Finding The Right Training Service For Your Employees

It is understandable why any business would want to puts its workforce through training. From increasing their product knowledge and business acumen to becoming better communicators and problem solvers, the potential plus points of training are vast.

However, one of the biggest problems with upskilling employees is the poor return on investment from both a financial and effort perspective. Training can be an extremely expensive exercise, where members of staff don’t actually remember much information. A great deal of money is wasted and personnel are left none the wiser.

Therefore, finding the right training service for employees has become imperative. A lot of the time, the themes and topics being covered don’t always match up with each individual’s job role. Sending every member of staff on a single coaching course might be the easiest option, but this doesn’t exactly guarantee positive results. 

On top of that, a considerable number of teaching and tutoring takes place in uninspiring environments and is structured badly. This results in negative and nonchalant attitudes, which will only have one outcome.

But if a business can take a step back, ask itself a few questions about the reasons for training and implement a tailor-made approach, favourable outcomes will come to fruition.

Things to consider with training

What are the objectives of training?

Or, what do you want your staff to learn? First of all, try to identify gaps in your workforces’ knowledge or find out what areas they struggle with most. From there, you can establish what is required from training and the learning outcomes expected.

Not only does this enable you to focus your attention on the training options that could deliver the best returns, it also ensures no time, effort, money or resources will be wasted.

Who will be receiving training?

Sales staff will have very different personalities to call-centre representatives, so it is important to understand individual personalities and how they might respond to your choice of training program.

In addition to their preferred learning style, you will also need to think about how certain members of staff accept and retain information. Younger employees will no doubt enjoy e-learning more than classroom-based teaching, whereas the older generation might prefer traditional methods such as on-the-job.

How many people will receive training?

Only having a handful of employees makes training much easier, as it can be personalised to unique requirements. Having said that, this also makes things more expensive, as bespoke solutions could be required.

Challenges exist for big workplaces too, as each and every employee will be different. Group training courses might be advantageous from a budget point of view, but this outlay might not yield the desired effect of training.

What is your budget?

Budget constraints is a key issue for countless companies wanting to send staff on training courses, which means this could affect the type of teaching or tuition available. However, the phrase “speculate to accumulate” speaks volumes here.

A lot will depend on your initial objectives and the employees receiving training, but if you manage to choose the right solution, your spend should pale into insignificance to the results generated.

But while these questions can help you identify appropriate themes and topics as well as the staff members deserving of training, you will still need to choose the right teaching techniques and learning environments.

Choosing the right setting and strategy

Even if you choose the right techniques and environments for training, employees might struggle to transfer their new knowledge into the real world. For this reason, it is crucial to establish a safe and comfortable setting, where employees are given freedom to make mistakes without criticism while receiving praise for the positive steps they take.

Some may say that this isn’t conducive for workplace scenarios, as customers won’t be as forgiving or have as much patience. However, training is all about gradual learning rather than the immediate results required at work. 

So, along with skills training, employees must benefit from teaching techniques and learning environments that evoke an emotional response and bring about a behavioural change. It is easy for people to underestimate the psychological challenges they will experience when faced with something new. The same goes for in-the-moment reactions, which don’t come up in training.

Training must understand the emotions staff will experience when going from comfortable learning environments to difficult workplace settings. This can be achieved through role-playing and simulations, but may call for a completely different approach altogether.

For example, spaced repetition learning, which can be implemented through desktop and mobile applications, enables employees to learn in the comfort of their own home or in the actual workplace. This makes the transition much easier and less stressful. What’s more, members of staff won’t be under as much pressure as a classroom environment and can constantly receive approval from completing modules.

Example of finding the right training service

You might not have heard of Apple University, as it is the tech giant’s super secretive internal training program, but this is an example of a company getting their upskilling strategy right.

For starters, training does not last a day or week; it goes on year-round at company headquarters in Cupertino. Employees are familiar and comfortable with the environment, but can easily transfer learning to their individual job roles.

To increase the chances of a straightforward shift, it looks at real-life case studies, like the decision to make iTunes and the iPod compatible with Windows. By covering familiar topics and themes, staff feel more engaged and involved with training.

Apple University also goes beyond simple skills training and looks to alter the way employees think about what is required of them. This involves looking at abstract drawings of Picasso and comparing Apple products to that of its rivals. Again, this is likely to bring about a behavioural change but also correlates to the real world.

Apple knows what it wants from the workforce and has established a training program that makes this possible. But rather than exclusively concentrating on the fundamental principles of teaching, it also envelops emotional responses, which help staff apply new knowledge but also grow in their respective positions. This is one example of how to find the right training service for your employees.

Written by: Persia Shahkarami

Persia is passionate about helping organizations improve employee engagement across their professional development initiatives.
Published: 15 Jun, 2015