Training for employees is a crucial part of any workforce. However, in order to do it right, you need to have clear objectives. Moreover, you’ll want to know the best techniques to maximise your training program’s benefit.
What are the key objectives for employee training?
Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons you should put an emphasis on employee training.
One of the biggest reasons most companies invest in training is to improve productivity. It’s hard to argue with the theory that better-trained staff are able to perform better. Of course, it takes a lot more than training to create a happy and productive workplace, but it’s a great place to start.
By giving employees the skills they need to feel confident in their jobs, you improve the productivity of the whole workforce.
Create an agile workforce
Training should also be conducted to keep your workforce agile. This means having employees who are able to perform a range of different tasks. For example, if there is a certain focus for your business in different parts of the year, you can deploy resources accordingly. Without having staff who are trained in different roles, this isn’t possible.
There are also other benefits to an agile workforce, such as being able to temporarily fill positions internally in the event of illness or maternity/paternity leave. Training delivers an agile workforce that ultimately reduces operating costs and gives you more flexibility.
Increase staff capability
It’s no secret that staff capability is high on the list for most managers. They want capable staff who are able to handle their regular workload, as well as take on different tasks when required. High-quality training gives people the skills they need to perform their jobs to a high standard. From a manager’s point of view, it makes performance management a lot easier.
Expectations are clear when managers know their staff have been trained to perform certain tasks. If performance is falling, you can essentially rule out a lack of training as the cause. So, for managers, they can explore other reasons for a drop in performance and work closely with employees to solve the issue.
Improve employee retention
Happy people are less likely to be out hunting for a new job. It’s been proven time and time again that a great learning and development program is a big part of employee engagement. When people are given training that helps them in their current role, but also upskills them for future opportunities, they feel respected. As a result, they feel more loyal and want to stay with the company that looks after them. You can further boost the morale of your employees by having a business wellness program.
This also helps in attracting new talent. If you become known as an employer that provides great training, you have a better chance of attracting the best talent to work for you.
Training isn’t just about practical skills. Of course, plenty of corporate training focuses on specific skills, such as Microsoft Office training. Similarly, a lot of business training courses are centred on personal or professional development skills such as leadership, time management and conflict resolution.
All of these are valuable skills, but staff should also be trained in other issues such as harassment, customer complaints, workplace safety, diversity and much more. Ensuring staff are trained in these aspects of the workplace decreases the risk of lawsuits, compensation claims and injuries.
Techniques for great employee training
Once you understand all of the key objectives for employee training, it’s time to implement a program. This is easier said than done, and these tips and techniques will help make your training program meaningful and rewarding for both the company and employees.
Make it relevant
When planning and developing training for employees, perhaps the most important consideration is relevance. People find it difficult to engage with training courses that they perceive as irrelevant to their role. Naturally, without genuine engagement, the point of training is somewhat lost.
To encourage active participation in training, try to stay away from blanket mandatory training courses unless they are topics that everybody needs to know. This could be safety, diversity, mental health first aid and similar courses. Try to personalise the training you offer, and ensure that people from different departments have access to courses that are relevant to their careers.
There are so many options for training types these days. Classroom training, self-paced e-learning, facilitated virtual classrooms are all possible choices. Now, more than ever, with the rise of remote working and hybrid workplaces, training needs to be accessible for everybody.
If you’ve got staff working from home, ensure you offer plenty of virtual classrooms or online courses that they can access easily. For those in the office, try to offer hands-on facilitated training where appropriate.
It’s all about finding what works for your people, but the main thing is that all employees are given the same opportunities to learn.
Align training opportunities with career advancement
We’ve already discussed training relevance, and this flows on from that. During monthly one-on-one meetings with staff, you should be gaining an insight into where individuals want their careers to go. In many cases, training may be required to build the skills needed to advance their careers. So, rather than just sending people on mandatory courses for no reason, give people the chance to be involved in their training choices.
If your employees express an interest in learning particular skills, you should try to accommodate those requests. When training is aligned with career advancement and the employee sees more benefit, they will be more engaged in the process.
Provide a good variety of training
Many companies fall into the trap of repeating the same kinds of training over and over, often selling it as a ‘refresher’. Refresher training is sometimes relevant, but it shouldn’t be the bulk of your learning and development program. The fact is, there are so many training options out there, but you may need to work with a quality training provider to find them.
People don’t want the same annual refresher programs, and they rarely engage with them. Offering a range of different skills and capabilities people can learn helps to reinvigorate the whole L&D program.
Ensure content is engaging
When developing training packages, you need to pay special attention to the content. It needs to capture the participants’ attention to keep them engaged. We’ve all been to training where somebody reads at you from a manual, and it’s no fun at all. You also don’t learn much, because you’re not interested.
The best course content includes interactive components that get the participants involved. Try to incorporate polls, quizzes, even games if that’s what it takes to capture your audience’s attention.
Give employees the space for training
If you want to maximise the benefits of training for your employees, ensure you give them space to attend comfortably. This involves more than just blocking out some time on their calendar. You need to also ensure their work doesn’t pile up around them while they train. This just causes extra stress for your employers.
You don’t want employees drifting off during training because they’re worried about other things they need to do. If you want well-trained staff, truly support them to attend.
Communicate the importance of training
Finally, one thing that many people miss when organising training programs is communication. An email to all staff saying they must attend training doesn’t really cut it. To really engage your participants, you need to let them know why the training is important. This might be outlining how it benefits the business or how it benefits the employees. Once they understand the importance, they’re more likely to buy-in.
These techniques should all help you realise all of the benefits that employee training has to offer.