What Is Employee Training & Development
Page Updated on April 22, 2022
Employee Training and Development can be defined as activities that aim to improve employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities. It enables employees to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.
Furthermore, it can also include training and development that improves equality, diversity, inclusion, and mental health awareness for employees. It not only improves work effectiveness and efficiency, but can also help to create a happier, more balanced, and fairer workplace, in addition to helping employees with their own career paths and future. (Definition by Dr. Paul Symonds)
So, to delve further, the training and development will be for a variety of reasons including to teach employees:
- on the job skills
- induction and onboarding
- management skills
- team-building skills
- workplace EDI (equality, diversity, and inclusion)
- career development skills
- mental health and well-being skills
As you can see, there are a number of types of training that can be provided.
Benefits of Employee Training and Development
Employee training and development is a key element for any successful organization.
By investing in the professional development of your employees, you can create a more engaged and productive workforce and these benefits can include the following:
1. Enhanced Employee Engagement
When employees feel like they are constantly learning and growing in their roles, they are more likely to be engaged in their work.
Learning and development opportunities can help to keep your employees motivated and interested in their jobs, which can lead to a more productive and positive work environment.
2. Increased Staff Retention
If you invest in your employees’ professional development, they are likely to be more loyal to your organization.
By being offered training and learning opportunities, your employees are likely to feel more appreciated. This can lead to lower turnover rates as employees want to stay in a company that cares about their development.
3. Greater Company Competitiveness
In order to stay competitive in today’s economy, it is essential to continually invest in your workforce.
The more skilled and professional your workforce is, the more you, as a company, will naturally become more competitive.
You need to provide the skills for your employees to succeed and flourish.
4. Improved Customer Service
Another benefit of employee training and development is improved customer service.
By equipping your employees with the skills they need to better serve your customers, you can improve your organization’s overall customer satisfaction levels.
This can lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals for your company.
5. Improved Job Performance
Through employee training and development, you can provide your employees with the skills and knowledge they need to improve their job performance.
This can lead to increased productivity and efficiency, as well as improved quality of work.
In turn, this can benefit your organization as a whole by helping to achieve better results.
How to Measure the Success of Employee Training and Development Programs
Employers invest a lot of money in employee training and development programs, but how can they be sure that these programs are actually successful?
Here are a few tips for measuring the success of your training.
1. Evaluate the impact of the Program on Employee Productivity
This can be done by comparing the pre-program productivity levels with the post-program productivity levels.
If there is a noticeable increase in productivity, then the program was successful.
2. Evaluate the Impact of the Program on Employee Satisfaction
This can be done by conducting surveys before and after the program to gauge employees’ attitudes about it.
If there is an increase in satisfaction, then the program was successful.
3. Evaluate the Impact of the Program on Employee Retention
This can be done by tracking how many employees leave the company after completing the program.
If there is a decrease in employee turnover, then the program was successful.
4. Evaluate the Impact of the Program on Employee Skills
This can be done by assessing employees’ competencies before and after the program.
If there is an increase in skills, then the program was successful.
5. Evaluate the Cost-Effectiveness of the Program
This can be done by comparing the cost of the program with its benefits.
If the benefits outweigh the costs, then the program was successful.
Evaluating the success of employee training and development programs can be difficult, but it’s important to do it in order to ensure that your investment is paying off.
Types of Employee Training and Development Programs & Methods
Training and Development can be categorized in a few different ways and these are according to the:
- style and way of delivering the training (such as on-the-job training or mentoring)
- sector/type of training (such as soft skills training or safety training).
The styles can include the following:
- Instructor-led training
- Simulation employee training
- Hands-on training
- Coaching or mentoring
- Group discussion and activities
- Management-specific activities
- Case studies or other required reading
When we talk of training and development in terms of the type of training, it will largely depend on the type of business you are in, the size of the company, and what you are trying to achieve.
Are you looking to improve a person’s specific job skills and role, improve the equality balance, or help managers for example? The types of training here include:
- Job skills – skills related specifically to a certain job role (so on the job training might suffice)
- Soft Skills – skills that help us in our role and as a team member and/or leader (such as communication skills and emotional intelligence)
- Professional and Legal – these can include training in areas such as DDA, and tax training
- Teamwork and team building – to aid team cohension and the resulting productivity this helps to create
- Managerial – especially for first-time managers (because many new managers are promoted and come from a backghround with no management training)
- and Safety Training
Examples of Training and Development Programs
Taking managerial and management training as an example, there is often a particular need to provide training for first-time managers (see our 10 Tips for first-time managers here).
Popular programs that you can provide for your first-time managers include:
Many new managers have risen through the ranks within a company and, as a result, they have not been trained in certain management skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Training Method for Employees?
There is not a one size fits all approach in that there is no one specific right way to provide training.
The best method will depend on your own specific company needs, budget, and resources (such as available time for employees to do the training).
A rule of thumb though is that money spent on training that is done well should pay for itself in the long-term, through improved productivity and a happier and more balanced workforce and workplace.
Why Is Training Employees Important?
Without the opportunity to advance and move forward, employees tend to get despondent and become unfulfilled.
Training, on the other hand, helps employees to feel valued (because you spend money on training them and help with their career development), and it helps them to genuinely improve their skills which in turn enables them to do a better job.
Furthermore, training in areas such as inclusion and equality helps to create the type of balanced workforce that is ideal for a productive and happier set of employees.
If you are a forward-thinking dynamic company that cares about its employees, then you will want to provide training and development!
What Should a Training Plan Include?
It will vary as to what you need but we personally suggest the following (and these are what we include with our training course materials):
- PowerPoint PPT slides – clear and well-designed ppt slides, making use of bullet points, white space and good graphics.
- Training room activities – some learners learn best through activities and combined with direct teaching, this helps to make the learning more fun and interesting.
- A rough breakdown of the timings for each section you will teach.
- Any necessary handouts – such as handouts for activities.
- Teacher notes
- Other documents such as sign in sheet (to sign in attendees so that you can see who attended) and Feedback sheet (always worth having so that you can further improve future training)
What Are the 5 Steps in the Training and Development Process?
Some people in the education industry consider there to be five key steps in the training and development process, whilst others consider there to be seven.
We tend to use the 5-step approach and these steps are as follows:
- Step 1 – Identification and Assessment: To start off, you will need to decide what help employees need in terms of development. So you need to understand what skills they have and what skills gaps there are within your organisation. These skills gaps should also include gaps in the team as a whole, to include gaps in things such as the group communication levels, their understanding around mental health awareness, diversity and inclusion, and intercultural communication.
- Step 2 – Set the Objectives: You will next want to consider the company’s overall goals and needs and match this against the skills gaps. In other words, what training is needed in order to train staff to match the goals of your company? From this, you can set out a plan on what training to prioritize for staff.
- Step 3 – Planning and Design: Step three involves planning the designng the training. You will want to keep in mind the audience for the training so that you can deliver training that matches their existing knowledge and expertise. Try also to ensure that the training is designed well in terms of pedagogy, i.e. to include different learning styles. Include visuals, activities, and other forms of teaching in the training design.
- Step 4 – Training Delivery: Then comes the actual delivery of the training and development itself. You may wish to use your own in-house trainers, or you can bring in someone externally who is an expert in their field.
- Step 5 Assessment and Revision: After any training takes place, it is essential also to evaluate the successes and failures so that you can learn for future planning. You will also want to now revise from stage 1 again and decide what training is now needed. It is a continous process!
What Happens if Staff are not Trained?
At the very least, it is essential that on-the-job training is provided to at least ensure that the employee can effectively do the job they have been hired to do.
Specific job skills are essential and yet it can often be weeks or months before some staff get the proper training they need. I’ve seen it happen in numerous companies.
With no training in other areas, there is a much greater chance that you will have a less effective workforce, especially if there is a lack of training to:
What Are the Disadvantages of Training and Development?
One might argue that there are some disadvantages to providing training and development and these are:
- Time – without question, time is a factor that can put many companies off providing training. Having key employees off for a 2-day training program does not suit all companies. In recent years, I have seen a drive towards shorter training programs, i.e. including 2-hour and half-day training sessions. Also, providing training online is another option to save the participants travel time. Online training also makes the training much more accessible for more people.
- Cost – it is not always cheap by the time someone has spent time evaluating the training needs and skills gaps, planned, designed, and executed the training. There is a certain cost involved and this can be a stumbling block for many companies.
The key to seeing through the time and cost issues is to evaluate the expected long-term benefits to you as a business.
What Is the Future for Training and Development?
We recently wrote a post dedicated to Learning and Development Trends for 2022 and in the Future for the Training Industry, that you might want to take a look at.
Valeria has been involved with education for over 16 years. She has taught in the UK at the University of Bath and Cardiff Metropolitan University (where she got her PhD), in addition to working as a researcher at Exeter University. Valeria additionally has several years of experience of also working with Ofsted and Cardiff University in management roles & is she is the founder of Symonds Training.