What is Employee Training Really All About?

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Employee training. It’s something every company has to do but that few really understand. Many companies either don’t recognize what the true purpose of employee training is, or they just don’t do it very well. They offer training that fails to inspire or to truly empower their employees. As a result, they fail to meet their goals for the training. To create effective training, you need to ask yourself what is employee training really all about? Here are a few answers that will guide you to create more effective programming:

Empower Employees and Motivate Them to Do More

Ask any person, “What is employee training meant to do?” and they will likely tell you that it should teach employees the way that you do things at your company. Or maybe that it should teach employees how to operate some new tool or software program that you are introducing. This answer is focused on how the training will benefit the company, and it treats employees like machinery that needs to be programmed to follow a script or a series of commands you punch in with some buttons. The problem is that kind of thinking won’t actually get employees to do what you want them to do. It will get them to do the bare minimum to keep their jobs, but they will otherwise “check out” and even begin to feel resentful. Yes, your training needs to teach employees those skills, but it also needs to be conducted in such a way that it makes employees feel empowered and motivates them to want to do more for your company. A simple way you can do that is to show employees how the new skills will let them take on new responsibilities to prove their value or how those skills will present new opportunities in the future. You can also create new roles for your employees within the training or as a result of it. For example, you can assign certain employees to be facilitators of the training or ongoing resources and support for others going through the training later. This will give those employees the chance to take on a little more responsibility and to show how they can move forward from where they are to help the company do more. Always think of how your training can help employees to grow, and you will be empowering and motivating them, which will make them want to do more for your company and help it thrive.

Reinforce Brand Identity and Company Values

What is employee training if not conditioning to a company’s way of doing things? That extends far beyond tasks and procedures. It also includes conditioning to the company’s culture, including its brand identity and values. Every aspect of your training should reinforce your brand identity. Think of your employees like your customers and your training like your marketing, and make sure that everything from the slide show you use in group settings to the worksheets you hand out have your company logo on them and the proper font type and size, as well as other conformity to other style elements. Ensure that all language is in the voice of your brand and reflects your company values. Explain the reasons for your training in terms of how it reflects your values or strengthens your brand. These things are especially true for continuing training or retraining. Employees can become complacent and can lose sight of your brand identity and values. You need to reinforce these things to motivate your employees anew.

Refresh Company Standards and Management Expectations

What is employee training? Right from the start, it’s about letting employees know about your company standards and the expectations that management has. New employees learn how to do the job by understanding not just how processes and software work, but also how the company expects these tasks to be performed. For example, a fast worker learns not just how to use the cash register, but also how quickly he should take the order and what the process is for handing back change so as to minimize any accounting errors. Training should also reinforce expectations from management, such as that employees should go above and beyond when providing customer service or that they should make executive decisions about resolving customer complaints under certain circumstances. For example, you might let employees know that they are empowered to resolve a customer complaint in whatever way they see fit so long as it doesn’t cost more than $100. Everyone needs a bit of a refresher on these issues from time to time. It’s easy to lose sight of them in the day-to-day grind. Make sure that any training you provide is providing a refresher on your standards and expectations.

Help Employees and the Company Stay Competitive in the Marketplace

Employee training shouldn’t focus on short-term goals like teaching workers the ins and outs of one software system. Instead, it should focus on long-term goals like remaining competitive in the marketplace. By having the most skilled workers, your company will always remain competitive. Your training should not be limited to skills employees need to do the minimum at the job. It should help employees develop skills that will empower them to do more. That way, they can do their jobs better, come up with more innovative ideas, and push beyond the bounds of their 9 to 5. Training that takes the long view like this will also motivate employees to do more, which will bring unexpected yet positive results. You never know where your next great idea will come from, but providing this kind of training will increase the chances that you will get it. Think not just about “What is employee training?” but also what is the goal of employee training?

Getting Everyone on the Same Page about Company Goals and Vision

Do you know your company’s vision for the future? As a manager, you can likely answer “yes.” But how many of your employees do you think can do the same and be right about it? Sure, you may feel like you spend a lot of your time promoting your current goals and your long-term vision, but that doesn’t mean that employees are listening or that they are retaining that information. They need to be motivated in order to care. Your employee training can help to get everyone back on the same page about what the company’s current goals are, as well as what its long-term vision is. Before you can come up with the right answer to “What is employee training?” you need to know the answer to “What are our shared goals and long-term vision?”

Keeping Track of It All with Change Management Software

Once you have the right answers to “What is employee training?” you need to monitor the implementation and success of your program with a good change management solution like WalkMe. The industry-leading software can be used to monitor every stage of your training, as well as your overall change process, from the timeline to the outcome.
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.