It’s common for modern businesses to offer training to employees, involving a range of courses from basic courses that will help your team effectively use your technology, to programs that could be worth as much as a degree to teach your team new skills. In fact, some modern companies, such as Google, offer training programs designed to teach employees relevant skills that they prefer to hiring employees already possessing degrees from colleges and universities since the training is more applied and less focused on general skills such as communication and other liberal arts. We could argue over the value of such programs compared with more traditional educational opportunities, and as a marketing professor with 25 years of teaching experience at various universities, I would strongly make that case.
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Regardless of your feelings about such training programs, practically every business offers some type of training as part of their onboarding process or continual training designed for existing employees. For instance, companies may require training in compliance such as sexual harassment and, in today’s world, compliance with CDC regulations in Covid protocols. when you develop new products, you often have to train salespeople and others in your organization to effectively market those products.
It doesn’t matter what type of training you offer or the timing of training, training is sometimes expensive. Since you don’t want to waste money on ineffective training methods or products, it makes sense to develop a clear strategy on how to offer training to employees and how to most efficiently use your training dollars. How exactly are you supposed to do this as a business owner or manager, though? Let’s find out.
Developing effective training programs
Giving them time
Many companies expect their employees to take part in their training during their free time, especially in the case of compliance training. While this might prove successful for some, those forced to use their valuable personal time to complete the training program rarely get the best results from their training, as they rush through the training with the singular goal of passing the test at the end.
Instead, it makes a lot more sense to give your team time during their workday to handle their learning, giving you the chance to watch over them, while also ensuring that they don’t feel as though they have to rush to get through it. It makes sense to pay people for taking training classes, especially when they only need the information to successfully perform their job.
Providing additional materials
Courses come in loads of shapes and sizes, but they usually involve some materials to help employees learn the material and proficiency tests to ensure employees retained the required information. Often training programs include the basic information employees need in either an online or classroom format. Since different people have different learning styles, effective training programs may require you to provide additional study materials, practice tests, or other activities that helped them acquire the necessary skills, for instance, Salesforce training often involves making practice sales calls that are critiqued by a facilitator. You must also consider that end today’s diverse workforce you have people of different abilities and materials must match those abilities. That means you must include transcriptions for videos for those with hearing or visual impairments.
You can find recommended exam prep materials online for a wide variety of different courses, from those that prepare your team to work in construction, to those that help your business maintain privacy and data security. Giving your team resources like these improve their chances of success dramatically and ensures you’re in compliance with regulations to protect those who are differently-abled.
Rewards for success
While your team members receive qualifications and new skills from their training, it’s often a good idea to offer them rewards for completing training, especially if they do extremely well with their training. For example, you could offer your whole team a nice meal if they all manage to pass with flying colors, giving everyone an incentive to work as hard as possible without singling anyone out. If you prefer individual rewards, companies like Johnsonville Sausage offer a pay bump of a specified amount when an employee learns a new skill. The rewards you offer don’t need to be massive, but the idea of having something nice to look forward to drives your team forward in completing their training program in a timely manner.
And remember, a carrot is better than a stick. Hence, offering an incentive to complete a training program is a better motivator than using the stick of punishment for employees who fail to complete their training program on time or passing the program.
The right training
Choosing the right training for your team is often a complex and difficult decision, especially given the plethora of programs available at different price points. It’s often best to go for training courses that offer a recognized qualification at the end of the training, such as the Google Analytics Certificate. This is especially important when you consider the gap between candidates with the requisite skills and the skills needed by your organization, such as those identified in the image below.
Image courtesy of Marketing Profs
It may seem more efficient and cheaper to conduct your own training programs, and that’s certainly the case in situations where you’re training your employees about the features and benefits of your products. In other cases, having transferable certificate programs provides its own incentive for employees to perform well on the training programs since these certificates increase their value in the marketplace, not just as your organization.
Updating training routinely
Even when the training you provide employees is detailed and expensive, this journey isn’t over once your team passes the program. Instead, you must ensure updated your team’s skills, with regular training to hone their abilities and improve their work as the world around them changes. There can be legal reasons for this too, with some fields of business changing so rapidly that new training is required to keep up with changing regulations. There are companies on the market that can help you through this, providing updated training as and when it is needed.
Some of your team members likely find all of the training you give them very easy, but others might find it much harder. Studying, taking exams, and learning are all skills that can take time to learn. Employees that haven’t spent much time in education might struggle with this, and that may mean you need to provide support and bolster their confidence. Struggling to pass training classes is frustrating and potentially embarrassing for employees when other team members pass the classes easily. Without support for these employees, you risk losing them.
Training is a great way to improve your business performance, but you need to make sure that you do it right. Creating an effective training program can take some time, and you may need to make changes based on trial and error in the beginning. Thankfully, this is something you can work to improve over time with feedback from trainers and employees.