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4 Secrets to Effective Employee Training


I have sat in countless training classes over the years for a variety of skills ranging from how to communicate to first aid to how to construct a good resume, and so have countless workers. Most businesses understand the importance of training their workers, and so they hire experienced individuals to give lectures and classes to improve their productive capabilities.

But what have I and all those other workers actually learned from these training classes? Effectively nothing, as it was found that just 12 percent of trainees actually apply the skills from training to their jobs. There are various reasons for that, from employees thinking that training is a useless waste of time to not understanding the material. But the fundamental truth is that business waste countless dollars on training programs because they do it ineffectively.

Instead of employing a “one size fits all approach” with classes, companies must rethink their training programs so that employees remember what they were taught. Here are some secrets and tips that can help.

  1. Think about the End Process

Training is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. An employee goes through a training program, and hopefully learns a valuable skill which makes him a more productive worker.

This may sound obvious, but far too many businesses view training as an end and believe that if they are training their workers on something, they will be more productive.

The result is that a business thinks it is training its workers, but the workers are not actually learning anything which will appreciably improve their productivity.

Before a business launches any training program at all, take some time to think what your business needs to improve on. Training should synchronize with your business’s current objectives, and a business leader should be able to explain in one sentence how the skills imparted by the program will help achieve said objectives. If you are unsure of what your business’s immediate objectives are, then you have a much bigger problems than an insufficient training program.

  1. Consider generational differences and personalize

Not all millennials are shortsighted fools attached to their phones and interested in intelligent car leasing; and not all baby boomers are old dogs uninterested in learning new tricks. And business owners should be very careful to avoid falling into stereotypes to designate training programs. A recent survey that surprisingly showed that experienced, older workers preferred e-learning and tech-savvy millennial workers preferred being in a classroom and learning face to face should be an indicator of the dangers of stereotypes.

But millennials and other generations are at different points in their careers, which means that they need different kinds of training. The key here is that from a training perspective, the worst thing a business can do is to offer a single class on a single subject which everyone is expected to learn at the same time. If you want everyone to learn a single subject, offer different means through which they can learn. Everyone has their preferred method of learning, and a more personalized process will help them better retain information.

  1. Be Careful about Gamification

Gamification is a growing buzzword within business in general, and the entire gamification market is expected to surpass $10 billion by 2020. From a training perspective, gamification entails turning training into small games, which hopes that by having fun, workers can keep morale and be more encouraged to learn.

But making games which can engage a large number of employees is very tricky. You have to balance the desire to keep your faster workers entertained while not discouraging the others, as well as the need to be informative and fun. But the biggest challenge with gamification is that businesses view gamification as an inherent good, without questioning if it can really be used to teach this or that skill. Sometimes it cannot.

If you have a relevant gamification idea, don’t hesitate to try it out. But gamification is not a hammer which can fix every training problem.

  1. Demand Feedback

There are countless training guides out there which talk about the importance of feedback and there is a reason for that. Training fundamentally exists to improve worker productivity. If you do not hear back from your workers after a training session, you have no way to determine if it succeeded or not.

A failure to solicit feedback is all the more glaring because it is not that hard to obtain. Pass out surveys at the end of a training program and ask workers to write what they liked and did not like. Hold regular meetings with them and ask what they thought in person. As a business manager, you should be regularly communicating with your workers to begin with. Asking them for their honest thoughts on your training programs should be part of that communication.

By understanding what they value and do not value as well as how they learn, you can continue to personalize your training programs so that it becomes more effective.

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