Employee training is ac crucial aspect in human resource development. When you have a properly trained pool of staff, business operations flow smoothly, production costs are kept at manageable levels, people perform up to par, and the organization has better chances of achieving its target. Indeed, business prospects are very ideal as you reach this juncture.
However, staff training and development can be very challenging because it’s a multifarious process. For one, you probably have different sets of goals for every department or employee, and picking the most appropriate business training method requires a lot of assessment.
Some of the things you need to consider here include:
- Target skills or behavior to develop
- Level of training for new employees vs. more experienced employees
The planning stage, which involves designing of training activities and putting resources together, among others, is all the more tedious and time consuming. These are just bits and pieces of all the details that go into organizing trainings and seminars for employees.
This article gives you a rundown of training essentials that you can incorporate in your human resource development programs. It lists various techniques to choose from for your upcoming business workshops, along with relevant examples and corresponding benefits and setbacks.
You may also find this guide particularly helpful, as it offers pointers on how you could combine several methods to develop a unified approach or solution for your training goals.
Last but not least, this post features insights from fellow HR practitioners and experts for some bit of inspiration to best help your employees learn and grow with your organization.
Assuming you have already determined the content or focus of your training, the next decision to make is which delivery mode should you choose. You have several options, and these are:
1. Classroom-Based or Instructor-Led Training
This is the traditional approach to teaching. Although it’s only half as popular now as it used to be, it remains to be a suitable option for a host of scenarios including business seminars, for example.
In-classroom instruction is advantageous for business training for several reasons:
- It makes the presentation of course materials equally effective for small and large audiences so that everybody gets the same information simultaneously.
- There is instant feedback from employees attending the event. They are free to ask questions, seek clarifications, or provide additional input about what’s being discussed or studied.
- It’s very cost-effective, especially when conducted in-house by company managers and officers who won’t charge you extra for training or honorarium fees.
Applying the classroom-setting type of seminars and trainings for business is relatively easy too, as you only need to provide the bare essentials such as blackboard/whiteboard, overhead projector, video or PowerPoint presentations, test questions, spreadsheets, and slideshows.
On the downside, this method of instruction presents some challenges especially when you’re looking to get higher levels of engagement from attendees. This is particularly difficult when there is no rapport between the lecturer and the trainees.
Ideally, trainers should know how to break communication barriers and use interactive methods to help employees on training feel enthusiastic, interested, and attentive.
As leadership consultant and book author, Jim Krunick, said, “Learning is about engagement. Talent + Engagement = Strength.”
2. Hands-On Training
A practical, hands-on approach is highly applicable when you are training new hires, helping employees make a transition, or introducing new systems, tools, or processes. There are several ways to conduct this type of training, including:
- Mentoring or Coaching – The main goal here is to impart knowledge that employees can use to fulfill their roles and responsibilities in the workplace. You may tap a team leader, supervisor, or seasoned employee to act as a mentor to a younger staff.
The mentor can take advantage of coaching sessions to observe how the trainee performs a task, correct errors, give pointers and encouragement, and provide feedback constructively.
- Demos – This method is used to teach employees new procedures or how to use new technologies equipment or software crucial to everyday operations.
- Product demonstrations also provide the perfect opportunity for customer service representatives to have a closer look at the company’s new offerings and have them try out those items so that they can explain to customers how to use them, as well as be better prepared to answer possible queries from clients.
- Peer-to-Peer Training – Similar to the buddy system, this involves an employee training a co-employee such as when a junior employee shadows a senior employee to learn the various aspects of a job.
Alternatively, a team leader designates one of the members to conduct training sessions for underperforming employees—suggesting more effective strategies in areas where they need improvement.
The only limitation in this kind of training is its incompatibility with large groups of trainees especially if you want to focus your attention on employees who are really struggling or need the most help, as well as decreased productivity from the trainers, who may have to spend considerable amount of time away from their own work assignments.
3. Computer-Based Training (CBT) or Technology-Based Learning (TBL)
The terms mentioned above encompass the consumption of content through electronic means such as the internet, audio visuals, teleconferencing, and a plethora of advancements in communications technology.
There’s also a very thin line separating CBT or TBL with e-learning, which involves the use of computer technologies to gain access to a course or business training.
CBT or TBL is very relevant these days since people are increasingly utilizing online platforms to search for information, buy products or services, and connect with communities. In the same manner, you can apply CBT or TBL in your training programs to enhance your employees’ technological skills. Some of the most notable methods under this category include:
- Webinars – Webinars are gaining ground because they’re an ideal way of learning short courses or acquiring specialized knowledge or topics. Webinar participants tune in to livestreamed, audio-enabled training replete with visual aids to facilitate thorough understanding of the subject matter. The facilitator of the webinar may choose to end the training with a Q&A session to ask for feedback, answer questions, or further explain gray areas.
- Video- and Audio-Conferencing – This strategy is ideal for people working remotely from their homes or a distant location to where the office is. All participants meet in a central location over a network for training and brainstorming sessions or to update the team about a project in the pipeline.
- Web-Based Instruction – Here, training modules are published on the company’s local network or on a dedicated website specially set up for your company, which employees can access at any given time, depending on the training schedule that they need to follow. The modules contain course materials, reading resources, and assessment tools—all of which are designed to standardize training and track the trainees’ progress.
- Virtual Reality (VR) – Thanks to 3D technologies, trainees can immerse themselves in simulated environments to perform tasks for which they are being prepared. VR training experiences are being leveraged by highly technical industries such as aviation, automotive, aerospace, and the like. However, they can also have practical uses for your employees if your organization belongs in the healthcare and education sectors.
At best, CBT, TBL, or e-learning methods may be met with resistance, as employees feel a certain amount of fear, intimidation, or uneasiness in using technology as tools. Just as technology should be user-friendly, it’s also a must for you to ensure that your training methods are designed with clear-cut instructions and easy-to-follow procedures so that trainees feel motivated to participate in the learning process.
4. Social Media Training
The boom in the use of social sites is paving way for companies to integrate social media training in their employee training curriculum. Because social has, by large, a creative and collaborative nature to it, companies find it to be an attractive training component for sales, marketing, human resources management, and just about every aspect of the business.
Generally speaking, your company’s branding, reputation, and popularity may become highly dependent on how your employees use social media responsibly to promote your organization, or at the very least, how they represent themselves online, as this says a lot about your corporate culture as well.
Having a social media team in your organization is also a good PR tool slash spin doctor in case things go awry. That said, your social media training should cover two aspects:
- Literacy and Policy Training – Since it’s becoming harder and harder for employees to separate their personal life from their social media profile, you might as well equip them with training on how to uphold your organization’s social media policies.
Educate your employees about what they can and cannot share on social such as trade secrets, upcoming products, and privacy and security settings.
As Gloria Burke, Unisys’ director of Knowledge and Collaboration, said in a Forbes interview, “When you give them that training, you’re empowering them to be more confident and effective in what they’re sharing.”
- Social Media Response Team – Whether it’s a corporate event needing media mileage or a potentially damaging issue that you’re anticipating, you could use your social media response team to handle such affairs in the best way possible.
The Value of a Unified Training Approach
There is no single formula for success just as many business leaders claim. Therefore, combining different methodologies to form a blended or unified approach for employee training holds great promise, especially since your organization has a diverse set of needs, goals, and resources.
A study made at the University of Tennessee revealed that blended learning cuts in half the time and cost of training people. In the same study, it was found that blending learning improved performance by 10 percent as compared with traditional training.
Here are a couple of practical tips you can explore as you try to implement a blended learning approach in your employee training curriculum:
- Break down a complex subject matter in a classroom-based instruction where the first part would be in the form of a lecture. Afterward, you could divide the participants into mentoring or peer-to-peer groups for the remainder of the class or training.
- Conduct a webinar or a video-conferencing session to teach employees how to use social media features as a business tool. Highlight key ideas and collate them in a PowerPoint presentation to be distributed to employees via email or through company intranet.
Suffice to say, the possibilities are endless when it comes to training opportunities that can be afforded to employees. Careful planning, proper implementation, and an honest assessment of results are key to a successful training and development program for your organization’s most valuable assets, which are your employees, no less.