Providing training for employees is both time-consuming and costly so ensuring that the training is as effective and productive as possible, is important.
Get it right and the training can drive productivity and employee satisfaction and is a great investment.
Here are 10 tips to help you make your training more effective!
1. Consider the Different Learning Styles
Each employee will have their own learning style (according to pedagogy), so it is a good idea to work to make sure that the training you provide is dynamic in terms of the types of teaching/learning styles it includes.
The training ideally will include, for example:
- Visual aids (PowerPoint is a great option here) – as many people find it easiest to learn by seeing things.
- Verbal – for some learners, listening to a teacher or trainer is the optimum way in which they take in information.
- Collaboration – working with others and collaborating can work really well for some people and the use of team-building games, icebreakers, and team tasks can work really well in training.
It is worth noting that we do not learn just from one style but from a mix of styles and thus a good training session will involve a mix of teaching styles.
Make sure to provide visual cues, some activities, the chance for the participants to work alone and in teams, and do some teaching verbally.
2. Choosing the Right Trainer
There is often the feeling that the best person to provide training is the SME (Subject Matter Expert) on the topic that you are providing training for.
Many experts in a specific area though, whilst incredibly knowledgeable in the given topic, are often not experts in teaching.
With well-designed training (i.e., training that has a well-designed Powerpoint slide deck with clear teaching notes and with good teaching guides and notes) it can oftentimes be more effective to have a highly experienced trainer to deliver the training.
By choosing the right trainer, the results of the training will be delivered such that it will be more productive and provide you with better results!
If you can find a subject matter expert who is also experienced in providing training and a good teacher then this will of course be the most ideal scenario.
3. Make Sure You Are Providing the RIGHT Training and Filling the Skills Gap
For training to really be effective and productive you have to actually be providing the right training in the first place!
This might perhaps sound obvious, yet many companies fail to undertake any skills gap analysis to properly understand exactly what training staff really need.
This training can be separated into various types including:
- Job task skills – skills they really need in order to do their specific job role effectively
- Leadership and Management Training – meaning training that helps those who manage others to develop their people management and leadership skills
- Integration and Ethical Training – employees need to feel a part of the team and the company and in this area topics such as Inclusion training and other diversity and equality topics can be very useful to provide.
- Induction (Onboarding) training – it is essential to help new employees settle as quickly and effectively as possible, to avoid the substantial costs involved with rehiring and retraining staff. The greatest percentage of staff who quit tend to be staff who are within the first 90 days of their new job.
- Compliance and Safety – Certain jobs also require compliance and/or safety training.
It is worth using the one-to-one meetings you will have with your employees to try and understand what training:
- they would like
- they need
- they have had previously
What gap exists in their training?
4. Get Feedback on the Training You Provide
One of the easiest and most obvious ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the training you provide is to get feedback after each session or workshop.
Ensure that you have a feedback form that participants in the training session can fill in.
The best way to get the best feedback is to allow participants to complete the feedback form anonymously.
You are far more likely to get honest feedback if people do not have to provide their name.
Also, allow them time to complete the forms, so you might want to hand out the forms 15 minutes or so before the end of the training session so that they have plenty of time to complete it.
Remember to treat any and all feedback positively as whatever the feedback, it helps you to shape better training in the future.
5. Choose the Right Venue
For training to be productive and for the training day to go well, it is essential you create the right conditions for the day.
You need to consider:
- is the temperature and airflow, i.e. fresh air good (you don’t want participants to be uncomfortable and distracted)?
- is the seating layout the best layout for the type of training you are giving?
- does the set-up of the classroom aid effective learning?
- have you provided information such as building access and parking to participants ahead of time, i.e. by email?
In addition to ensuring that you have created excellent teaching materials, make sure to also take care of the venue and training environment, where the training will take place.
6. Evaluate the Results of the Training
In addition to getting feedback from the participants, if you can measure the effectiveness of the training, you can then work further toward making the training even more productive.
The way in which you can evaluate the effectiveness of training will really depend on the type of training you are providing. Some examples though are as follows:
- Customer service training – for this, you can measure customer feedback and complaints numbers to see if the training is proving to be effective or not.
- Employee satisfaction – employees can often feel excluded or unhappy for a number of reasons. By providing training that offers them skills they feel need for career development, or to feel that the workplace is an inclusive one, you can meet this satisfaction level. Measuring employees’ satisfaction, such as through annual meetings can provide useful data on training effectiveness.
- Skills gap – re-evaluate the skills gap regularly (such as annually) to evaluate if you are filling this gap.
7. Make Training Available to All Employees
Traditionally, it was necessary for participants to be available to attend training at a specific venue on a specific day.
Now, with distributed teams, employees are working from various locations geographically (including in an office space or at home, or as remote workers or digital nomads) and so training needs to be more openly available for all.
In fact, as part of your inclusion planning, this idea of ensuring that all employees have equal and fair access to training is important.
In essence, to make training truly effective, you need to make the training available to all who need it.
You might want to consider the following, i.e. providing:
- training in a classroom where participants attend
- live online training such as via Zoom or MS Teams (including covering different timezones)
- making training available 24/7 via asynchronous learning (self-learning)
8. Customize the Training to Match the Participant’s Needs
To make the training even more effective and productive, it is worth the effort to make training as close to the needs of the participants as possible.
The training can be tweaked, for example, to make it suitable for:
- managers and team leaders – so there’s more of a management angle on the training
- a specific team – i.e., you can make a point to include case studies that match the team, e.g. sales examples if you are giving soft skills training to sales staff
9. Use the Right Terminology
Following on from point 8 above and customization, one of the issues that I sometimes see in training sessions I have attended as a participant, is the training not being customized in terms of terminology for the audience.
If you are providing training for a group of doctors, for example, then using a medical discourse (terminology that doctors tend to use), you then have a better opportunity to make the training seem more relevant to your audience.
10. Make Sure to Offer Some Form of After-Training Support
Some employees will be too shy to ask questions during the training, whilst other employees might have questions that they think of afterward.
Whatever the reason for the questions, the participants ideally should have some way to ask follow-up questions.
If participants are keen to explore the learning further, it suggests that they will also get more out of the training!
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