Employee training programs are crucial both for new hires and tenured members of your workforce. In the case of new hires, training programs cover the tasks that they would need to perform, as well as how to operate systems and equipment that they will have to use to do their work. For tenured employees, training and development programs are an opportunity to learn new tools or technology that the company uses, as well as a chance to refresh and expand on existing skills.
Effective training programs will not only bolster professional development and make your employees better at their jobs. It can also increase their job satisfaction and commitment to the company, keeping productivity high and attrition levels low. Below, we discuss a few ways on how to improve your company’s training programs for your employees and your business’ benefit:
Personalize the experience
Unlike other work-related events, training programs do not often inspire excitement in employees. Some may even see these as a hindrance, cutting into hours that could instead be used to do work and finish tasks.
Motivating your people is only part of the equation, and retaining the concepts taught during the training program is also a major challenge. Personalizing the training experience for your employees solves both. It’s a proven fact that people remember concepts better when they feel personally invested, or when they can associate it to an emotion. Find ways to make these programs more fun by incorporating icebreakers and games into them. You may also distribute company-branded merchandise such as pens, notepads, and custom lanyards and other accessories that commemorate the event to encourage recall.
Consider the way people learn
Everyone has a different way of reacting to, absorbing, and retaining information. In this instance, Neil Fleming’s VARK model can be useful in identifying your employees’ learning styles to develop a training program that caters to every kind of learner. Catering to how your people learn will also lessen the risk of overwhelming employees with information.
Auditory learners will learn best from a training program led by a strong speaker. Visual learners will be able to understand the content of the program better if visual aids are provided. Reading/writing learners can be catered to with pen and paper exercises, while kinesthetic learners will better grasp the training if they are given physical tasks and hands-on demonstrations. An effective training program incorporates all of these approaches.
Allow employees to take on new responsibilities
The training doesn’t have to end once the program is over. Providing continuing education and giving your employees the chance to apply their newly-learned skills in the fields where they are relevant can be beneficial for them and rewarding for you. Encourage them to make mistakes; as long as the mistakes are minor enough that they wouldn’t put you out of business, it is always worth letting your people make them and turn it into a learning experience.
Integrate learning and development into the office culture
Cultivating a culture of learning in the workplace ties into the point above. Training doesn’t have to be confined to the formal limits of a program. Encourage your workers to communicate with each other and share information that can help them become better at their jobs. Listen to your employees’ concerns and be open to all kinds of feedback. Recognize, reward, and incentivize the employees who make meaningful contributions. This will keep both morale and motivation levels high.
Truly effective training involves identifying your workforce’s needs and addressing them to the best of your capabilities as a company. When done well, training and development programs enrich your employees and translate into success for your business.