Skip to Main Content
by Jeriann Watkins Ireland | April 07, 2017


Coworkers meeting to go over information

Most employers realize the value of investing in at least a basic level of employee training. When employees are qualified to do their jobs and empowered to improve themselves and their workplace, the whole company benefits. Below are some different types of training you can offer your employees and some tips for setting up comprehensive, sustainable training programs and systems for your company.

Workplace Specific Training

Every company has its own procedures, rules, and culture. New employee training usually focuses on communicating the terms of employment, rules of conduct, and basic job functions. But ongoing training is needed to make sure that the company and its employees do not become stagnant.

There are two main types of training that employees need to be updated on regularly. The first is task-oriented training. This can most easily be accomplished by analyzing how employees perform their duties and determining if improvements can be made. This may involve job-shadowing, one-on-ones with management, or team training. Dedicating time each month to make sure employees are confident and competent in their jobs is necessary to consistently completing the work that needs to be done.

Then there is culture training. Every workplace has its own culture. HR is responsible for making sure employees feel safe in the workplace, but they are not necessarily responsible for other aspects of culture. Determine who in your company is the best department for overseeing culture. Cultural trainings can be as simple as announcements about proper break room etiquette or as in-depth as sexual assault prevention workshops, sensitivity training, and company-sponsored self-defense courses. You can also encourage your employees to partake in individual mindfulness training, to improve their personal workflow and productivity. 

Professional Skills Workshops

As far as the bottom line goes, the type of training where you see the most tangible benefits will be professional skills workshops. You can invest in creating these yourself or look for outside entities to provide training to your employees. Sending your employees to outside workshops exposes them to how other companies operate and allows the chance to see gaps in your company’s operational procedures.

No matter what field you are in, there are companies that offer workshops that will improve employee performance. You can send your marketing team to web design courses or have them meet with marketing consultants to find gaps in their approach. Send your engineers to conferences where they can learn about advances in their field. If your employees require ongoing certification, you can curate information about continuing education courses and offer company transportation to specific events.

At most professional workshops, your employees will learn skills that aren’t directly related to their job functions, as well as many that are. This is a big win for our company, as having well-rounded employees means that you have people who can see the bigger picture. If they return from workshops and notice room for improvement, they’re more likely to speak up knowing you wanted them to expand their knowledge in the first place.

Choosing What Trainings are Worthwhile

When company time is spent on tasks that aren’t directly producing or selling products or services, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by cost. It is extremely difficult to measure the return on investment of training activities, especially in the short-term. So it’s important to choose training activities carefully. The most important question you can ask is “where do we need to improve?”

Of course, management’s perspective of what improvements need to be made will be different than that of production employees. Create a survey for your entire company. Ask each individual what they view as the company’s most important function. Ask what their most important function as an individual employee is. Then ask what they feel they need more training on. Ask what they feel the company as a whole needs to focus more resources into. And ask their position, so you can analyze the differences in perspective across different levels of employees.

Use this data to choose effective training methods. Then evaluate each training. Create exit surveys for participants. Test employees to see if they retain information from trainings. The only way to build an effective training system is to evaluate and adapt, over and over again. When you send employees to outside workshops and training sessions, ask for a review of the training and input on whether it was a useful way to spend time. Find out if your company could provide internal trainings that are just as effective, or if the outside perspective is useful. The answers will vary based on your company culture, the expertise you have in house, the expertise in your community, and of course, individual employee learning styles. This is why it will be important for you to invest in ongoing and evolving training. What works one year might not work the next.

Investing in employee development is one actionable way that employers can both improve efficiency and benefit employees. Seeing an employer invest in their employees helps decrease employee depression and generally garners company loyalty. How are you investing in employee training? Share in the comments!