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November 2019 | Blog | By: DecisionPathHR


Training: Why, How, and When


Every business has certain functions that may not be completely necessary, that are “nice-to-have,” but not “must-have.” Some that are not essential to your business’ success. Training is not one of these functions.

Presuming, of course, that long-term success and growth are important to your business.

Since it obviously is, we put together some thoughts on why training is so important and different suggestions on how and when it should be done.

Is training important?

The major reasons should jump off the page at you. Training sessions teach new employees the ins and outs of your processes, cut down on mistakes that are made, and ensure they're not going into their new responsibilities blind.

Each new hire should go through a standardized onboarding process to ensure they know everything they need to before they start. Unfortunately, that’s oftentimes where the training stops. One of the major mistakes managers make is neglecting to do any sort of training once the new hire completes onboarding.

Is training important? Why is training so important?

Why is consistent training so important?

Now that we’re asking the right question, we can get to the reasons that directly impact your business.

Develop your trainings with these reasons in mind to provide the best possible experience to your employees.

Identify issues and tailor trainings to combat them

    Problems will inevitably arise at work that your employees will have difficulty overcoming. Many of these issues can be combatted by understanding the challenges they have and creating trainings to combat them.

    This will give your employees the necessary tools to solve the issues and save you time, so you don’t have to continually go back and fix the problem yourself.

Developing your current employees

    Hiring is costly. About $4,000 per hire, actually. That figure alone demonstrates the importance of having a solid training plan. Hiring is an investment and should be treated as such.

    74% of people site a lack of training as the biggest hurdle stopping them from reaching their potential. When you work to develop the people you already employ, you’re investing in the good decision you’ve already made (hiring them), getting them ready to take on more responsibility, and sending the clear message that you believe in them.

    That last one is vital because when employees feel valued and appreciated, they are more engaged at work and tend to go the extra mile for you. And at a time when nearly ¼ employees feel actively disengaged at work, you need to make sure they stay with you.

Not wasting YOUR time

    Poor performance often results when people don’t know what’s expected of them and what, exactly, they’re supposed to do. By investing some time in continuous, relevant training throughout the year you’ll cut down on mistakes made and time lost correcting those (and future) mistakes.

Team-building excecise

    An often-overlooked benefit of training is the effect it can have on not just the individual, but your team as a whole.

    Use the training time to get several people in a room together and learn a little bit more about each other. Kill two birds with one stone by turning a training session into a reason for employees to spend time together. That time will bring everyone a little closer together.

How do I train my staff?

Knowing how your employees best learn and retain information is an important first step in the process of developing your training programs.

It may not always be possible to accommodate everyone but tailoring the trainings to your employees will maximize their effectiveness and ensure you don’t have to continually re-train the same topics.

Learning styles come in all shapes and sizes. For example, some people may prefer hands-on training sessions that are more interactive while others would rather have the process explained to them and take notes that they can refer back to. Some may be visual learners that need the process drawn out in front of them and others may only need to listen to what you say to understand it.

Luckily, there are behavioral assessments that can aid in defining how your team best communicates. For example, at DecisionPathHR we use the DISC assessment, which puts you in different groups based on your tendencies and gives suggestions on how you best receive information.

However you go about it, understanding how your employees like to learn must be the first step for every training session. Once you've done that, you can get into which training methods will be the most beneficial for your staff.

Three Effective Training Methods

Interactive and Group Training

    Groups encourage discussion
    Role-playing possibilities
    Demonstrations > lecture-style training

Many of the benefits of group activities stem from the process of working through problems with other people. Whether it’s group discussions, role plays, or some other kind of demonstration, these high-energy trainings do away with boring lecture-style sessions and get your employees more engaged.

Sharing during these sessions is highly encouraged, but you must make sure that the discussion stays on topic and doesn’t stray too far from the task at hand. Interactive training is the most preferred type of training, followed by eLearning.

eLearning and computer-based training

    Removes in-person facilitator
    Offers professional development
    Go at your own pace

Lessons given online (eLearning) or on the computer can benefit your company in several ways. They can save time, increase retention, and help your team develop the skills they have while teaching them new ones. Just make sure to use some sort of quiz once the training is done to make sure your employees were engaged, and the training was successful.

Functional training (Hands-on training)

    Work directly with what you’re learning
    Learning through active participation

Learning through active participation is similar to the interactive training we mentioned earlier, except with functional training the participants actually get their hands on what they’re learning. Many people retain information best by actually doing the tasks they are being trained on, so it’s a good idea to develop training materials that allow them to work directly with the topic at hand. Developing a job-shadowing process is a good start for this kind of training.

One of our favorite examples of Functional Training is “Lunch n’ Learns.” This type of training is typically lead by one of your senior employees on a topic they are knowledgeable about. It will not only help your other employees engage with the content because it will feel more informal, it will also allow the presenter to gain a better understanding by talking through the process. All during lunch time!

Lunch n’ Learns can be categorized as interactive training or functional, depending on the kind of lesson that’s being given. Regardless of how you categorize them, they are a great way to boost employee engagement.

When should training be done?

In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a study that showed companies with fewer than 100 employees allocate just 12 minutes of training per year, and that number drops to just six minutes for larger companies. To stay competitive in today's job market, that can’t be the case.

Training is an important part of your operations and should be treated as such. Sessions should be scheduled out well in advance to give your team plenty of notice so they don’t have conflicts on their schedules when the time comes.

Typically, it's a good idea to have trainings on a monthly or quarterly basis to make sure everyone is up to date on processes and other developments that occur. For example, if your business introduces a new software you should set aside some time for training on it so everyone on your staff is familiar with the new technology.

If your business is heavily process-oriented it may not be a bad idea to have trainings on a more regular basis, you just need to make sure you aren’t over-doing it because you don’t want them to become monotonous instead of helpful.

No matter how often you train your employees or the type of training you use, you must make sure it is part of your strategy going forward. Retention is often cited as critical to success by hiring managers, and consistent training is one way to show your employees that you value them and want to see them succeed.

For more from DecisionPathHR, check out "Ghosting in the Workplace: Explained"

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