Employee training and development can be a long process and oftentimes, employees still walk away feeling like they haven't learned everything they need to.
The transition from employee onboarding to doing the actual work can be jarring for employees who feel as though they've been undertrained. It can take weeks or even months for new employees to hit their stride and ramp to their full capabilities. How can we as HR professionals avoid this common mistake and give our new employees what they need to be successful?
The first step is to understand what training and development is and more importantly, how we can encourage continued development after employees are onboarded. A strong talent management strategy is the key to improving your employee experience and empowering them to become the best they can be at their job.
What is training and development?
Training and development is a formal human resources management strategy designed to increase employee performance, teach new skills, and develop an employee's existing skill set and knowledge.
A common mistake HR managers make is assuming that the training and development process is fine and that it's just the employee is who struggling. But the truth is that even your highest performing employee can benefit from a better training and development strategy. Remember, no matter how in-depth you think your training and development plan is, there’s always room to improve.
How can HR improve employee training and development?
HR managers are at the forefront of the employee experience. Instead of getting defensive about your current training and development practices, take this opportunity to reflect on what you would change if you could.
What are some new initiatives you'd like to start to empower your employees success? You would be surprised how many of these wild ideas can be achieved through a stronger training and development strategy.
So, what can you start doing today to help your employees get comfortable in their positions?We've got three tips to get you started.
1. Invest in the right training technology
When was the last time you took a good an honest review of your HR software strategy? If your answer is any longer than three years ago, you’ve already made your first mistake.
As we’ve explored previously in our deep dive into 2019 HR trends, technology is changing everything we know about HR management. From diversity and inclusion training to the hiring process, there’s no one part of talent management that software doesn’t touch – and your training and development strategy is no exception.
Employees are quitting their jobs at a record pace because they don’t feel as though they’ve been properly trained to do them. The talent market is skewed in favor of the employee, and employees are feeling emboldened to quit their jobs and find new opportunities.
If you’re relying on outdated training and development practices devoid of technology, you could be driving your employees right into the arms of a competitor. The time to double down on technology was yesterday.
The first thing you should do is read more about how online learning platforms can transform your training and development strategy. By and large, employees actually prefer online training or training videos because it allows them to work at their own pace, better retain information , and review material more easily.
Another tip? Review your mandatory employee training sessions. We’ve all had a bad staff training session where lunch was served cold and we couldn’t hear the speaker. Breathing new life into your employee training sessions will engage your employees.
Stuck on how you might do that? Don’t worry, we put together a list of employee training ideas you can steal. Remember, employees who are engaged are more likely to innovate at work, take on new projects, and teach their peers what they’ve learned.
Ready to ramp up your employee training? Find the best employee training management software and read reviews from real users.
2. Invest in your employee's education
Some employers are of the opinion that it isn’t their job to invest in employee education. They’re part of the old school of thought that employees show up for a paycheck and that’s it. Employers with this mindset don’t see the benefit in investing extra resources in employee development. The problem with that? Employers no longer have the upper hand when it comes to job hunting. The global job market is the tightest it has ever been and employees are the ones in the driver's seat.
This means training and promoting internally are more important than ever. Your employees are desperate for personal development and are willing to quit their job to get it. If you’re not willing to get ahead of that by offering career advancement options and external training, you might find yourself dealing with your best employees quitting.
Employers footing the bill for advanced degrees might sound crazy, but the truth is we may be at the beginning of a new HR benefits revolution. Would you rather be leading the pack or get left in the dust?
How can you avoid this mistake?
Let’s say you’re one of the employers looking to get ahead of the competition. Giving your employees the resources for continued education will help keep them engaged and give them the skills they need to be better at their job.
Here are two development programs you can implement this year to encourage training and development:
Tuition reimbursement– where employers subsidize part or all of the cost of employees pursuing an advanced degree. This allows employees to hone their skills outside of work and bring back valuable lessons to their colleagues.
Student loan repayment– where employers pay off their employees current student loans. This removes the stress of repaying debt and offers them the chance to pursue other education opportunities.
When used together these two programs can create a culture of continued learning and pursuit of knowledge. It will make your employees better at their job and show them that you care about their personal development.
3. Don't let training and development end after onboarding
It’s very easy to get caught up in day-to-day at work and push aside lofty goals and projects in favor of keeping the wheels turning. The problem is that your employees will eventually hit a point where they feel stagnant and bored in their current role and will crave something new.
If you don’t have an employee development plan in place and ready to use, then you suffer the consequences, like your best employee quitting. Everyone, including your employees, has their own personal brand nowadays, and your job as an HR manager is to create constant growth opportunities for your employees at every stage of their career, whether it be their personal development or development within the company.
How can you avoid this mistake?
Thankfully, this is an easy mistake to avoid if you’re willing to put the work in. There are dozens of popular employee development programs your HR department can start planning for today.
Here are some ways you can continue employee training after the onboarding process:
Succession Planning – Succession planning is the best way to show your employees that there is room for internal growth. This strategy offers mentorship opportunities with a clear path for internal promotions and is a great career planning strategy.
Performance Improvement Plan– Employee training shouldn’t be limited to your best employees. With enough patience and the right motivation, you can cultivate the talent in your lower performing employees and help them succeed.
Career Development Plan– A career development plan is a little different from succession planning. It offers your employees the chance to map their entire career path and explore new opportunities outside of their current role. It’s a more short-term plan than succession planning, but it’s just as effective.
These are just a few ideas you can steal to kick-start your employee development strategy. The best way to help develop your employees is to ask them about opportunities they would find interesting. When you give employees opportunities they ask for, they’re more likely to take advantage of them.
Stay ahead of the learning curve
It's time to take a more proactive approach to employee training and development. Speak with your employees to understand how they can be best supported and then give them what they need. When you invest in your employees, you invest in your company as well.
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Lauren Pope is a former content marketer at G2. You can find her work featured on CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, the G2 Learning Hub, and other sites. In her free time, Lauren enjoys watching true crime shows and singing karaoke. (she/her/hers)