Employee Training 101: 3 Rules Every Training Expert Follows

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Effective employee training is crucial to productivity. We all know that. It’s employee training 101. Yet, plenty of organizations struggle to deliver effective training to their staff. Commonly, their training is neither cost-effective nor successful. Also, we often hear that employees dislike training. Their most common objections tend to be:
  • It is boring
  • They don’t have time for it
  • It doesn’t work
Employee training is often delivered in a monotonous voice by somebody at the front of a room. Employees take time out of their day to attend. They sit opposite, bored and frustrated. Worse still, they feel like their time is being wasted. In these conditions, staff are not in the right frame of mind to receive information. And when it’s delivered in a dull manner, it’s not surprising that it is soon forgotten.

A common mistake in employee training

Training managers struggle to combat the boredom factor. Often, they resort to free food or other incentives to make it more appealing. But this is also usually a mistake. These gimmicks are often distractions. And they can be expensive. They detract from the key learnings of the training. And ultimately, they’re unnecessary. Training Managers need to go back to basics. We have looked at the latest industry trends and insights from leading experts in the field. We’ve distilled our findings into 3 essential rules. These golden rules will help you cut the fat from your employee training and get results. This is our employee training 101.

Employee training 101: 3 golden rules

1. Get organized

This might sound obvious, but it’s our employee training 101 number one rule. Employee training expert Julie Winkle Giulioni agrees. She advocates using action plans to track success.

“Learning efforts fall short…if we don’t [bring] the learning to life. Action planning is what does this, bridging insights and intentions to results.”

HR & Learning expert Hawley Kane also recommends good organization. Whether delivering formal or informal training, she says:

“Disorganized learning is ineffective learning.”

So take the time to plan, prepare and be strategic about your employee training. It will benefit the business in the long run.

2. Be current

The 2017 Training Industry Report reveals nearly half of all training hours happen in a classroom setting. But is this really the most cost-effective, engaging and efficient way to train staff? Unlikely. Encouragingly, the same report shows that technology use in employee training is growing. Of course, online training is a huge part of this. Some key business areas are leading the way in employee training online. Ninety-one percent of sales training and 77% of IT systems training is delivered online. This allows you to reach many more staff, compared to traditional training methods. It’s geographically flexible and cost-effective. So this upward trend is no surprise.

3. Consider your audience

This is a golden rule for any sort of communication, not just training. Imagine you’re in a restaurant with some friends. You’re telling them a story about what you did the previous evening. Maybe it’s a funny anecdote. Later that night, you get home and spend some time with your children. You tell them the same story — but you wouldn’t tell it in the same way would you? You’d adapt it to suit your audience. Here’s a shocking statistic from Learning Solutions magazine.

“Nearly 90% of the knowledge you impart to your employees during training will be forgotten within a week.”

Why? Because it’s not engaging. Adults don’t like to be lectured. We don’t want to feel like we’re back at school. We want to be engaged. Effective employee training is all about active learning experiences. That doesn’t mean running a relay race with your coworkers! It means employees are engaged in the learning process. They learn by doing. This video outlines the most important elements in effective adult learning:
  • Engagement
  • Experience
  • Feedback

Adults like to put their learning into practice and take ownership of their training. And there are various tools and techniques out there that allow employees to do this. Some online tools achieve the sort of interactivity adults need very successfully.   Real-time employee training delivered online also combats the “90% forget” curve. Employees are much more likely to remember the information because they receive it at the exact moment they need it. And they put it into practice straight away.    So, that’s our employee training 101 (with help from the experts). Read these 6 further tips for improving employee performance.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.