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There’s been a steady incline in spending on employee training in the past decade or so, with 2016’s total global amount estimated around $359 billion—up by more than $100 billion from 2009 (source). This trend shows that businesses are starting to get serious with their employee training, right? But how many businesses aren’t quite hitting the mark? How many companies are throwing time, money, and resources down the drain because of poor training decisions?

 

There’s never one simple catch-all solution to the problem, so let’s go through a few things that your company might be doing that’s hurting your training efforts. These are some not-so-practical training solutions that could be holding you back from some great progress in your workplace.

 

Reactive Training

If there is a big incident—or even a small one—it’s common for employers to introduce or reintroduce training to employees that covers the appropriate topic(s) involved. Whether it’s a dangerous accident that occurs or a case of sexual harassment, you’ve got the training for it and need to provide the training to everyone as a reaction to the incident. Makes sense, right?

 

But there are two major problems with this approach:

  1. Training should be more proactive, not always reactive. Employees should understand the dangers and protocols of a situation before it occurs so that they can respond appropriately and responsibly in the moment. Delivering training after the fact is putting your employees in too much danger. Equip them with the training they need to make smart decisions on the job every time.
  2. Employee training should never be issued as punishment. The one time that Bob made an inappropriate pass at Linda is causing every single employee to complete sexual harassment training all of a sudden? They’re probably not too thrilled about that, and they’re probably not going to take it too seriously because they know they’re really here because of Bob’s wrongdoing.

 

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t retrain after an incident. It just means that post-incident should not be the first time your employees are receiving this information. Make sure all employees are properly trained from the beginning.

 

One-Time Training

Training should absolutely not be a one-time thing. Regardless of the industry, job position, and experience level, every employee can use periodic training. If your onboarding process is the only training your employees receive, it’s imperative that you look into additional training for everyone.

 

  1. Policies and processes are likely to change over time—or at least something in the workplace will change eventually. In order to get everyone on the same page, training is necessary.
  2. Not only that, but retraining on certain topics is a great way to remind employees of proper procedures and safety information over the years. It can be easy to forget if it’s not applied often! Send them little refreshers every now and then to really make the most of employee training information.

 

One-Size-Fits-All Training

A one-size-fits-all training approach basically means taking all of the exact same training content and delivering it to every single employee across all departments. It might seem great for consistency, especially in a smaller company, but there are still many issues with this approach. Take these two, for example:

  1. Employees are being trained on things that they don’t need to know. What’s the harm in a little extra knowledge, right? Well, those employees may become restless through the sections that don’t relate to them, which could affect how well they pay attention to the more relevant content that they really do need. Don’t overload them with what they don’t need; get straight to the point.
  2. Training employees on information that they already know—even if it’s relevant to their jobs—can have the same effect. You’re wasting time and money by pulling employees away from their jobs to be “trained” on information they already know.

 

To avoid delivering extraneous information, consider using a training platform that allows you to deliver smaller training packages with more specialized content to smaller groups of employees. This way, everyone gets what they need without the excess.

 

Spending Too Much

Who are we to tell you how much to pay for your employee training? I mean, that’s kind of what we do; but seriously. Higher prices do not always equate to better quality, and the highest quality materials may not necessarily work best for your employees and your workplace. You have to understand that what works for someone else’s company may not work well for yours. You have different people involved with different skills and personalities, and you have different equipment and concerns in the workplace. So really it’s up to you how much you’d like to spend, but buying the most reputable training materials and assuming it’s going to be the most effective is not a good way of thinking. Get feedback from employees on what they think of the training so you can know what needs to be altered. If your employees think the training is ineffective, you need to get new training.

 

Not Getting Involved

Modern employee training has been moving more online for some time now, which is awesome for efficiency, convenience, and cost, but it also means that maybe you’re not paying as much attention to how your employees are doing with the training. Maybe you don’t even know what’s included in it because it’s so easy to just deliver it and check online to see who’s completed it.

 

One big problem with this is that leadership in the company might not be as informed as the other employees even though they’re supposed to be setting an example. You can’t set an example if you don’t know what the training covered. And if you’re not setting an example, how can you expect your employees to understand the importance of the training and apply it appropriately?

 

When you’re not involved in the training process, can you really be sure that it’s effective? You can’t see if the materials are of good quality, you can’t see if your employees are engaged with the content, you can’t see if the content is relevant to your employees and workplace, and you can’t see if the employees fully comprehend the content and apply it to their jobs. You absolutely need to be involved every step of the way in your employees’ training. 

 

This can be a lot to take in, especially if you find that your company has been doing all of these things. You can make the changes, little by little, until you’ve got an outstanding training program for your employees. By examining your company and comparing it to these five not-so-practical training solutions, you’ll be able to make some big improvements this year.

 

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