In today’s competitive job market, the quest to attract and retain top talent is relentless. Investing in your employees’ development is not just a choice; it’s a strategic imperative.
Top-tier talent actively seeks employers who provide skill development and growth opportunities. The future of work relies heavily on a skilled workforce. Organizations must react by offering a variety of employee training programs.
That leads us to a thought-provoking question: Is it your obligation as an employer to prepare your workers for the jobs of the future, even if it might not have an immediate, direct benefit to your company? In our view, the answer is a resounding yes.
Offering extensive training not only attracts top talent but also keeps your workforce engaged and adaptable.
It’s increasingly clear that employees expect their employer to offer training and development opportunities. These opportunities not only benefit individual career growth but also contribute to the overall success of the organization by enhancing the employee experience.
The current state of the workforce is moving towards digital training solutions. At the same time, it’s essential to recognize that there are several other distinct and equally important types of employee training.
Let’s explore each different type of employee training in more detail.
Types of Employee Training
We’ve categorized employee training into three main groups, each serving a unique purpose in enhancing employee skills, knowledge, and overall development:
- Foundational Training
- Skills Development
- Personalized Growth
So, what is the most common type of employee training for today’s workforce?
Truth is, many of the skills in the digital workplace are the same as a traditional work environment. Whether working from home, the office, on the front line, or a mix of everything, continuously investing in your staff’s development will keep them engaged, happy, and productive.
Foundational training focuses on building essential knowledge and ensuring compliance with company policies and industry regulations. This type of training is often the starting point for staff members to understand their roles within the organization.
Orientation training familiarizes new employees with the company’s culture, values, mission, and basic operational procedures. It helps them acclimate to the organization’s environment.
This type of training can even be started before the employee’s first day. During the pre-boarding phase of the employee journey, new recruits can digitally access training documentation and workplace handbooks.
Onboarding is a comprehensive process that includes orientation but goes even further. It gives news employees the necessary tools and resources to perform their jobs effectively and get up to speed as quickly as possible.
Onboarding training typically covers HR paperwork, introductions to team members, and initial job training.
Compliance training ensures that employees adhere to legal and ethical standards relevant to their roles and industries. It’s essential for organizations to mitigate legal risks and maintain a strong ethical reputation.
Certain roles have stricter regulations when it comes to compliance. Drivers, for instance, are subject to extensive compliance training to ensure they follow safety protocols, maintain proper vehicle documentation, and adhere to regulations governing hours of service.
Compliance training is vital for the safety of both the employees and the general public.
Skills development focuses on honing specific job-related capabilities, both technical and soft skills, that are essential for employees to excel in their roles.
Technical Skills Development
Technical skills development involves training employees in job-specific technical skills, such as software proficiency, machine operation, or coding. This training ensures that employees have the skills required to perform their tasks efficiently and following industry or company protocol.
Soft Skills Development
Soft skills – things like communication, teamwork, leadership, conflict resolution, and problem-solving skills – are crucial for success in any job. Soft skills development training helps employees improve their interpersonal and behavioral skills.
Products and Services Training
Employees, like sales teams, often need to have in-depth knowledge of the products or services their company offers. This training equips them with the necessary product knowledge to effectively help customers and answer any questions related to their offering.
Quality training emphasizes the importance of delivering high-quality work. It can include training on quality control processes, error reduction, and customer satisfaction.
Safety training is critical for industries with potential workplace hazards. It informs employees on workplace safety protocols, emergency procedures, and how to maintain a safe and secure work environment.
Team training promotes collaboration and effective teamwork. It helps team members understand their roles within a group setting, communicate efficiently, and work together as one.
Personalized growth training focuses on individual development and leadership skills, empowering employees to take on more significant roles within the organization.
Leadership training prepares employees to become future leaders within the organization. It covers skills such as decision-making, conflict resolution, and team management, helping guide suitable individuals into a leadership role.
Diversity training promotes inclusivity and helps employees understand and appreciate diverse perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds. It creates a more inclusive and welcoming work environment.
How to Deliver Employee Training
Now that we’ve covered the different types of training, let’s explore how your organization can deliver the most effective training programs.
When it comes to the world of L&D and skills development programs, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Choosing the right delivery method is essential for the most effective learning outcomes.
We’ll list out each delivery method, weigh their pros and cons, and help you choose the best techniques for your business.
Classroom or Instructor-Led Training
What is it? Classroom or instructor-led training involves in-person, face-to-face learning sessions where an instructor presents information and facilitates discussions with participants.
- Face-to-face interaction promotes engagement.
- Immediate feedback from trainers.
- Structured learning environment.
- Costly in terms of logistics and time (i.e., space rental, travel arrangements, hotels).
- Limited flexibility for remote or dispersed teams.
- May not be suitable for all learning styles.
Classroom training is great for complex topics that benefit from hands-on instruction. It can also be combined with other methods for a well-rounded approach that connects with all types of learners.
E-Learning or Online Training
What is it? E-Learning or online training involves delivering educational content via digital platforms, allowing learners to access materials remotely whenever they want.
- Flexibility in scheduling and location.
- Cost-effective for large teams.
- Access to a wide range of multimedia resources.
- Self-discipline required.
- Limited human interaction.
- May not be suitable for every topic where hands-on training is required (i.e., for CPR training).
Online training is most effective when delivered through a Learning Management System (LMS). A comprehensive employee platform can be used to create engaging and interactive content.
What is it? On-the-job training (OJT) involves learning while performing work-related tasks, often under the guidance of experienced colleagues or supervisors, called shadowing.
- Learning by doing, which can be highly effective.
- Real-world application of knowledge.
- Immediate relevance to job tasks.
- Lack of formal structure.
- Training quality depends on mentors.
- Often mentors or guides can be too busy to fully commit to comprehensive training.
It’s best to pair new hires with experienced employees, but also ones who have a training background. It’s also important to make sure mentors are well-prepared for their roles and up for the task.
Interactive Workshops and Seminars
What is it? Interactive workshops and seminars are group learning sessions where participants actively engage in discussions, activities, team-building exercises, and problem-solving.
- Encourages active participation.
- Facilitates group learning and discussions.
- Immediate application of knowledge.
- May require additional resources.
- Limited scalability.
- Effective facilitation is crucial.
Plan interactive sessions with clear objectives and involve participants in discussions, case studies, and group activities. Follow up with participants after the sessions to recap the content and share insights developed together.
Simulation and Gamification
What is it? Simulation and gamification involve creating realistic scenarios, role playing, or games to teach and assess specific skills and knowledge.
- Immersive and engaging.
- Safe environment for making mistakes.
- Promotes healthy competition and motivation.
- Development and implementation costs.
- Not suitable for all types of content.
- Overuse may lead to disengagement.
Simulations and gamification are great methods for skills that require practice, decision-making, and risk-taking.
Mentoring and Coaching
What is it? Mentoring and coaching involve pairing employees with more experienced colleagues who provide guidance, support, and professional development. This is also a type of On the Job training, however, mentoring and coaching should have a structured development plan with regular follow-ups and performance reviews.
- Tailored, one-on-one guidance.
- Transfer of wisdom and experience.
- Builds strong relationships within the organization.
- Time-intensive for mentors and mentees.
- Potential knowledge gaps.
- May not be suitable for all employees.
For the greatest success, you should implement a mentorship program with clear goals and regular check-ins. It’s equally important to ensure mentors are trained in effective coaching techniques.
What is it? Cross-training involves training employees to perform tasks or roles outside their primary job responsibilities.
- Expands employee skills and versatility.
- Encourages collaboration and team-building.
- Enhances workforce flexibility.
- May disrupt daily operations.
- Requires planning and coordination.
- Not suitable for specialized roles.
Many employees love their company but are looking for a fresh start. Lateral movement could be just what they need to re-energize. Talk with your staff and identify employees with complementary skills and encourage cross-training opportunities.
What is it? Peer learning is a collaborative approach where employees share knowledge and skills with their colleagues within the organization.
- Knowledge sharing within the team.
- Encourages collaboration and problem-solving.
- Cost-effective and easily scalable.
- Limited accountability.
- Risk of spreading incorrect information.
- May not suit all topics.
Knowledge is power. Create a culture of sharing and provide a platform for peer learning, like through an employee platform.
Continuous Learning and Development
What is it? Continuous learning and development is about establishing a culture where employees are encouraged and supported in their ongoing growth and skill enhancement.
- Cultivates a learning culture.
- Adapts to changing business needs.
- Supports career growth and retention.
- Requires ongoing commitment.
- May necessitate regular updates to training materials.
- Requires tracking and measurement.
You can integrate continuous learning into your organization’s DNA, and invest in tools and resources to support each individual throughout the employee journey.
Best Practices for Employee Training
Let’s briefly touch on some tips for optimizing your employee training and L&D program.
1. Diverse Training Delivery Methods
Help accommodate a range of learning styles by offering a mix of training options, including technical training, new skills development, training sessions, and online courses.
Providing an easy-to-access, digital training platform gives your staff the greatest flexibility. It will give employees the freedom and autonomy to choose how and when they perform training tasks, leading to a positive impact on work-life balance.
2. Continuous Learning Culture
Build a culture of continuous learning within your organization. Encourage employees to embrace training not as a one-time event but as an ongoing journey.
Highlight the importance – through internal communication, seminars, and information sessions – of acquiring new skills and knowledge to adapt to changing work demands and industry advancements.
3. Feedback-Driven Improvements
Create a feedback loop that allows employees to share their experiences and suggestions regarding training programs. Use this feedback to continuously improve the quality and relevance of your training initiatives, making them more effective and engaging.
4. Leadership Engagement
Engage organizational leaders in training efforts. Their active participation and endorsement of training programs send a powerful message about their importance.
Leaders can also set an example by participating in technical training sessions and demonstrating a commitment to lifelong learning.
5. Recognition and Motivation
Implement a recognition and rewards system to motivate employees to engage in training and acquire new skills. Recognize those who excel, whether that’s in technical training, new skills development, in online courses, or on the job training.
Employee recognition not only boosts morale but also encourages that culture of continuous improvement.
Cultivate a Skilled Workforce through Employee Training
Effective employee development requires a thoughtful blend of training methods tailored to your organization’s needs.
You’ll find that the investment is well worth it. A skilled and adaptable workforce is a significant asset for any organization. Employee development not only benefits individuals but also contributes to the long-term success, sustainability, and adaptability of your organization.
To learn more about the latest in employee training solutions, talk to one of iTacit’s L&D experts.