In this article we’ll look at employee training do’s and don’ts – that is, 5 best practices that can improve results and 5 pitfalls that can ruin your training efforts.
As many HR professionals know, employee training is a must-have business function in the digital economy.
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A good training function, after all, can…
- Improve employee productivity and performance
- Lower onboarding friction
- Increase employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention
- Boost organizational effectiveness
Among other things.
The right training program, in other words, adds measurable bottom-line value to a business.
However, if training professionals aren’t careful, the wrong mistakes can ruin training efforts … and training outcomes.
10 Employee Training Do’s and Don’ts
Following these 10 tips can help transform the results of an employee training program.
To start, let’s look at some “employee training do’s” – or principles that every trainer should be following in the digital era.
1. Commit to a structured training effort
The most fundamental step to take is to actually commit to a structured training program.
Though many training professionals and HR professionals may see training as an obvious necessity, not all organizations formally train their workforce.
If an organization doesn’t actually make this commitment, then a number of problems result:
- Informal training efforts almost always produce poorer results than formal, structured training programs
- If training programs aren’t formally structured, then they cannot be measured
- Programs that aren’t measurable can’t be improved
Only when an organization and its leadership have committed to a formal training effort, in other words, is it possible to see real, measurable ROI from those training efforts.
2. Set measurable, achievable goals
To generate real returns, training programs must be:
A straightforward process that can achieve these ends would follow a set of key steps, such as:
- Set goals
- Derive metrics and KPIs from those goals
- Make improvements
The ability to measure a program is essential, both to optimize a program and to demonstrate its value to stakeholders.
3. Use digital adoption platforms (DAPs) and other modern training software
Today, the majority of workplaces are becoming digital, and digitalization is only set to accelerate in the years to come.
Digital adoption platforms (DAPs) are advanced software training solutions that offer a number of invaluable features, including:
- Software walkthroughs
- App analytics
- Product tours
The right training software can completely transform a training program, resulting in improved employee productivity, increased engagement, and higher software ROI.
4. “Micro-train” throughout the entire employee journey
Training should be provided throughout an employee’s life cycle, starting on day one.
By providing continuous micro-training, training professionals can:
- Begin training early, helping employees become more competent early on in their tenure
- Improve employee skills continuously throughout their career at an organization, without detracting from worker productivity
- Maintain a consistent training experience that doesn’t distract from work duties
By providing micro-training at each stage of the employee life cycle, employees will feel less overwhelmed and frustrated – and, as a result, they will learn more effectively and perform better.
“Setting and forgetting” an employee training program should be avoided at all costs.
There is little value, after all, in setting goals and creating metrics if those aims are not optimized over time.
To optimize efforts:
- Continually track performance against KPIs and metrics
- Learn from that information and identify problems
- Make adjustments
With regular optimization and a willingness to change, employee training program results can see significant gains over the long term – or even in the short term.
Next, we will look at 5 pitfalls that can ruin training efforts if training managers are not careful.
1. Use obsolete training methods
In the digital age, not all training methods are created equal.
For instance, the following training methods are ill-suited to enterprise software training:
- Classroom training
- One-on-one tutoring
- Massive open online courses
For best results, use in-app training, such as software walkthroughs and digital adoption platforms.
2. Be informal
As mentioned, a structured training program can deliver the most value.
“Informal” or unstructured training efforts, however, cannot be measured or improved upon.
However, some businesses view formal training as an expense, relying instead on:
- Ad hoc training
- Learning on the job
Learning on the job can be an effective training approach – because employees learn from direct experience – but only if that training is structured.
Teaching employees to swim by “throwing them in with the sharks” can have a number of negative effects and even create a hostile work environment.
3. Disconnect training efforts from organizational performance
To see real gains from employee training efforts, it is important to aim beyond “course completion.”
Instead, it is important to focus on more important metrics that lead up to and contribute to organizational performance, such as:
- Employees’ time-to-competency
- Overall software proficiency
- Employee productivity
- The performance of business units
- Software ROI
- Organizational performance
By creating a chain of metrics such as this, it will be possible to see and demonstrate a connection between employee training and its impact on organizational performance.
4. Forget to personalize
Employee training should be personalized to meet the needs of individuals as much as possible.
- Providing training material suited for an individual’s specific job role
- Adjusting difficulty levels to meet employees’ needs
- Help employees with skill sets that meet their long-term career needs
Personalization not only increases employee engagement, it also reduces the amount of irrelevant information that employees have to wade through as they study.
5. Stop growing
Finally, training managers, HR professionals, and others involved in employee training should never stop learning.
Professionals should study areas such as:
- Employee training methods and techniques
- The employee experience
- HR onboarding processes
- Digital adoption and digital transformation
Subjects such as these will help interested professionals improve their skills and, most importantly, design training programs that are effective and profitable.