How to Make Workplace Training More Valuable

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the following article are those of the guest author and do not represent or reflect Mentor Works Ltd.

It’s official that proper business training and development pays off for everyone – employees, employers and companies. Not only does training develop employee skills, it also has been proven to increase employee engagement and retention levels.

A 2012 study by The Association for Talent Development (ATD), formerly ASTD, showed that employees were 341% more likely to stay in a job longer than twelve months when training and development provided by the employer was rated as ‘excellent’.

This is important for mixed generational workforces, workforces with diverse cultures, and companies that depend on having and retaining skilled talent to keep their company growing.

1. When to Use Training Courses & What Kind of Training to Use

Traditionally, training has focused on developing rigid universal training programs. These are either classroom or online learning courses designed for learners to learn certain aspects of their work. Classroom training is best for highly interactive and interpersonal training or where the subject is complex and requires live discussion.

E-learning is great for mandatory training, knowledge based training, industry related training, and regulatory learning. Often courses are paired with on the job learning to reinforce the training. This is called a blended learning approach.

While courses are still needed at times, there is a continuous learning approach that is recommended to improve performance of both new and existing employees and get everyone up to speed faster.

2. Accelerate Training for the Entire Job to Generate Performance

An alternative approach to the traditional method of training is to use an innovative learning methodology that both trains employees and generates business improvement impact. This continuous learning methodology has been used by Disney, General Electric (GE), Oracle, Siemens, and other leading companies.

The result is an optimized accelerated approach to training, called a Learning Path, that has been proven to get employees up to speed on the entire job in the shortest possible time. It starts on Day 1 when an employee begins a new job and continues until the employee can fully perform the job at the required performance level. Any future employee can follow the same approach no matter when they are hired, so they don’t need to wait around for training. It is also used to improve performance of existing employees and quickly close employee skills gaps. Using this methodology, employees typically get up to speed 30-50% faster.

Unlike traditional training, which attempts to measure any performance impact of training after the training is completed (but often cannot), this approach generates the required performance and key performance indicators (KPIs) of the job function it’s used for. So training is never measured, but all results are measurable as company performance.

This time savings, instead of being squandered as training downtime, immediately starts to contribute to increased revenues and performance. Managers know exactly how and what to do to coach employees at each step because the approach includes a full custom coaching program for that job. Doing training this way also helps to reduce organizational waste, decrease errors, and improve quality and safety levels. The time and cost of training and staffing and retention costs are also reduced.

3. Use Rapid Onboarding to Guarantee Employee Success

There is no better time to acquaint a new employee with your organization and its culture than on their first day of work. Many companies now incorporate an onboarding program for the employee’s first days, instead of simply documenting the employee. This way the employee is rewarded by his or her own confidence of being able to do more of the job sooner and as a result more likely to be satisfied in their workplace.

4. Stop Using Training to Fix Process Problems

While it’s still common for managers to set up remedial training sessions to retrain staff due to error rates or inconsistencies, this practice is very often flawed. Unless the core issue is that employees were not properly trained, employees can become frustrated with this approach because it communicates that they are the cause of the problem.

The root cause is usually a work flow or process improvement problem coupled with an inability or failure of management to correct it. In this case the best solution is to develop a work process and management review to determine the source of the problems. Once the root cause has been identified, fix the process by streamlining, improving, and/or introducing automation or management controls.

In short, these four considerations will go a long way to improving productivity and ensuring you have a content, contributive, and vibrant workplace.

Training Grants to Fuel Workplace Development

Businesses interested in receiving Canadian government funding support towards their training initiatives should evaluate the Canada-Ontario Job Grant. This program covers up to 66% of third party trainer and university/college course expenses and can be used towards a wide variety of training that advances the trainees’ position within the company, responsibilities, employability, and skillsets. Learn more about the Canada-Ontario Job Grant.

Author Profile:


Arupa Tesolin is a recognized training expert and management consultant with over 150 publications in leading training industry magazines internationally. She is the  CEO of VELOCIFIED, experts in accelerating enterprise capability through talent acceleration strategies.

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This is a post by a Guest Author. Disclaimer: The author's views are entirely his or her own, and don't necessarily reflect the opinions of Mentor Works Ltd.

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