It doesn’t matter what type of business you work for or the industry you’re in, you need employee training. Whether that’s onboarding, continuing education to keep them up to speed on your evolving product or annual training to keep current with compliance, thinking you don’t need employee training is a colossal strategic mistake that’ll set you back. Today, employee training is arguably the most powerful tool in an employer’s toolbox.
Here’s everything you need to know to understand the ins and outs of employee training.
Employee training is an educational program that provides your employees with the knowledge and resources they need to succeed in their roles — now and in the future. An effective employee training program can increase employee retention, improve satisfaction, boost productivity, and ultimately increase your bottom line.
Employee training comes in all shapes and sizes, providing you with various ways to keep your employees up to speed as your business and their roles evolve.
Often lumped together with employee onboarding, orientation is slightly different in the sense that it’s generally more of a welcoming that prepares them for what’s to come. It covers the basics such as company values, policies, office tours and more.
Employee onboarding is when you start diving under the surface and providing new hires with the resources that’ll enable them to become productive as quickly as possible. The impact of a great onboarding experience cannot be overstated. It creates conditions for a fruitful and long-term partnership while minimizing churn.
Product training takes employees through the ins and outs of your product, its features (and feature gaps), pain points and its value to the end-user. Product training can be included in the onboarding process, especially for product-facing roles and sellers. Still, it can also — and often is — a continuous learning initiative that keeps everyone up to speed.
Compliance training keeps your employees informed on legislation, regulations and policies related to your business and their job function. A recent example is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came out in 2018. When this legislation went live, ad agencies and other impacted businesses had to educate their employees on this new legislation and its impact on their roles.
Training isn’t only for new employees. A well-rounded employee learning program applies to managers and senior leadership, too. It’s just as crucial that people steering the ship have the knowledge they need to be serviceable navigators. Since these individuals are generally charged with more strategic responsibilities, managerial and leadership training often focuses on soft skills and strategies to guide the ship more effectively and efficiently.
Soft skills training is often associated with managerial and leadership training, although it applies to all company levels. With soft skills training, employees work on personal attributes, personality traits, teamwork, critical thinking, decision making and more.
Spurred largely by the COVID-19 pandemic, workplace health — specifically, mental health — has become a pressing issue. Health-related training focuses on this and gives employees the strategies and information to address different conditions—for example, meditation.
Sales, services and support all go hand-in-hand and can benefit from the same — or very similar training. This training includes materials related to customer personas, the product, and strategies associated with rebutting customer challenges.
Employee training isn’t essential; it’s imperative to long-term success and sustainability in today’s business climate. And many companies finally realize that. However, if you need some convincing, here are five specific benefits.
Employee retention is top-of-mind for nearly everyone. I mean, we’re in the Great Resignation and people are leaving their current gigs at an alarming rate. More than half of U.S. workers surveyed in August of 2021 said they plan to look for a new job.Why? For a few reasons: They don’t feel valued, they don’t feel engaged and they don’t feel like they have an opportunity to grow. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but the theme is all the same. Employee training solves all of these pain points. When employees feel valued and have the opportunity to learn and grow, they’re more likely to stay.
Creating an employee training program is just like creating any other type of training program. So, if you’ve done it before, recreate that. If you haven’t, follow these five steps.
With your goals set, figure out what’s currently available and allocate resources accordingly. Do you or other departments have content you can use or version? Do you have a subject matter expert and instructional designer to help you craft thoughtful courses?Once you know what you have, you can start outlining your program’s courses and working with the rest of the team to get things up and running. More than likely, you won’t have everything you need on day one. That’s ok. Focus on the gains and not the gaps. An effective employee training program is one that’s live.
Unless you’re using employee training for a particular, one-off use case, your program is a long-term play. If this is the case, start gathering feedback and making necessary adjustments. Are your employees getting what you want from the program? Does it have the intended benefits?It’s imperative that you listen to your employees, understand their pain points and guide them down a successful path. Employee training success won’t — and shouldn’t — happen overnight.
If you look at the best employee training programs, you’ll see that they all have something in common: They apply a shared set of best practices to increase engagement and drive all parties involved toward the intended outcomes.
Mobile technology continues to drive significant change in the way we live and work. Why? Because everyone uses it. In 2021, more than 80% of the world’s population will own a smartphone. As a result, it’s a given that your employees will want to access your content on their mobile devices.This is especially important if you’re adopting any sort of remote work environment that frees your employees from their desks and gives them the ability to work on the go (most likely with smartphones and tablets in hand). If employees are accessing your content, they’re most likely doing it via a mobile device. Mobile learning is the only way to make sure they can do that.
For better or worse, our attention spans are short. Even shorter than that of a goldfish. This is the reality of today, so you can’t expect your employees to sit down for any substantial amount of time and learn. And by “substantial amount of time,” we’re talking a few minutes.This is why microlearning is so essential. By breaking your courses into bite-size chunks, you’re giving your employees the ability to learn without having to dedicate hours to it.
Video is far and away the preferred way for people to consume content. According to Nielsen, U.S. adults spend almost 6 hours per day on video. Not convinced? Collectively, the population watches more than 1 billion hours of video on YouTube every single day.These stats are to be expected. In a fast-paced world, video is the easiest way to consume content, it’s much more engaging than a block of text and has the unrivaled ability to bring topics to life, which gives you a way to deliver content in a way that improves engagement and knowledge retention.
Everyone — your employees included — gets more value from something if it’s molded to their preferences and demands. This is why so many companies are prioritizing personalization. It’s why Amazon presents personalized recommendations on every page. It’s why the ad tech world is full of tools that help advertisers personalize their ads. Simply put, personalization is superior in almost every situation, including your employee training program.By using personalization, you can address your employees’ unique workplace needs and challenges and help them succeed. In return, you’ll see more engagement, better knowledge retention and more successful workplace outcomes.
Employee training has historically been a nice-to-have initiative for companies, something they invested in if they had extra time and budget. Most of the time, this meant big companies. Today, it’s a must-have for any company looking to stay above water. Companies you and old must prioritize employee training and the short- and long-term benefits that come with it. Those who fail to do that will struggle to stay afloat.