Before anyone does something new for the first time, they need to learn how. In a work environment, this often comes down to staff training. Whether it’s for a new hire or long-time employee, the benefits of employee training and development are far-reaching for both the employee and the organisation.
With adequate preparation, resources, and support, employees can achieve their optimal performance. Here, we will answer, “why is staff training important?” and look at training methods for employees.
What is Staff Training?
Staff training looks different for everyone and is highly dependent on one’s position and goals. Staff training can include a step-by-step course, instructor-led training, e-learning, conferences, lectures, group discussions, or role playing, to name a few.
Staff training often consists of a mixture of techniques. Once you start working with a particular staff member, you’ll be able to gauge and understand more about their desired learning style to see which method works best for their training.
Why is it Important to Train Staff?
The employees who are most satisfied with their jobs are those who are engaged with their work, which means that they show up motivated to perform at their highest potential and they see the value that they provide to the organisation as a whole.
Employees also want the opportunity to grow and develop in their role. In order to do so, they’ll need to be constantly learning and evolving so that their skills are expanding to grow with the company.
When employees feel like they have room for growth and can set higher goals within the organisation to accomplish, they will be less likely to look for a new job elsewhere. Most importantly, they will be able to align their own goals with the goals of the company to create great outcomes for all.
At the same time, training staff has an effect on their mental wellbeing. When a person feels like they are lacking the knowledge or skills that they need to do well, they will have less confidence and may end up being hard on themselves or blaming themselves.
By adequately training staff, you can positively impact their mental wellbeing. And how do you know where their mental wellbeing stands? Organisations are utilising employee wellbeing tools for this purpose. These tools can help you get a picture of how employees feel and what impacts how they feel, so you can take preventative action.
What are the Advantages of Staff Training?
Staff training impacts your organisation on an individual and group level. With skilled employees who are prepared for the job, you’ll reap upsides like:
- Increased productivity
- Enhanced efficiency
- Opportunities for growth
- Transparency in company structure
- Autonomy in role
We can’t help to mention again that you will also have a happier workforce. There’s no doubt that it’s a goal for every organisation.
How To Choose Staff Training?
Everyone has their own preferred learning style. To implement staff training that is tailored to individual preferences, you’ll first need to understand their learning styles (you can do this by surveying or holding a meeting, for example). At the very least, you’ll want to devise staff training programme that blends different learning styles together so that everyone has the opportunity to benefit.
Learning styles can be categorized into the acronym VARK, which stands for visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. You can dive even deeper into learning styles here.
When it comes to staff training, active learning includes doing, testing, exploring, and using initiative. If employees prefer these methods, you can consider individual workshops, mentorships, simulation, e-learning, or project work, for example.
For passive learners who would rather observe, review, interpret, and question, then you may want to consider networking opportunities, evening classes, job shadowing, and seminars.
Why is it Important to Think About Skills When Recruiting?
When recruiting a new hire, it’s possible to break down the skills that are necessary for the role into hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are the technical requirements and job-specific skills. Soft skills are those like communication, time-management, critical thinking, public speaking, teamwork, etc.
When recruiting, it is definitely important to consider skills, but there’s something even more important. That is, a recruit’s attitude and willingness to learn, along with their mental fitness.
Mental fitness refers to their level of resilience and ability to face and overcome challenges or problems. You can utilise an employee wellbeing platform to help employees develop and strengthen their mental fitness, much like you use staff training to help employees hone their hard skills for the job.
While skills training can make the difference to transform a new employee into an expert in their role, it will require that the employee is open to learning in the first place.
What Training is Needed?
Before you implement different types of staff training, you should find out what’s needed by conducting what’s known as a training needs analysis (TNA). It helps you discover where learning and skills gaps exist so that you can take initiative to fill them.
You begin by gathering information through employee surveys, company meetings, reading customer feedback, and making observations. You can also use a performance management system, capability assessment, and speak with managers, as these are all key places to understand any skills that may be lacking.
Then, you’ll need to assess where skills currently lie, where you need them to be to achieve business goals, and deduce the distance of the gap between the two. Involve your employees in the process by asking them what they need to get from where they are to where they need to be.
What is the Right Training Method for Staff?
Once you have conducted your TNA (training needs analysis), then you’ll have a better idea of what you need to support your employees’ to reach their maximum potential. A few considerations to keep in mind when planning your training programme include:
- In-house versus external training
- The amount of time you’ll need for training
- The business benefits of training
- The cost associated with training (keep in mind there’s the cost of training itself and the opportunity cost)
Some training methods for employees are:
- Job shadowing
- Evening classes
- Study leave
What are Core Employability Skills?
Core employability skills are foundational skills that are transferable across job titles. They are the types of skills that all employers will seek when hiring because they signal that an employee can be adaptable, proactive, and capable of fulfilling whatever role they are in.
Some core employability skills are communication skills, problem-solving, team working, organisation, ability to learn, self-motivation, resilience, dependability, and maintaining emotional control. When you take a look at these core employability skills, they all have one main thing in common, namely the impact that one’s mental wellbeing has on these skills.
Core employability skills can be taught and learned, but ultimately, it will require that employees’ mental fitness is well cared for and made a focal point on a consistent basis. To care for your employees’ mental fitness, you can implement an employee wellbeing tool that provides resources to increase resilience and train their subconscious mind to develop positive reactions to real-world scenarios.
What are the Types of Staff Training?
Now that we’ve looked at the different methods of staff training, it makes sense to review the types to decide what’s best to implement for your team.
In-house training happens on-the-job and is training that’s provided by the organisation itself, whether formally or informally Even without a big budget, a business can offer inhouse training by providing the opportunity for staff members to take part in job shadowing or be coached by existing employees.
External training is a solution for businesses that don’t have resources or expertise in-house to train employees, hence the need to leverage external support. External options are specialists in the field or sector, so they’ll be able to provide employees with best practices and the most up-to-date knowledge for the job. A benefit to external training is that it can add a new and different perspective when people from outside the organisation are involved.
In an increasingly digital world, online options are also available, which offer their own level of flexibility. Online and distance learning can take place within the office or from home. And, if the training is recorded, employees may have the option to take part in the training whenever it’s most convenient for their schedule.
How to Choose a Training Provider?
If you decide to choose an external staff training programme, then you’ll have to spend some time researching providers to make the most of your investment.
Some questions worth asking when you are conducting your search are:
- Does the provider understand my objectives
- Is the training level aligned with where my team currently is or needs to be?
- How will training be assessed?
- Does the provider have existing testimonials or success stories to share?
- Does the cost justify the expected benefits?
How to Evaluate the Impact of Staff Training?
If your team is spending time and your organisation is spending money on skills training, it only makes sense that you’ll want to know that it’s working.
A few ways to evaluate the impact of staff training span:
1. Employee Performance Evaluations
An employee performance evaluation is an assessment that a manager or supervisor makes about the work that an employee is doing and the capabilities they are using. During this time, the reviewer will condusct a skills gap analysis. Together, they can set goals for the future and determine what kind of further skills training may be necessary.
Employee feedback is information that’s gleaned straight from your main source, a.k.a. your employees. They can evaluate their own performance, skills, or ability to work with their team.
However, as you can see from these performance evaluations, it can become highly subjective. Plus, employees may overestimate their own work or feel dejected after receiving any critical feedback from a manager.
To overcome the challenges that arise when using employee feedback mechanisms, you may want to leverage an employee mental wellbeing platform instead of or in addition to. Employee wellbeing tools are designed to help employees manage and strengthen every aspect of their wellbeing, including their psychology, sociology, biology, and spirituality. A wellbeing platform can also provide prompts that help employees understand and report their feelings in real-time. The platform also offers resources to help employees enhance their mental fitness, which can be pivotal in overcoming challenges (along with the skills they’ve learned during staff training).
Furthermore, employees can access an overall view of their emotions from an easy-to-read dashboard. With this, they can begin to make connections for themselves as to what situations or experiences prompt certain reactions or feelings.
For example, it could be the case that an employee is trying to fulfill a task, but keeps falling short because they are lacking a certain skill. They may report feeling frustrated and make the note that they feel this way because they are unable to complete a job duty. Without noticing this connection, they may have continued with this negative feedback loop of frustration that could affect other aspects of their job.
The fix here is easy: they need support to develop a specific skill. The understanding gleaned from the employee wellbeing platform is key: they became aware of why they are feeling frustrated. Now, they can ask for and receive the support they need to develop the skill.
It’s often said that your team is only as strong as your weakest link. When it comes to organisations, it’s up to employers to provide the staff training necessary to set everyone up for success, and therefore the business.
Additionally, an employee can have every skill in the book, but if they don’t feel emotionally and mentally supported and strong, it won’t matter because without mental fitness they won’t be able to utilise their skills or reach their potential.
With the aid of an employee wellbeing platform, you’ll have the resources and support you need to strengthen your team’s mental fitness in the best ways possible.