Employee training is a process focused on communicating with and teaching an employee information and/or instructions. The purpose of employee training is to improve the employee's performance or to help the employee gain a necessary level of knowledge and skill to productively, effectively, and profitably perform his or her job.
A commitment to employee training and development by an employer is one of the significant factors in an employee’s choice of employers and jobs.
The opportunity for your employees to continue to grow and develop job and career-enhancing skills is integral to an employee’s happiness and satisfaction with their job. In fact, this opportunity for employees to grow and develop through training is one of the most important factors in employee motivation, engagement, and positive morale. And employee training and development or opportunities to train others are integral components in half of the 18 factors that contribute to reducing employee turnover. Your best employees, the employees you most want to keep, thrive when they have the opportunity to grow through employee training and development options.
Employee Training and Development Secrets
There are a couple of secrets about what employees want from training opportunities, however. These need to guide you as you consider your options for providing employee training.
These two factors are key if you want to multiply the value of the employee training and development you provide. You need to:
- Allow employees to pursue training and development in directions they choose, not just in company-assigned and needed directions. Both are needed and recommended.
- Have your company support learning, in general, and not just in support of the knowledge needed for the employee’s current or next anticipated job. Recognize that the key factor is keeping the employee interested, attending, and engaged in a learning organization environment.
Employee Training Options
Employee training opportunities are not just found in external training classes and seminars.
They are also found in the content of the employee’s job and responsibilities, in internal training opportunities, and finally, through external training opportunities whose impact you can magnify by the activities, you pursue before during and after the employee training.
These ideas emphasize what people want in employee training and development. They also articulate your opportunity to create devoted, growing employees who will benefit both your business and themselves by the employee training opportunities you provide.
Employee Training Options: Job Content and Responsibilities
You can have a significant impact on an employee’s training and development through the responsibilities in an employee’s current job. The content of the job, what the employee does regularly on the job, is also an important factor in employee training and professional development.
These are ideas about how you can provide employee training through the job the employee performs.
- Expand the job to include new, higher level responsibilities that help the employee stretch his skills.
- Reassign responsibilities that the employee does not like, that are routine and that the employee may have been doing for a long time. (They may help another employee stretch and grow while alleviating boredom for the employee in question.)
- Provide more authority for the employee to self-manage and make decisions. These chances to self-manage will help the employee spread her wings and fly.
- Invite the employee to contribute to more important, department or company-wide decisions and planning.
- Provide more access to attend the more important and desirable meetings.
- Provide more high-level information by including the employee on specific email lists, in company briefings, and in your confidence.
- Provide more opportunity for the employee to participate in the process of establishing goals, priorities, and measurements.
- Assign reporting staff members to his or her leadership or management position. You can make the employee grow professionally through managing coworkers as a boss.
- Assign the employee to head up projects or teams to further develop leadership skills.
- Enable the employee to spend more time with his or her boss. The time spent in mentoring, sponsoring and coaching with the boss will expand the employee’s skills.
- Provide the opportunity for the employee to cross-train in other roles and responsibilities.
Employee Training Options: Internal Training and Development
Employees appreciate the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills without ever leaving work or the workplace. Internal training and development bring a special plus. The examples used, the terminology and the opportunities for discussion reflect the culture, environment, and needs, of your workplace in a way that external training does not offer.
- Enable the employee to attend an internally offered training session. This session can be offered by a coworker in an area of their expertise or by an outside presenter or trainer. With the external provider employee training is improved if the person has the opportunity to know your organization and culture.
- Ask the employee to train other employees with the information learned at a seminar or training session. Offer the time at a department meeting or lunch to discuss the information or present the information learned to others. (Make this an expectation in your organization when employees attend external training and conferences.)
- Perform all of the activities listed before, during, and after a training session to ensure that the learning is transferred to the employee’s job.
- Purchase business books for the employee. Sponsor an employee book club during which employees discuss a current book and apply its concepts to your company.
- Offer commonly-needed training and information on an intranet, an internal company website so employees can pursue the information as needed and wanted, conveniently and from their laptop.
- Provide employee training by either knowledgeable employees or an outside expert in a brown bag lunch format. Employees eat lunch and gain knowledge about a valuable topic. Some ideas include: investing in a 401(k), how to vary and balance investments, tips for public speaking, how to get along with the boss, how to get along with a difficult coworker, how to increase productivity and provide updates on new products that make work easier. These opportunities for employee training are unlimited; you'll want to survey employees to pinpoint their interests.
- The developers and other interested employees at a medium sized company put on a day long conference with lunch and all of the trappings of an external conference at a local conference center. Attended by interested employees, the conference sessions were almost all taught by internal staff on topics of interest to their internal audience. Picture an external day long conference and you'll see the opportunity. Employees were pumped up beyond belief; they learned and enjoyed the day and gained a new respect for the knowledge and skills of their co-workers.
Employee Training Options: External Training and Development
To help employees develop new skills and bring new ideas into your organization, employee attendance at external training is a must. Attaining degrees and university attendance also enhance the knowledge and capabilities of your staff while broadening their experience with diverse people and ideas.
- Pay for memberships in external professional associations with the understanding that employees will attend meetings, read the journals, and so forth and regularly update coworkers.
- Enable the employee to attend an external seminar, conference, speaker, or training event. (Remember to ask him to share the new knowledge with coworkers to help you develop a learning organization.)
- Perform all of the activities listed before, during, and after a training session to ensure that the learning is transferred to the performance of the employee’s job.
- Pay for the employee to take online classes and identify low or no cost online (and offline) training opportunities.
- Provide a flexible schedule so the employee can take the time to attend university, college, or other formal educational sessions.
- Provide tuition assistance to encourage the employee's pursuit of additional employee training and education.
As you can see from the breadth and depth of employee training opportunities, the ways in which you can provide your employees the chance to grow and develop are limited only by your imagination. By your commitment to enabling your employees to continue to develop, you partner with employees to build their strengths and increase their ability to contribute to your organization. A win for all — for sure.
The development of a life-long engaged learner is a positive factor for your organization no matter how long the employee chooses to stay in your employ. Use these employee training options to ensure that you optimize the employee's motivation and potential retention.
New Employee Onboarding and Orientation
Employee training that is crucial in bringing a new employee up-to-speed as quickly as possible is known as employee onboarding or new employee orientation.
It starts when you welcome the new employee to your organization and continues until the employee is proficiently performing the new job. These resources will help you announce the arrival of new employees and formulate and implement a successful onboarding process.