better To train employees to innovate and learn to work with emerging technologies.

Such alignment is another mark of a first-rate employee training and development program.

  • Measurable Goals

For any employee development program to be meaningful, it must be measurable. You should be able to quantify what’s achieved and what remains at the end of each program.

Standard training plans rely on certain business metrics, such as key performance indicators (KPIs), against which you measure your organizational goals. This enables employers to know the overall effectiveness of training.

  • Relevant & Updated Content

Companies unanimously agree that using relevant, accurate, and updated content is one of the best ways to make the most of employee training. They should reflect the latest industry trends to ensure your employees pick up the contemporary skills that modern workplaces demand.

This will also make learning more engaging and easily applicable to daily tasks.

Virtual classroom software makes it easy to add learners, assign courses to them and update the content regularly as well.

  • Support From Senior Management

Yet another hallmark of good employee training is it enjoys buy-in from senior management. It receives much-needed support from the leadership from day one.

This is significant as it motivates employees to participate actively in any training program that the company offers. It also drives home the message that the company prioritizes workplace learning & development.

  • Reinforcement Post-Training

Post-training reinforcement is an integral part of any successful employee training program. It ensures that employees actually apply to their work what they learned during training. Otherwise, it would amount to conducting training just for the sake of it.

Without this phase, employees would soon forget the training. To avoid this, you can use information retention techniques to help your employees recall and retain training lessons.

10 Best Practices for Exceptional Employee Training Development

There are several best practices you can implement to ensure better training delivery. So, before we wrap up, here’s a quick look at the top 10 strategies you can use to create impactful training content.

Employee Training Development

(Source: elearninginfographics.com)

Take Employee Training and Development to the Next Level!

With the right tools, courses, resources, and strategies, you can expect significant returns from your employee training initiatives.

Such training can empower you to achieve business goals and prepare for the competition with well-groomed employees.

The idea is to build a winning team that smartly aligns its activities with your business goals.

In case you need employee training software and relevant courses on onboarding, skills, safety, compliance, HR, and sales, help is just around the corner.

Adopt a SaaS LMS that provides complete online training solutions to enterprises of all sizes and industries. You can use these platforms as well as the ready-to-use courses that most of them provide on in-demand training topics for employees.

Along with it, you can leverage its related software solutions such as quiz-making tools, collaboration tools, survey tools, and many more.

Simplify, streamline, and accelerate employee training like never before.

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About the author

Michael has more than 10 years of experience in the enterprise software and eLearning industry. He is passionate about online training and exhibits a deep understanding of how organizations can leverage it for success. In his free time, he enjoys power walking, zumba, and reading.