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Employee Training is vital to any company.  By implementing a training program, you can save your company thousands of dollars a year.  Not only will the savings pay off for your company, but you can increase productivity from your employees.  My last employer was a fortune 500 company and I was in charge of the company training for a certain division of the company.  I remember always trying to find new ways to train, but I kept running into walls and couldn't find a good website around.  Yes, there are a lot, but they all said the same thing.  That's why I decided to develop Employee Training HQ.  This site is dedicated to being different and providing quality information for employment training, work training, training staff, training employees and more.  You might think these are all the same, but as you will see, they are very different and each one needs to be addressed for any quality employee training program.

If you have any questions or have training ideas, please contact me as I would love to share it with our readers.

 

Training based on employee performance can consist of everything from going back to basics for improvement of low performers, to advanced accelerated training for high performing employees. If you employee review process is effective, then the review determines what areas of improvement are needed for the employee to move forward in their development.

It is important for the company to make every effort to help low performers. It benefits the company by reducing turnover, it helps the low performing employee by giving them every reasonable chance to improve and remain with the company, and it helps other employees know that the company is trying to help struggling team members.

There will undoubtedly be situations where additional training of low performing employees is an exercise in futility both the employee and the company. Launching the low performer is then appropriate. For other low performers who can benefit from additional training, getting back to basics is most effective. For this group it is important to have an individual game plan for each low performer in order to bring them up to speed. This can best be accomplished by having an IDP (Individual Development Plan) that is created by the employee and approved or edited by his or her supervisor.
An IDP is like a ‘contract’ between the employee and himself, and the supervisor holds the employee accountable for attaining the agreed goals. The IDP for training employee performance focuses on two or three areas of development, actions to take, measurements of reaching those goals, and a timeline for achievement. Typically, it will include a mentor and coaches for the employee to accomplish their goals.

All employees need to have an IDP because everyone at every level has opportunities for improvement. Where most employees and companies fall short in the effectiveness of their IDPs is the lack of periodic follow-up. It would be like having a fantastic game plan on paper, and then filing it away without using it. Remember, the IDP is just that….it is a plan. Having it on paper without executing the plan, is as good as having no plan at all.

It is important for the employee’s supervisor to actively review the plan for progress with the employee. Since it is the employee’s IDP the responsibility falls upon the employee for his or her own progress towards achieving the set goals. It is also the responsibility of the coach or mentor, along with the employee’s supervisor to discuss what progress is taking place with the IDP. Again, creating a plan is just a plan until the employee manages the execution of the plan. It is this final piece of the plan that causes most employees to not benefit from their IDP.

Training employee performance is vital for the lifeline of a company’s sustainability, growth and progress. It allows for an ongoing pipeline of proven talent for positions in management and leadership. A company can move forward only as fast as its talent can move it along.

Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion states that for every action (force) in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the world of business, for every task, job or career there is someone or a company offering training for that task, job or career. Employee training companies exist for all types of training. Whatever you want to be trained for, there is someone, somewhere offering that training.

As with any ‘purchase’ (and employee training is essence is a purchase) you have to consider the value of the services provided. By value, I mean quality versus cost. Whether the employer is paying for the ‘training’ or the employee is paying for the training quality, cost, and content are essential considerations.

Researching answers to those considerations is imperative. Listing what it is that you want to achieve with regard to what is being offered by the employee training company is a good first step. Talking to others who have availed themselves of this training is a good second step. You do not want to be the first kid on the block with a new pogo stick; it is good to know that others who have had satisfactory results with the training company you are considering.

For example, let us take a look at companies that specialize in outplacement. If you are voluntarily leaving, a company for whatever reason you may want to utilize the services of an outplacement company. Of if by mutual agreement you are leaving your current employer, they may offer outplacement services from a company that specializes in that area of expertise.

That type of employee training company would includes services such as resume preparation, creation of cover letters, networking, preparation for interviews, dealing with gate keepers, objections and answers, follow-up communication after interviews, business plans, and utilization of social networks.

Realize that employee-training companies including outplacement companies are in business to make a profit in addition to helping you with your training. So in order to help you, they have to ‘sell you’ on their services. With that in mind, it’s appropriate that you ‘interview’ them to make sure what you need is the same as what they are offering. Talk to previous users of their service and have a clear understanding of expectations so there are no unwelcome surprises. Also, know the time frame for achieving results. The more you know upfront the better it is for you and the employee training company. If you do not feel comfortable with what you are hearing, then it is a strong indicator that you need to continue your search for a company that matches your needs and expectations.

Employee training companies when used correctly can be a blessing for the individual being trained, or for the company utilizing the services of the training company. The more you know and the better you are able to present yourself and your skills, the better your chances are for securing a position that will fulfill your job or career goals.

Recruitment Training

To be good at something, you have to have a passion for doing it. If you do not have a passion for what you are doing, you will not be able to do it for long. It takes a special type of person to have a passion for recruiting. If you are not an outgoing people-person type of personality, then recruiting is not for you.

Recruitment training falls under the umbrella of human resource. Therefore, knowing what is legal and what is not, is imperative in the world of recruiting. One of the three major components of recruitment training in understanding what can be asked or done and what can not be asked or done. It makes it more difficult to get the information you need as a recruiter in order to evaluate your candidate; however, the purpose of the training is to learn how to do it correctly.

The second of the three major components to recruitment training is fully understanding the purpose of your recruiting efforts and understanding what it is that you are being asked to do. Your best recruiters are better listeners than talkers; listening to learn what it is that the supervisor wants in a recruit. A recruiter is trained to create a profile for the ideal candidate. That can only be done by listening to the hiring manager. The recruitment training also focuses on the specifics of the job to be preformed. Recruitment training helps you to identify the right person for the job, and the right job for the candidate.

The third component of recruitment training is honing the skill of utilizing your sixth sense. We all have it. It is the innate ability to trust or at least be open to what you are feeling about a candidate or situation. Recruitment training can be squeamish about this aspect of evaluating candidates, hence more time is devoted to the objective rather than the subjective, more focus is given to your ‘head’ in your evaluation, rather than your heart, and typically more attention is given to metrics or quantifiable data, rather than what you see and hear.

All of these criteria are important; hence, they all have to be considered when making a decision on a candidate’s qualifications as a good match for a particular job. The recruitment-training pendulum is beginning to incorporate the subjective component of candidate evaluation.

Recruitment training also addresses the steps in the recruiting process from searching for prospects, applicants and candidates to reviewing applications, conducting phone screens, conducting face-to-face interviews, interview questions, candidate evaluation forms, forwarding candidates to hiring managers for additional interviewing, follow-up with the candidate in written form or personal telephone calls informing them of the results of the interviews.

Hence outstanding recruitment training takes the recruiter from the first step of the process to the final step. Recruitment training is similar to learning how to drive a car; you can hear about it learning to drive a car, but it is not until you begin driving a car that you fully understand and are able to utilize what it is that you learned. The more you do it, the more proficient you become at doing what you have learned. The same holds true for recruitment training.

Training Opportunities

When advance training was introduced years ago, employees considered it punishment to have to go to a meeting and learn something. It was something akin to going to traffic court and in order not to have the offense appear on your insurance you were given the ‘opportunity’ to go to drivers education class. How times have changed. Now employees consider additional training as an opportunity and as a highly regarded company benefit.

Employees like training opportunities for many reasons including the following:

  • they can actually learn something that will make their job easier or more enjoyable
  • It increases their ‘stock value’ within the company. They become more desired
  • It could lead to a promotion, pay increase, or a new title
  • They can include it on their resume someday in the future
  • They feel needed by the company, because their employer is willing to invest time and money into their learning experience
  • It gives them the chance to do something different, other than their daily job.
  • They can be around other employees or peers and build camaraderie.
  • It’s typically fun
  • It might even include a breakfast, lunch, or dinner
  • It might include a team building fun event
  • It could include company paid travel to get away for while.

Therefore, it can benefit the employee in a number of positive ways. Providing training opportunities can also benefit the employer in a number of ways including:

  • Their employees become more efficient at performing their jobs
  • It shows all employees that the company is willing to invest in their employees
  • Employees can be cross-trained thereby adding value to each employee and flexibility in scheduling and job responsibility.
  • It satisfies company HR policy and legal requirements for employees
  • It builds company morale
  • It increases employee loyalty and reduces turnover of highly regarded employees.
  • It minimizes or eliminates barriers within departments
  • It showcases the company as a preferred workplace to external candidates
  • It enhances or stimulates employee creativity
  • It keeps the training department fresh and invigorated.
  • It’s a tax write off

The actual training opportunities that exist are as abundant as there are needs to be filled and creative ideas to be surfaced.

Training opportunities can be grouped into one of two categories; mandatory and optional. Mandatory training opportunities require employees to participate in those training events. That type of training opportunity provides more benefit to the company than to the employee, though the employee also benefits. This type of training typically covers policy, procedure, HR situations, and legal requirements. Mandatory training typically protects the company from liability whereas optional training opportunities benefit the employee as much if not more than the employer. Optional training benefits the employee not only with his or her current employer; it also helps the employee with most if not all future employment situations.

As you can see, providing training opportunities benefit all who come in contact with the experience. Whether the benefit is short term or long lasting, the opportunity for further training is an exceptional experience for all employees.

Federal, state, and local agencies, along with employers offer employment-training services. In fact, training can be obtained for any job or profession if someone really wants to get a job or have a career in a particular field. For the purpose of simplicity, we will differentiate training from education in this article by noting that many careers, positions, and jobs require advanced education in the form of earning a college degree, while others require training, which will suffice in obtaining a job.

If you know what you want to do, then the type of training that is required can be researched quite easily. Unemployment agencies and employment agencies offer an array of sources for job training. The key is to know what you want to do, and then begin to learn how you obtain the necessary training to secure the job you want.

A creative way to get the job you want is to arrange an advice interview. Here is how it works. First, you want to find someone who is doing the job you want to do and ask that person if they would chat with you either over the phone or better yet in person so you could learn what they did in order to get the job they have. Let them know right up front that you are not seeking a job from them, but rather you would simply like to learn how they did it. So again, you are not seeking a job from them, you are seeking knowledge or advice. It is also important to let them know that you are not asking for much time; just a short visit. Often times a 15 or 30 minute meeting, can result in a one-hour meeting.

By doing that, you are assuring the person and thereby making them less defensive and more receptive. Most people love to talk about themselves and ‘tell their story’ so someone who wants to listen. So in essence, you are both getting what you want. The advice-giver get to talk and the advice-taker gets to listen.

You will want to prepare for the advice interview by coming prepared with questions and dressing appropriately. The basic question you need answered is ‘how did you get to be where you are today, and doing what you are doing?’ You should have four or five prepared questions to ask. During the course of the conversation, other questions will surface for you to ask. Come prepared to take notes.

Now here is the good news; at minimum you will leave the ‘advice interview’ by knowing much more than you did prior to the meeting, and at best you may leave the meeting with a name and number of someone who could provide you with additional help, or it’s even possible that the person you were talking to might be impressed enough by you that he or she might have an entry level job for you with their business or company. So it is a no lose situation for you because you leave with more knowledge, or you leave with a job opportunity.

How to Train Employees

We have all been involved in training situations, either as the trainee or as the trainer. Your best trainers are those who have been trained on many different occasions. Outstanding trainers know what works and what does not work, because they have experienced the best and the worst of training situations.

As a trainer, try to remember what it was like when you were trained as an employee. Incorporate what worked, and avoid what did not work.

Some of the more important points to remember when training include the following:

  • Give the employee to be trained reading material in advance of the training. This not only builds excitement and anticipation with the trainee, it also helps to alleviate their concerns about the content of the training. They will have the opportunity to come to training prepared to get started.
  • Assign an ambassador to the trainee. This is a person who the trainee can call ahead of time to help walk him or her through the initial phases of employment prior to the beginning of employee training. This helps keep the new hire ‘warm’ and feel good about his or her decision to join your company. It helps avoid buyer’s remorse from the time the employee accepted your offer until the time they begin training.
  • Be very clear and specific with what to expect during the training. This includes location, length of training time, dress code, and agenda. The more the employees being trained know, the more at ease they will be prior and during the training.
  • An employee being trained will have a lot to absorb, so whatever handouts or training manual you can provide as an ongoing resource will help the trainee after the training is complete.
  • Be sure to take time explaining procedures and policies. Patience is a virtue when it comes to training. Some folks learn a bit slower than others, so try to go the speed of your slowest learner. It may take more than once to explain something in order for it to be understood. It takes time to learn, so make sure you allow enough time for the training to proceed at a reasonable pace.
  • When the trainee is ready, have him or her perform the tasks being taught. Remember to be patient, and correct mistakes in a kindly manner.
  • New employees being trained understand procedures quicker when they understand the reasoning behind those tasks. So invest the time to explain the logic behind the step-by-step actions.
  • Assign a coach to the employee being trained. Rather than ‘cutting’ the trainee loose after training, the coach will help the new hire ease the transition to working independently. Please note that we use the word ‘coach’ rather than ‘mentor’ because mentors can not be assigned; they are chosen by the two people involved (trainee and mentor) rather than being assigned by a third party. It is the difference between a forced marriage, and a chosen marriage.
  • Finally encourage and give recognition to the employee being trained. A show of appreciation for the trainee is a welcome gesture for any new hire. 

Unless poor performance is the result of lack of knowledge or skill, training will have little if any effect on the problem. Typically, companies will try to solve the problem of poor performance by funneling more dollars into training, which is a waste of financial resources. To rectify poor performance, the key is to understand what is causing under achievement.

A wonderful book first published in 1992 titled “Soar with Your Strengths”, by Donald Clifton and Paula Nelson, which is timeless in its philosophy, encourages you to find out what you do well and do more of it. Also, find out what you do not do well and stop doing it. Such simple common sense, yet employees and employers seldom use it.

It seems we are always trying to get better at what we don’t like or don’t do well, and not focusing on what we like and do well. As the book notes it would be like trying to train a fish to fly and a bird to swim so they can get better; when in fact they should strive to make the fish swim better and the bird to fly higher and faster.

Employee performance training should follow a true evaluation of the employee’s skill and knowledge levels; this needs to be assessed prior to hiring the employee.

Once the employee is on board, the employee reviews or performance assessments provide an excellent profile or snap shot picture of the person’s job knowledge and skill level. From this point, the employer has a much better gauge whether or not additional training is necessary, and if so, what type of training is needed, and for how long.

The performance assessment or review needs to cover ability, knowledge and skills.
The ability portion evaluates whether or not the employee has the mental and or physical capacity to perform the job tasks.

The knowledge and skill portion of the review considers whether the employee has or is performing the job tasks properly. Does the employee know what to do? Has it been explained clearly and concisely?

A review or performance assessment is the tool that determines what needs to be done in order to improve the employee’s performance. Hence, it needs to be clear, concise, informative, measurable and actionable. Without measures and actions, it would be like a journey with a destination and parameters.

With the performance assessment completed by the employee and evaluated by the employer, it will now be known whether the employer will want to invest in additional training. It might be the right time to begin a departure plan. There are some situations where additional training will do absolutely no good. However typically if the employee was ‘good enough’ to hire, then chances are additional employee performance training will help the ‘under achiever’ and put him or her back on track for success. Employee performance training will also set a good tone for existing employees because they will know that their employer is willing to help employees who need additional training

Employee Training Costs

Employee training is vital to a company’s success; however, it does come with a cost. If the cost of training exceeds the benefits realized, then employee-training costs are not worth the investment; it is a simple matter of numbers.

Training costs can include a variety of expenses, however typically they can be grouped as follows:

  • Development cost (salaries and benefits of personnel and equipment
  • Implementation costs ( training materials, technology, travel, facilities)
  • Participant compensation
  • Indirect implementation ( administrative and overhead)
  • Lost productivity (covering trainer and trainee positions)

 

Surveys indicate the main issue facing business is attracting and retaining good employees. Nationally the average turnover rate is approaching 15%. Keep in mind that a turnover rate of 10% is desirable. Continuous improvement for a company is parting with the lowest 10% of your performers and replacing them with higher quality employees. Therefore, the goal is to part with under-achievers, and retain your top performing employees. Inevitably, you will lose good performers; the key is to minimize that fact.

Employee training costs also include the cost of losing top performers because those top performers need to be replaced and then trained.

Employee departure costs include exit interviews, administrative functions connected to the termination, severance pay and packages, and possible increase in unemployment compensation. Additional costs could include adding on temporary employees to cover the workload, or increased overtime for current employees covering the open position.

Moving forward added costs include replacing the departed employee; prospecting for applicants, interviews, testing, background checks, travel and possibly relocation expense, pre-employment administrative expenses, enhanced benefit packages including additional upfront vacation time, and possibly up-front bonuses to secure top talent from your competitors.

As you can see, separation, replacement and employee training are all costs incurred that add up to a substantial employer expense.

Also, note that these expenses are all tangible; there are also hefty intangible expenses that are difficult to measure or quantify, but real just the same. These would include decreased productivity of remaining employees who are directly affected by the open position because of increased workloads (including stress and tension) and decreased morale.

Though turnover is directly related to employee training costs, something that companies are beginning to do more and more is replace full time employees with part-time employees and thereby saving on the cost of providing benefits. Therefore, though the employee training costs are increasing, the cost of benefits for the replaced employee is decreasing helping to offset the increased training expense. Part-time employees also provide the opportunity for flexibility in scheduling, job sharing, and cross training. Finally, part-time employees create a pool of candidates for full time openings that may be available. The employer has the opportunity evaluate an employee’s performance prior to offering a full time position.

The bottom line is that employee-training costs, like any other expense item, need to be evaluated and monitored closely with an effort placed on reducing those costs without sacrificing quality training. Company training is vital to sustaining a successful company, since it provides a pipeline of talent for management, executive and leadership positions.

Cross Training Employees

Cross training is training someone in an added activity that is associated to his or her work. It is advantageous to both the company and the employee in that it gives the company more flexibility and provides the employee with a variety of activities, which increases job satisfaction.

The advantages of cross training employees are widespread. One of which and maybe the most important is a deeper understanding or appreciation of the work process itself and recognition of how interdependent job tasks and responsibilities are with regard to the total outcome. When employees know how things work and why things are done, they realize the importance of their portion of the process. It provides employees the opportunity to ‘step back’ for a clearer view of the total job rather than what they perceive as their ‘little unimportant’ task. By doing so, they can take more pride in their particular contribution which leads to a higher level of work quality.

Another important result of cross training employees is stability of service. When employees are trained in more than one aspect of the total job, it provides uninterrupted efficiency of work output, when one or more members of a work process are not present. This is most noticeable in work that involves customer service or is a critical link in a work procedure.

Cross training employees allows for flexibility in employee work responsibility often referred to as ‘flexing’ in the work environment. Employees enjoy the opportunity to do different aspects of a total job. It helps eliminate the potential for boredom or monotony, which leads to inefficiency and often time’s unnecessary turnover of employees. Keeping the work environment ‘fresh’ is energizing and contagious.

When employees are presented with the opportunity for cross training, it can surface an individual’s strengths and talent, which leads to future development. This then becomes a source for staffing management and leadership levels of responsibility; so it provides a pipeline upward talent.

Employees who are cross-trained can also be a wealth spring of stimulating discussions leading to creative ideas. Employees and the company can begin to see aspects of the total job that can be altered, eliminated, or improved.
This helps to create an energizing culture of welcome change. Employees begin to listen to each other’s concerns and issues leading to suggestions for improvement. When employees know that what they have to say is being listened to by their peers and supervisors, their confidence increases and they feel a sense of ownership in the overall outcome of the job. They want to make it better.

When cross training employees it is important to maintain a ‘team’ concept. Be cautious about perceptions of competition, and mistrust developing.
It is important for trainers, managers, and leaders to reassure those being cross-trained that their jobs are not in jeopardy. On the contrary, the purpose is to increase employee job satisfaction, along with efficiencies in processes thereby creating a stronger, more viable, and successful company. The better the company, the better it is for those who work with the company.

Training for new employees sets the tone for the employee’s impression of a company’s culture. The training program and the trainers represent the company; and first impressions are important. So in a sense it’s a microcosm of the company itself. Training for new employees represents a golden first opportunity to get things off to a good start. It sets a momentum for the new hire. This momentum can be positive for a good experience; however, an unpleasant experience can create negative momentum. This is exactly why an outstanding training experience for the new hire is vital for both the new hire and the company.

From the trainer’s point of view, you want to have all your training materials prepared ahead of time; not too much and not too little. Make sure you have enough training materials for all the trainees plus a few extra set of materials. The training area needs to be prepared for proper seating, lighting, and distraction free. If the training area needs to be reserved, make sure it is done well in advance. Make sure whatever visual aids are necessary are available. Have a list of all those attending along with the names of their supervisors for communication purposes.

Begin to build the excitement of training for the new employees by communicating with them well in advance, and periodically be in contact with them to keep that anticipation and excitement building. Provide the trainees with all the information they need ahead of time including location, directions, meeting time, dress code, materials they need to bring with them, and a general idea of the training meeting agenda or schedule. A very nice touch of class is to send a Welcome Box to your new hires prior to training including much of the above. If ‘team colors’ are used such as a polo-type shirt, include that in the box with a name tag if that’s customary. Another nice touch of class is to include something for the spouse, children or family if appropriate. Nothing makes a new hire feel more welcome than to also welcome the new hire’s family members. Most companies do not come close to doing this, and this is what begins to separate your company from others. Those little things can make a big difference to getting things off to a good start.

Allow sufficient time for breaks and lunch if included. Working lunches are not advised for new hire training sessions, though very appropriate for training of existing employees. For new employee training the break time and lunch break are very important for ‘team building’ and camaraderie.

Make training for new employees also a fun and memorable experience. Of course, you want to impart important information, which the new hires need to do their jobs; however, by making the training experience enjoyable you are creating or continuing a culture of teamwork, maximizing working relationships, enhancing networking, and building trust. An outstanding training experience for new employees is the foundation for a long lasting and successful business relationship.

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