Employee training is one of the most important ways to drive productivity in the workplace. Well-trained employees will not only work efficiently but they will be happier at work. Employee training is not as simple as sending your line managers to a weekend leadership conference in Tucson. Employee training should be tailored to both your organization’s needs and your employees’ preferences. By aligning training with both your business’ and your employees’ needs, you can successfully organize and implement an effective employee training program. Not only will you drive productivity in the department being trained but you may reinvigorate your whole business.

Ways that Training Can Drive Your Employees' Productivity

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In this article, I will start with 1) how to begin with employee training, and continue then with 2) how training drives employees’ productivity, 3) practice after training, 4) how to evolve your training, and 5) understanding the ROI of your training.

HOW TO BEGIN WITH EMPLOYEE TRAINING

Before you begin a new training program, you need to formulate a plan. A plan ensures that the program will suit your individual training needs. First, you must identify the training needs of your staff. This will prevent redundant training, that staff will present and promote the useful training that the staff has asked for. You also need to identify the preferred learning methods of your employees. Finally, you should identify barriers to training so that you can be aware of potential issues before you begin.

Step 1: Identify Areas Where Staff Require More Training

One way to get insight into the areas where staff need more training is to create a training needs assessment. Training needs assessments will provide the feedback that you need on either the employee, departmental or organizational level. To successfully analyze the training needs, you will need to consider three main areas:

  • You will need to monitor the current performance levels of your organization. You can do this through observation. You should also include the employees’ thoughts through interviews and questionnaires. Using these written feedback methods will also help you collate data.
  • You will need to anticipate future problems. A worthwhile training program should not only solve current issues but be forward thinking as well. Your training program can be designed to anticipate future training needs in your business. By anticipating future needs, you can either prevent or offset future training issues.
  • You will also need to identify the level and type of training that will be required by your employees. While some staff will naturally fall into different levels of training, it is essential to have a minimum training requirement that all staff meet.

Step 2: Identify Preferred Learning Methods

The method of learning provided by a training program is equally as important as the content being delivered. Organizations should identify the employees’ preference for a learning method. There are four main options for delivering a training program.

Classroom Style Learning

Classroom style learning works well for both small groups of employees or entire departments. Many people respond well to classroom style learning because live teachers can be more engaging for some employees. Live training has several advantages. It allows the entire group to get the same information at the same time. This prevents some individuals from working too far ahead while others fall behind. Many people also appreciate face to face interaction because teachers can respond to students in ways that other methods like computer based training cannot. However, the effectiveness of the training session will often depend upon the effectiveness of the teacher. If you choose to utilize the classroom style method of learning, it is important to choose a teacher or speaking that the majority of employees will respond to.

If you choose classroom training, you will want to incorporate interactive methods to ensure that students get the most from the session. You can choose to incorporate small assessments to ensure that the audience stays engaged. You will also be able to determine the success of the training on some of the results of these assessments. You may also incorporate small group work and role play. Small group work encourages employees to learn from each other as well as the teacher.

Hands-On Learning

Experiential learning has been proven to an effective method of education in recent years. There are several ways that your organization can incorporate a hands-on learning experience for your employees. You can use popular methods such as demonstrations, coaching, drills or apprenticeships. These methods are ideal for training employees on a new procedure or new equipment. They are both theoretical and practical. Practical training is essential for some employees because it allows them to practice new skills immediately. This improves short-term memory retention for some employees. This type of learning is best suited for small groups or individuals in technical environments. Large groups often find this method frustrating because they find that there is a lot of downtime spent waiting.

Computer-Based Training

Computer-based training is a popular way to train large groups of people, including new hires. Many of the largest companies in the world use computer training for a variety of purposes. The uniformity of computer programs is ideal for provided standardized levels of basic training for all employees. They also often integrate interactive methods of learning that both keeps employees engaged and measures the results of the training. Computer-based training is ideal for groups of staff who are computer literate. However, you will need to dedicate someone who is fully trained to be available to answer questions because the computer training will not answer individual questions.

E-Learning

E-Learning is the new form of learning not only for companies but universities and even secondary education. There is a variety of Internet-based learning methods to choose from. You can choose from a web-based training program that is similar to the programs that were formerly delivered through software. You can also choose to take part into an online conference that is either audio or video based. Web meetings are a popular method of learning because they have the benefit of being delivered remotely but still incorporate the use of a live teacher. The benefit of online training is that it is often inexpensive compared to other methods. However, many of these training programs are generic and impersonal. Some employees do not respond well to programs that they do not feel are addressed to their needs.

Step 3: Identify Barriers to Training

The barriers to training are unique to each organization. By identifying these barriers, you can successfully design the method of training that will best suit your employees. Training organizers will often need to work through serious barriers before implementing a training program. Some of the most common barriers to learning include the following:

Computer Literacy: If you are choosing to implement an online or computer-based training program, it is essential that all of your employees are literate in computing and the necessary software.

Lack of Motivation: The groups’ motivation to learning is one of the most essential parts of the learning process. The training process may be difficult if the group does not feel that they need the training or simply do not want the training. This barrier should be examined and overcome before training begins.

Resistance: Some groups may be resistant to change in the workplace. New methods often spark fear or distrust in the eyes of employees. You will need to take this into account when organizing your training program.

Negative Experiences: If you have run training programs in the past that were less than successful, you may find that this negative experience may become a barrier to training. The best method to overcome this barrier is to understand what went wrong, as well as to ensure that the program will suit the needs of the employees this time around.

HOW TRAINING DRIVES EMPLOYEES’ PRODUCTIVITY

Sharpening employees skills in the workplace is the key to maintaining a high standard of productivity. By integrating a successful system of employee training, you can keep your employees both knowledgeable and motivated.

  • Reinvigorates Old Skills: Basic skills can feel so common and easy that sometimes people forget the details. By retraining employees on old skills in an effective way, you can increase productivity by preventing small, basic mistakes in your work. Employees may feel like their old skills are refreshed. This can breathe new life into old tasks.
  • Trains Staff on New Skills: Regular and effective training can acquaint employees with new methods and skills as well as refresh old ones. By teaching new skills, you can give your employees a sense of a new purpose. It also lets them know that the organization is willing and able to evolve. When you can successfully train employees on new methods, everyone wins.
  • Boost Confidence Levels: Learning and maintaining skills can boost confidence not only in employees but employers. By boosting your employees’ confidence, you will provide them with a greater sense of value at work. This can translate into increased enthusiasm as well as a greater degree of accountability.
  • Establishes a Performance-Based Culture: A performance based culture will inspire and motivate your employees by giving them attainable goals to reach on a regular basis. However, your culture should also have a clearly defined definition of success. When people know what they are reaching for, they are able to achieve it in an optimal manner.
  • Boosts Employee Satisfaction: Employee satisfaction is an essential component to a productive workplace. Employees are satisfied when they are given the skills and support they need to perform their duties effectively. Training is one step to providing the skills your employees want and need to be satisfied with their performance at work.

PRACTICE AFTER TRAINING

The best time to truly learn is after the training session has ended. By practicing the things you have learned in training, you can make the appropriate changes in your company. These changes will let you know if these new methods work for your organization. Implementing changes also boosts office morale. Employees feel like the training was useful if it is implemented.

  • Training Is Not A One Time Event: Employee training is not an event that takes place over a few days each year. Employee training should be the spark that changes behavior in the workplace. In the case of leadership training, 48% of people believe that the greatest difficulty in workplace training is that the training is not implemented. When employees are assigned to a skills or learning seminar, they expect it to be meaningful. Before you train your employees, you should be sure to have the systems in place the be able to implement the training when it is over.
  • Transfer of Applicable Skills Results in Productivity: Employees who learn skills that can be used across several different departments in the organization will increase productivity in the workplace. Employees who can work in conjunction with other departments instead of in competition with them will create an increasingly engaged workplace.

HOW TO EVOLVE YOUR TRAINING

As time goes on, your business practices will evolve. This evolution should include your training methods. Not only should you keep up with the current trends in methodology but you should also continuously work to improve the training experience. There are two imperative factors to consider when you decide to review your organization’s training process:

  • Employee Engagement Survey: You should always run an employee engagement survey after you run a training course of any type. The results of this survey will provide employee insight into the training process. They will be able to tell you what worked and what did not work. They will also be able to make suggestions for better practices. Not only with the survey provide you with important data, but it will inform your employees that you value both their education and their feedback.
  • Compare Results: Look at your sales results from before the training and compare them with the results you have after the training has been implemented. These results will inform you about whether or not the training has been success fully implemented. Sales results are a good indicator of the levels of productivity in your organization.

UNDERSTANDING THE ROI OF YOUR TRAINING

Everyone wants to receive a return on their investment. While training is a big investment in the short term, it can provide many benefits over the long term. However, the return on investment on training can be difficult to measure. Organizations should always have specific measurements against which they can view the efficacy of the training exercise. Although calculating the return on investment may be tricky, organizations can use these measurements to gain insight on how beneficial their investment was to the organization:

  • Engagement: Measuring your employee engagement will give you a clear understanding of the benefits of the training. If your employees engaged with the training and are excited to use it in the workplace, then the training may be a success. The real measurement comes from whether or not it was implemented in the office and how well it has been maintained since the training finished.
  • Skills: You should be aware of the skills that your employees gained during the training. If the training was to brush up on old skills to prevent small mistakes, you should monitor the situation to look for changes in behavior. If the training was designed to teach new skills that will be implemented in the future, you would be able to measure this when you roll out the new program. However, you should always account for a few weeks of confusion in the first weeks of a new program whether you have trained your employees or not.
  • Implementation: Implementation is arguably one of the most crucial factors of the training. The point of training your employees on old and new systems is so that they can begin to practice them at work. If they are not being implemented, you should conduct an investigation into why they are not being utilized.
  • Business Impact: Finally, you will need to calculate the impact that the training sessions have had on your business. You will want to measure the impact on the department as well as the organization as the whole. A well-trained department should contribute to the overall health of the organization.

When you decide to run an employee training program, there are many things to take into consideration. There are various planning, review and assessment states that need to happen to make your next training exercise worthwhile. Yet, employee training is one of the most important tools a company has to be able to maintain both its productivity and its growth. An organization that is home to satisfied and knowledgeable employees is almost always an organization that is running at an optimal level of productivity. Employee training provides more benefits than just learning new skills. When you have a company full of well trained, highly productive, confident people, this will not only have a positive effect on your business but the industry and economy as the whole.

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