What is employee training and why does it matter?
In the digital age, employee training is more important than ever – but different organizations define this term differently.
Below, we’ll learn:
- What employee training is
- Why it is important
- The ingredients of a good employee training program
Plus we’ll look at some of the benefits that come with a great training program.
But first, it’s necessary to properly define the term, so let’s answer the most basic question of all…
What Is Employee Training?
According to many, employee training is the business function designed to teach job skills to employees.
And this is true – employee training should teach employees:
- Job skills. In many organizations, employees are not expected to come into the workforce with a complete skill set. This is especially true in the digital age, where digital literacy has become foundational for success.
- Digital software skills. Digital software changes continually, so employees must regularly learn new software features and functions – which means that organizations must regularly train them.
- Procedures, protocols, and expectations. Each organization will have its own unique processes and procedures. Employee training should also provide this information to employees during onboarding and training.
However, training should set its sights higher.
If HR professionals and organizations just go by this basic definition, they will be leaving a lot of value on the table.
Employee training has the potential to deliver much more profit and performance gains to the organization.
For instance, to be effective and deliver tangible results, employee training should be able to:
- Improve employee proficiency, as well as productivity and performance
- Keep employees skilled and proficient in the ever-evolving digital workplace
- Minimize confusion and frustration caused by complex software and work environments
- Shorten time-to-competency and time-to-productivity
When an employee training program can deliver on these counts, it will have a much greater impact on the organization itself.
Why Should Your Organization Care About Employee Training?
Since employee training directly impacts the workforce’s performance, it ultimately affects the organization’s performance.
Here is why:
- Employee training directly impacts employee proficiency, productivity, and performance
- Employee performance impacts an organization’s performance, its agility, its ability to innovate, and much more
- Training also affects the employee experience, which in turn affects engagement, retention, and the organization’s ability to attract top talent
- Culture is also affected by training, which can be a vehicle for communicating corporate values, expectations, and beliefs
Reasons such as these should compel an organization to develop sophisticated, results-oriented training efforts – after all, only by making such a commitment can training managers achieve such results.
How Do You Create a Successful Employee Training Program?
There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for successful employee training.
However, by focusing on the principles listed below, training professionals will be able to create training programs that add measurable value to an organization’s bottom line.
To be successful, employee training efforts should be…
- Results-focused. To add real, measurable value to an organization, employee training efforts should be focused on clear goals, metrics, and KPIs. Employee productivity and performance metrics, for instance, can be analyzed and used to measure the actual ROI of training efforts.
- Personalized. Each employee will have different aims and needs. The more personalized a training program can be, the more engaged employees will become – and the better they will perform. Digital adoption platforms (DAPs) are ideally suited to modern training, because they are able to personalize training at scale.
- Interactive. Interactive training is more engaging that static content, such as text. It is also more engaging that visual content, videos, or audio material. Software walkthroughs are good examples of interactive training content – they require users to actually perform a set of actions directly inside the context that they are learning, which greatly enhances engagement and productivity.
- Experiential. Experiential training approaches allow trainees to “learn by doing.” And because trainees can experience the material they are studying in its native context, they will skill past abstract theory and move straight to the productivity stage.
- User-centered. User-centered design is a well-known approach in the field of design. Like agile or lean, it places a great deal of emphasis on user needs, and builds entire processes, products, and services around users. Applying this same principle to employee training can help trainers design programs that are relevant the two parties that matter most – employees and the organization.
- Digitally-oriented. The modern workplace is quickly becoming digital. This means, of course, that training should aim to create and maintain a workforce that is digitally capable. To keep up with the digitally evolving work world, however, organizations should make use of the latest advances in digital training, by exploiting tools such as digital adoption platforms.
In the digital age, it is more important than ever to use modern tools and strategies – focusing on the principles covered above is a good place to start.
For more information on employee training and digital adoption, be sure to visit our digital adoption blog.