Employee Training – the Ultimate Guide

By Emina Demiri-Watson | Last updated: May 2020

All you need to know to develop bullet proof employee training!

Employee training and development programs are the cornerstone of any successful organization. However, creating, implementing, and maintaining a program that engages and empowers employees can be quite an undertaking. 

This guide illustrates how employee training and development programs are an essential component of any modern organization in 2020 and how to go about designing one.

You can also download your Ultimate Guide to Employee Strategy. 

What is employee training, and why does it matter?

Based on research, if you’re looking to get ahead in 2020 and really drive the success of your business, investing in effective employee training is a must. But what is employee training and development, and why is it so important?

Employee training helps staff to learn specific knowledge or technical skills to improve their performance in their current roles. These educational programs can also be more expansive and include:
soft skills training (such as communication skills, listening skills, and empathy)
hard skills training (such as time management, project management, etc.) aimed toward personal growth and future performance

Impact of employee training graph
Source the Harvard Business Review

Not only does a good training and development program present a prime opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all your employees, but it also helps you to increase staff retention, improve efficiency and production, and grow profit.

Find out more about why employee training is important (5 reasons).

Key elements of an employee learning strategy

A learning and development strategy is a great way to plan and organize how your business will use and deliver employee training. It can also help you to shape the way your business uses digital learning in all its forms – from blogs and videos to webinars and online courses.

But why do some organizations drive real impact and ROI from their digital learning strategies, while others fail to reap the returns?

The bottom line is that they’ve developed a modern digital learning strategy, where online employee learning is the go-to place for answers and learning in their organization, and they’re implementing their employee training program effectively.

There are four key elements of a successful corporate learning and development strategy that delivers real business impact:

Key element 1: Consult and establish clear goals

Establishing clear goals is a must when building any employee training, and can be the difference between developing a program that engages learners and delivers ROI and one that slides into a black hole.

Establish clear goals and collaborate

Two or even three heads are better than one at this stage. Don’t just talk to senior stakeholders about what’s needed. The more you can involve and consult your colleagues and end users, the better. It’ll help you pinpoint a clear and honest set of goals to work toward, as well as how you’re going to measure the success of your employee training initiatives.

It will also help you prioritize which training objectives to tackle first, which ones will be most valued by your employees and which ones will have the biggest impact on your business.

A good way to start gathering this intel is by asking the right questions and creating some user profiles.

Download our Free Capture Needs Template and set up your best employee training project yet!

Key element 2: Choose the right software

The software you choose to deliver your strategy should have your employees’ (not your tech teams) needs at heart and empower them to learn flexibly – i.e., when they want, on the device they want and how they want.

Strive to choose a software that enables you to present even busy and overwhelmed staff with opportunities to improve their performance through carefully selected experiences and resources.

The two main elements to consider when choosing a software are:

  1. The content authoring tool
  2. The deployment method

A content authoring tool is a piece of software that allows you to create elearning content that your employees can engage with.

Once you have the tool to create your content, the next step is to get it to your employees. If you have a small initiative, there are a number of good ways you could do this:

  1. Publish it directly, with its own URL – Create mobile-friendly elearning portals, super fast with Learning Launchpad!
  2. Host it somewhere else, such as on a company intranet
  3. Distribute it via a password-protected website

Alternatively, or if you have a larger initiative, you could look to a Learning Management System (LMS) or a Learning Content Management System (LCMS). These are tools that specifically deploy online learning. More on these later.

Key element 3: Create effective learning experiences and curate content

The success of your training relies on how well your employees engage with it. The biggest driver of this is how accurately your content meets their needs and delivers relevant, personalized and useful learning. But, as we all know, needs change – and sometimes, quite quickly.

The more regularly you can gain insight into how well your training content is performing, the easier it is to curate and improve that content, ensuring you deliver greater impact over time. This is why it’s crucial to build into your strategy the ways that you will use data to frequently measure and refine the elearning experience you offer.

Key element 4: Timing is everything

Building into your employee training strategy when and where employees will engage with training sessions and materials is essential. For example, it’s not going to be effective for an employee to receive training about a new product after it’s launched.

Try putting yourself in your employees’ shoes to work out the most convenient training and accessible method for them.

Also think about whether you “pull” employees to the training (for example, direct them to support pages or training programs) when necessary, or if training is “pushed” to them (such as in emails containing hints, tips or videos) as part of a schedule.

Our Free Analytics Guide shares some of the common trends we’ve spotted from the millions of learners accessing elearning via Elucidat – including the most popular launch times.

Compliance and onboarding best practices

Compliance and onboarding training are MUST DO aspects of employee training programs for any business. However, this critical training is often evaluated as lacking or even boring by employees. It doesn’t need to be this way! Here’s some advice on how you could take your compliance and onboarding training to the next level and use it to create real business impact.

Onboarding

Would you believe that 40 percent of employees leave their positions within the first year due to poor training opportunities?

With stats like that, and the price of losing someone early on costing up to double their salary, it’s not hard to see why you should never underestimate the importance of good onboarding. It’s a prime opportunity for you to win the hearts and minds of new employees with your elearning onboarding  that shouldn’t be wasted.

A strong onboarding experience should help new employees get to know other members of staff and discover how their role fits in with the rest of the workforce. To be effective, it also needs to deliver the right information at the right time. For example, physical orientation (learning where the toilets and cafeteria are) should happen on the person’s first day.

Elearning can be a great help here, making the most of those early days and allowing the new joiner to access the learning when they need it. But also, it gives you peace of mind knowing that everything will be covered consistently. Here are some employee onboarding best practices that we recommend.

    1. Give new employees a warm welcome. The most effective employee onboarding programs recognize that retaining the person you’ve spent time and money recruiting depends on a great introduction, clear expectations and the right support to hit the ground running.
    2. Don’t make it a one-way process. Think about what your new recruit will want and need to get from it, as well as the information you want to convey to them. The experience needs to convince them that they made the right decision and could have a long-term future with you.
    3. Survey relatively new employees about their joining experience. This is our absolute top tip for designing effective onboarding. Try to find out what impression they got of the company, what information they felt was missing, how long it took them to feel at home and when they felt able to do their job well.

If you’re looking for some inspiration and a super-fast way of creating your onboarding make sure you check out the Learning Accelerator. This Elucidat add-on will automatically recommend the best blueprints for your project based on your goals and needs. Have a look at this awesome example of a one-page digital onboarding experience built with a blueprint.

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Compliance training

As mentioned earlier, another element of your employee training that often doesn’t get the love it deserves is compliance training. For too long, people have focused on a tick-box strategy to say that training has been delivered. But most safety incidents, bribery fines and cyber-attacks are the result of human error brought about by everyday bad habits. This is why it is so important to develop effective compliance training that’s people-centered! Help your employees identify bad habits, form new behaviors, and arm themselves with the knowledge they need to make smarter choices.

So, how do you take your compliance training strategy from tick-box to transformational?

Open employees’ eyes and make them care.

Compliance breaches can and do happen to anyone. Take data protection, for example. Two of the top causes of data security incidents in the UK are sending emails to the wrong person and leaving paperwork or data somewhere insecure. We’ve all sent a message in the wrong WhatsApp chat or hit Reply All instead of just Reply, right? For most of us, the consequences of these errors are nothing more than a moment of panic and perhaps embarrassment. But do it in the wrong context, and that small slip-of-the-finger can cause a lot of trouble.

Help employees make good choices.

Will taking a quiz on compliance laws stop someone from clicking a dodgy link in an email? Does someone need to know GDPR inside-out to stop them from being careless with data? Probably not. Instead, offer up practical tips and genuinely useful materials to help them make the right choices in their role. For example:

  1. Emails highlighting how to identify suspicious emails and what to do instead of clicking on the dodgy link.
  2. Posters above the office printer asking people if they really need to print that customer data, and reminding them to shred it rather than trash it afterward

Give them a chance to practice.

Testing employees’ choices in a safe environment allows you to see how employees respond to situations and then offer up feedback, advice and tips that either reinforce their good choice or redirect them from a bad choice. This approach is much more effective at actually making sure learners know what to do (or not do) than drowning them in all the content from the outset.

Sustain behavior changes over time.

You don’t want people to only think about cyber-security or health and safety when they’re sitting in front of your elearning content. You need this to become something that’s embedded in their everyday. Sustained messaging and spaced practice help with this. So, when designing your compliance training strategy, take a long-term view and consider a campaign approach.

For more inspiration, take a look at these compliance training examples that get it right.

Design training your employees will love. Free Elearning Project Template

Review employee training software

When it comes to employee training tools and software, the market can feel like a complex place, making it important to fully understand all your options and thoroughly review any possible candidates.

Let’s start with understanding the complex elearning technology landscape. Should you go for a Learning Management System (LMS), an Authoring Tool, a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) or something totally different? Also, what’s the difference?

Quick recap
  1. An authoring tool enables you (and others within your organization) to produce your own elearning, or digital learning content.
  2. An LMS provides you with a way to host, store, organize and distribute the elearning content you create.
  3. LCMS allows you to create and deliver content, but you cannot host it.

So, how do you tell which is the right employee training tool for you and your organization? Most large organizations have an authoring tool and an LMS in place. There are also several options on the market that offer a suite of tools – combining elearning production and distribution, for example. It really comes down to what you already have and what you need.

We’ve done some of the legwork for you and reviewed 9 of the most popular employee training software in 2020.

Once you’ve got your shortlist of perhaps 2 or 3 viable options, look at each one more closely and ask yourself the following questions to help you make up your mind:

    1. How easy are they to use?
    2. What support do they offer?
    3. What quality of content can you create? Ask the provider to show you examples so you can experience them from the end-users’ point of view.
    4. Do they have the tools to help you easily scale your content?
    5. How well does each tool integrate with the systems you have now, and possibly the future?
    6. Are they cloud-based? This is key, if you’re working with a team to create content, because multiple contributors can work on a project at once with all of their changes being saved.

Above all, make sure you and your colleagues trial any software before using it – it’s the fastest, easiest and most accurate way of finding out if it’s the right software for your learners’ needs.

Summary and FAQ

It’s clear that adopting an effective employee training program is essential for any modern business that wants to succeed. And if/when you do, here are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • The more effective your employee training program, the greater your chance of retaining and attracting top employees, improving your business’ efficiency and production and growing your profits. Making it engaging, people-centered and motivating is key. 
  • A learning and development strategy is a great way to plan how your organization will use and deliver employee training. When designing your strategy:
    • Consult employees and key stakeholders to establish clear goals; it will make all the difference in the success of your program.
    • Keep your employees’ needs in the forefront of your mind when considering the training software you’ll use. It should empower them to learn flexibly.
    • Consider how well the training meets your employees’ needs; the success of your training will rely on it. 
    • Take into account what data and learning analytics you want to gather to tweak and refine training along the way and deliver more impact.
    • Judge when and where your employees will need the training/information. It’s essential to provide your training at times that will be most useful. 
  • Successful compliance training and employee onboarding are important elements of any type of employee training program; don’t dismiss them or opt for dated and ineffective tick-boxing methods.
  • Taking the time to review your employee training software options and trialling them with colleagues before you make any decisions is crucial.

FAQ’s

What is employee training?
Employee training is a program designed to increase the technical skills, knowledge and efficiency of a person to do a specific job in a much better way.

Why is it important? 
Well-trained employees are more efficient, have higher production standards, will retain and grow your customer base and are less likely to leave. Therefore, a better-trained workforce is more profitable. 

How do you train a new employee effectively?
Utilize a variety of interactive training models that cater to different learning techniques. Try blending in-person training and online training, and let employees try out and experiment with their new skills in a controlled environment. Employ methods that allow them to learn at their own pace.

What are your top tips for compliance training?  

  1. Teach employees that compliance breaches don’t just happen to other people.
  2. Make them care. In some circumstances, the smallest mistake can have the biggest consequences.
  3. Help them make good choices through educational experiences, interventions, activities, and resources.
  4. Give them a chance to practice their training in a safe environment where they can receive feedback, advice and tips.

How can I make my onboarding process better?
Make sure you start with a great introduction, clear expectations and the right support so they can hit the ground running. Include what the individual wants and needs to get from it as well as the information you want to convey to them. Survey relatively new employees about their joining experience to get useful insights into how to improve yours.

Book a demo and start your free trail. Elucidat Employee Training