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Methods of employee training

As an employer, ensuring that your staff are knowledgeable and well trained will help to ensure that your business runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. There are many different ways to enhance your employees’ skills and knowledge, with each method presenting unique advantages and disadvantages. Here are the main methods to consider when training or up-skilling your employees.

On-the-job training

On-the-job training can take a number of different forms, such as mentoring, job rotations, internships and temporary promotions. This type of training presents several advantages: it is cost-effective, beneficial across departments, and immediately applicable to real-life work situations. Additionally, many people find “learning by doing” much more effective than passive or rote learning.

While popular in industries such as customer service, manual arts, healthcare and retail, there are a few drawbacks to consider. Firstly, it can be stressful or even overwhelming for trainees to learn new skills in real time, particularly when their actions have immediate consequences for the business. Secondly, the training itself can be haphazard or disorganised due to a lack of time on the part of the supervisor, or the unavailability of trainers with suitable experience or knowledge.

Off-the-job training

Although on-the-job training can be very effective for junior staff, its usefulness can be rather limited when it comes to the more senior members of your team. On-the-job training also relies on the finite pool of knowledge that already exists within a company; this is why many companies use off-the-job training programs to equip their employees with new skills. Off-the-job training can range from one-off workshops, conferences and seminars to extended certificate courses.

While these training methods are generally more expensive than in-house programs, they are a great way to bring fresh skills and insight to your workforce. Furthermore, an intensive period of learning (especially one which results in a qualification or certificate) provides an incentive for employees to complete their training and adds real value to their career prospects. Once completed, staff can also bring their newfound skills back to the workplace and share them with their teams, further benefiting your company.

Online and computer-based training

Online learning is more popular than ever in secondary and tertiary institutes, and its usefulness in the workplace is no different. Among other benefits, computer-based learning is favoured for its versatility; employees can upskill anytime and anywhere, using learning materials sourced from external training organisations, in-house experts, or both. Depending on the industry, online training may involve reading materials, videos, interactive testing programs and virtual reality software. Cost-effective and easy to administer, online learning methods also allow individuals to learn and progress at their own pace.

When choosing the best training method for your staff, remember to keep the essentials in mind. What does your company need to move forward in the industry? What skills will be most helpful to your staff? Which training method best suits your employees? Should the training be ongoing or stand alone? With the right approach and a good understanding of your goals, you may find that a little training can go a long way.

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