How to Improve an Employee Training Program

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Facilitating employee training programs can be a daunting task. For a variety of reasons, employees tend to be very reluctant about attending training that takes time away from their usual daily tasks. If the employees you are responsible for training exhibit signs of boredom or discontent, there are actions you can take to improve your approach and their overall experience. By taking steps to better your training content and delivery, you will win employees' respect, patience and trust. This will help reach the company's training goal, which is to have more knowledgeable and productive employees. Training should be something that employees look forward to as a way to improve their overall knowledge and performance and you can facilitate this.

Get input from your audience. Get to know what makes them tick and what subjects they are interested in learning more about. This not only helps employees buy in to the training but it also helps you better prepare on the subjects they would like to know more about. You can do this by conducting surveys with both yes/no and open-ended questions, speaking with management and analyzing exit interview information. Use the information you gather to become an expert on the subjects suggested.

Research and purchase training materials. Check to see what your budget is and find materials that fit within those guidelines. Hone in on resources that can be used as post-training reference materials for employees. If you choose to use any videos for your training, keep them short and use them as an enhancement for other materials, not as the main training tool.

Prepare the employees prior to the training. Offer them pre-training materials such as worksheets, concept sheets and definitions. The goal is to get them involved and invested in the training material before they attend the class/workshop.

Use a conversational and interactive style. Avoid simply talking to your audience. Keep a steady pace and stop frequently to ask for feedback and questions. Avoid speaking over the heads of the employees and do not use too many technical terms or jargon that not all employees will know, as this causes some to disengage. Use plenty of concrete examples and storytelling to illustrate the most important points of the training.

Set the stage and make the learning environment as pleasant as possible. Be sure the work space and physical environment is conducive to learning. Provide plenty of breaks and refreshments if the training will last several hours, as this allows the employees to process what they are learning and re-energize. Show them that you are enjoying your time with them by sharing personal experiences, keeping the mood light and staying relaxed.

Follow-up with attendees and provide ongoing updates/refreshers. Ask employees to complete a questionnaire immediately following the training and another several weeks down the road to see how they are applying what they have learned in their everyday work lives. Offer short refresher courses to enforce what was learned in the training and provide any relevant updates. Employees will appreciate knowing that you want to help them improve their knowledge and skills.

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