5 Elements of an Effective Employee Training Program

By Brian Casey

What does your employee training program look like? If it’s anything like most programs, it probably begins and ends with new employees. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t implement ongoing employee training programs that help their workers hone skills, learn new ones and cultivate opportunities for advancement. 

They should. According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), companies that provide comprehensive training programs experience 24% higher profit margins. Not only that, but a great employee training program can enhance job satisfaction rates and significantly boost productivity.

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Let’s look at five key components your organization will need to implement an effective training program that puts them on the right path to seeing business benefits. 

  1. Microlearning

The average person’s attention span is only eight seconds. Microlearning allows employers to deliver short, specific bursts of content that can hold an employee’s interest. 

The most effective training programs have been designed behind four essential microlearning characteristics. A sound training program should be: 

  • Lean – The solution can’t require an “army” of trainers to implement.
  • Scalable – The solution must align with a large variety of employees across all locations.
  • Simple – The solution must be easy to adopt.
  • Seamless – The solution can’t rely on in-person training.
  1. Multimedia Content

The days of plain-text training materials have long passed. Effective training programs must embrace multi-media content to create a more diverse, engaging, interactive educational experience. Consider implementing at least one of these types of multimedia content in your program to improve training efficacy: 

  • Video – An extremely engaging medium that provides a memorable combination of visual and audio content.
  • Interactive content – This instruction gives employees tasks to complete, such as taking a quiz or poll, or might engage in community boards or game play.
  • Images – Photos, infographics and diagrams can catch trainees’ attention and illustrate concepts better than rote, step-by-step instructions.
  • Audio – Podcasts and other aural-only content are popular ways for employees to learn while performing other activities.

Multimedia not only enhances employee engagement, it also improves learning and saves time by eliminating the hours needed to read mundane (and at times, extensive) training materials. 

  1. Pre- and Post-Training Assessments

Assessments are one of the best ways to determine what your employees need to learn and how well they’re retaining material from the program. Pre-training assessments will help you gauge what your employees already know and what they need to be taught.  Post-training assessment lets you identify who has mastered what curriculum and what segments of your training program need improvement. These three simple tips can help you determine your company’s training needs: 

  1. Ask open-ended questions.
  2. Review how the organization’s training objectives align with how employees perceive their professional development goals.
  3. Perform task- and skill-based assessments that evaluate performance.

To avoid the dreaded “test” mentality many employees associate with evaluations, try using gamification to make assessments more fun and less stressful. 

  1. Easy Delivery and Access

Making training materials easy to access and interact with is essential to an effective training program. That means using learning management system (LMS) to deliver educational courses and training digitally. An LMS is a proven way to increase employee productivity through continued education. It also allows the immediate release of important company content in a cost-effective manner. 

  1. Learning Paths

A Gallup poll found that 87% of millennials say career development is important in a job. It stands to reason, then, your training program should provide professional development opportunities. 

Building defined learning paths will help attract top talent, boost employee satisfaction and improve retention rates while lowering turnover. You can build learning paths into your training program manually, or use tools in your LMS software to create more diverse learning paths that are customized for individual employees or roles within your company. 

An Investment in Your Employees is An Investment in Your Business

Employees are one of your most valuable assets but unfortunately, 74 percent of employees don’t believe they are reaching their full potentialA great employee training program can help improve how employees see themselves in addition to boosting your profitability and encouraging a more productive work environment.

About the Author: Brian Casey’s expertise is in LMS systems and improving the training and development process for organizations. He works with Ironpaper, who regularly contributes TOPYX content, to support the mission of reducing the time and effort it takes to train a workforce to become productive.

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Comments

  1. This is a great foundation for an effective training program, Brian. Nowadays, I think training programs should also include a safe space for practicing newly learned skills. All too often it seems like companies provide training on a new process or product and then expect employees to be experts. Luckily, my current employer, Lessonly gives everyone the chance to apply what they just learned to practice scenarios. I found it grows my confidence and is a great way for my manager to provide effective feedback so I can continue to grow.

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