Eight DOs and DON’Ts of Employee Training

Posted on Friday, August 15, 2014 By Diana Bourgeois

Often, employers hesitate to start a training program because they are unsure about the benefits of training employees. Many employers are plagued by the thought of investing company dollars into educating and training employees that might use their newfound skills to find another job. While this is always a possibility with a small percentage of employees, it can cost a company more to have employees that are unmotivated or untrained for their selected positions.

While the ASTD estimates that the annual cost to train an employee per year is around $881, the estimated cost of replacing an employee is $500 to $2000 per position depending on salary grade and level. Providing employees with training and new skills has several added advantages to the company and the employee, such as motivation, feeling of company investment, and increase productivity.

While initiating a training program can meet with resistance from both executives and employees due to the investment of time, resources and money, these eight Dos and Don’ts will help develop a strong training program that leads to success:

  1. Do REQUIRE. When employees are required to attend training programs as part of their employment, the company sets an expectation of higher level skills and performance from their employees. Making training a requirement of ongoing employment and promotion gives all employees that message that the company values continuing skill development enough to allocate employee time and resources.

  2. Do IMPLEMENT. One of the biggest mistakes that employers make in training of the employees is to commit time and resources to creating new skill sets without a plan to implement and use those skills. When employees are not allowed to use the skills that they have learned and training sessions, they received a message that training is only an exercise.

  3. Do TEST. Throughout any educational process, there is always a time of learning followed by a time of testing. When employees are consistently challenged to use their new skill sets, their new skills replace the old skills and become honed to sharpen performance. The testing process also reinforces that the company values the training enough to follow up on the process.

  4. Do CELEBRATE SUCCESS. The opportunity to celebrate graduation from training series or show recognition were successful completion of a training course should be taken for every employee. Celebrating the successes shows employees that the company is proud of their accomplishments and helps motivate them to strive for higher successes.

  5. Do NOT PUNISH. In many company cultures, training is portrayed as a punishment for lack of skills or poor performance. When companies strive to make training an ongoing part of employee growth and development, the improvement of skill sets can be seen as a reward and incentive; hence boosting motivation and ownership of the educational process.

  6. Do NOT Be INCONSISTENT. In some instances, companies to segregate training programs to lower level employees or non – executive positions. This type of training program reinforces a negative belief that training is not a part of natural growth inside of a company culture. When training is consistently applied across all levels of the company, all employees perceive training as an important part of employment because everyone has to meet the same measurement of success.

  7. Do NOT CANCEL. Often times, companies tend to cancel training programs after short period of time or be negligent in implementing training due to time constraints. This gives employees the impression that training is not taken seriously inside of the company culture and that they can “wait it out” because the train will not last. The decision to invest in employee training should come with a long-term setup milestones and goals designed to engage employees in the training process and promote buy-in as early as possible.

  8. Do NOT ASSUME. Some of the input when deciding the topics and openings for advancement with employee training can be an opportunity for engagement. By asking employees what training would benefit them the most, the company allows the employee to invest in their own growth and design a training program around their deficits and interests; therefore, increasing employee participation and investment in a training program.

While there is little doubt, employee training implements a reward system based on growth and development of new skills. The failure of employee training rests with the company culture and the rollout of expectations for training implementation, execution, and follow-up. When employees understand their goals and mission for participating in training programs, then their ability to take ownership and pride in the training increases together with their skill sets and performance.

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