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7 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Employee Training Program

7 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Employee Training Program

Cultivating highly productive and motivated employees requires effective employee development or training programs.  Across every level of responsibility within your company, development plans are a key to success.  Owners should not expect a recently hired employee to perform a role without the right guidance. Employees who are tossed into a new job with little or infrequent development training typically perform poorly because they are missing necessary aspects of their role that enable them to excel.  A recent HR study found that approximately 40% of new employees will quit within the first year if they are not properly trained.  A year without proper training and development is risky; we know that a new team member’s first ninety days is critical to their success long term.

#1) Begin ASAP

Training should begin immediately upon planning for a new position.  The longer you wait to train a new employee, the greater the chance of him or her developing bad work habits. The employee may become complacent in these work habits.  By training new employees immediately, they’ll start off on the right foot. They’ll know how to perform their respective job, so they’ll develop good work habits that contribute to their professional success.

#2) Small Steps First

Training can be overwhelming for new employees. Some companies have extensive training programs that last for several months or longer. While there’s nothing wrong with using a long employee training program, you should break it up into pieces. Take small steps first so that employees can fully digest the information.

Forcing employees to sit through many long and consecutive training sessions won’t work. They may attend the training sessions, but they probably won’t absorb all of the training material. If you break up the training program into smaller segments, employees won’t feel overwhelmed. As a result, they’ll gain more knowledge and information from the training sessions.

#3) Designate Leaders as Trainers

You can leverage some of your company’s existing employees to improve the effectiveness of your employee training program. If an employee exhibits strong leadership skills, he or she will probably be an excellent trainer. Employees with leadership skills aren’t afraid to take initiative. They have an innate desire to do tasks correctly without being told. Therefore, these employees make excellent trainers. They can show new employees how to succeed at their jobs by setting a proper example.

Many new employees are also more comfortable being trained by an existing employee rather than a manager or other high-level professional. They’ll feel less pressured when being trained by another employee. And with less pressure, new employees will acquire more knowledge from the training program.

#4) Encourage Questions

Don’t forget to encourage new employees to ask questions during training. An effective training program requires two-way communication. New employees are bound to have questions about the training material. Maybe an employee wants to know the proper procedure for dealing with customer returns, or perhaps an employee is unfamiliar with the software your company uses. Regardless, you should consider employees to speak up and ask questions during training.

Encouraging employees to ask questions will create a more effective training program. Even if a topic isn’t covered, new employees can learn about it by asking questions.

#5) Reevaluate Training Material

When was the last time you changed your company’s training material? Many companies are guilty of using outdated training material of little or no value. They use the same slideshow presentations, videos and manuals year after year. Unfortunately, outdated training material such as this often leads new employees down the wrong path.

As policies and strategic decisions within your company shift, so will its training methods. To ensure new employees are given the knowledge needed to excel, you’ll have to update your company’s training material. You don’t have to necessarily change your company’s training material each year, but you should reevaluate it regularly to determine whether it needs updating.

#6) Engage in Cross-Training

Cross-training can improve the effectiveness of your employee training program. What is cross-training exactly? It’s a training tactic that involves training employees in two or more jobs simultaneously. If you hire two new employees for different jobs, you may be able to train them together — assuming their jobs are connected in some way. Known as a cross-training, it will benefit both employees.

Many employees are required to communicate with each other. They may have different jobs, but they must work together as part of a team. Cross-training allows you to show new employees how they should work together. You can still train employees on their specific job, but with cross-training, you’ll improve their teamwork skills.

#7) Keep It Going

Training can benefit all employees, including those who’ve been with your company for many years. It’s not something that you should restrict to your company’s new employees. Rather, make training an ongoing process so that your company’s existing employees benefit from it as well.

Ongoing training helps to refresh job-related information in existing employees. Employees can forget how to perform specific tasks over time. With ongoing training, you can correct their bad habits so that it doesn’t harm their productivity or performance. Just remember to update your company’s training material if it’s outdated or otherwise obsolete.

Maria Forbes