Human Resources/LABOUR WELFARE
Why worker’s education is important? How do workers educations improve the productivity? Discuss.
Importance of Worker Training and Education
Companies need to ensure that the staff member’s skills sets are in line with the increasing pace of economic and technological change in order to maintain business performance. The ongoing improvement of skills, through training and education, can:
• Boost productivity
• Enable a company to attract and retain skilled labour
• Create employee promotion opportunities
• Improve standards of living
• Increase innovation and adoption of new technologies or trends in the sector
• Increase knowledge and learning
• Create new ideas and increase research ideas
Developing a Worker Training and Education Program
The type(s) of training program a company adopts will be influenced by many considerations, including:
• Company growth: It is important to review the growth projections or plans of the company when developing a training program for its workforce. This will ensure that as the company grows, its employees’ skills grow along with it, making them able to meet growing demands. For example, if an organization plans to migrate to a new customer relationship management system, training its workforce on the new system will help facilitate a smooth transition. Arranging for the accounting department to attend an annual training on updates to financial reporting requirements will ensure that the company’s financial performance is properly tracked and compliant.
Position of the employee: Training of new hires is necessary to ensure that they can meet their job responsibilities. In addition, many companies encourage continuous training for all employees to ensure lifelong learning. This can include training on new technologies or policies as they are introduced to the business. Training should complement employee goals and be in line with their career plans. A business can conduct a staff survey or in-person interviews to learn what training will be of greatest benefit to staff members.
• Additional skills development: Employees from chronically underemployed communities – those whose members are consistently employed at rates lower than the general population, such as indigenous populations – tend to have only basic education, and a company can offer training to ensure they have the skills to carry out their work. This might include hosting financial literacy classes, providing reading and writing courses, or offering tuition coverage for adult education.
Frequency of training: This is heavily influenced by the sector in which the company operates and the position of each employee. If the company operates in a technological environment that changes rapidly, trainings will need to be more frequent.
• Subject matter: The primary consideration in selecting a trainer should be his or her qualification as an expert in the subject matter. The training offered can be internally led (by management team, supervisor, training officer) or external (through third party partnership with a human resource consulting firm, capacity development organization or educational institution). While external training may be more expensive, it has the added advantage of bringing outside expertise, new ideas and an external perspective to the organization
Intentional Training and Education for Chronically Underemployed Workers
The WTO in its Trade Mandate highlights poverty and gender as some of the key hindrances to the integration of emerging markets to the global economy. Access to education and trade skills is limited for those who come from chronically underserved communities. As a company, you can establish programs that are tailor made to help develop skills for this group. When developing a training program, it is important to identify the staff members /potential hires who fall in this group and what gaps need to be filled.
Open Hiring Program – An open hiring program requires a non-discriminatory, transparent hiring policy. The policy requires employment consideration on a first come, first served basis. Employment decisions should be based on the ability or potential of workers to perform the responsibilities of the open position. Non-discrimination policies should be compliant with core ILO tenets. Simple ways of developing such a program include:
• Posting or listing all employment possibilities publicly; for example on the company website or with an employment agency
Developing a standardized interview/screening process for applicants
• Outlining the hiring process for applicants, which can include a description of various stages of the hiring process, a job description and the expected requirements of the applicant
• Ensuring hiring practices are in line with the local/state law to avoid any litigation issues
• Posting the ILO-compliant, non-discriminatory open hiring policy publicly
Technical/Professional Training Program – Most people from chronically underemployed communities have limited access to employment opportunities due to a deficiency in skillsets. Companies can set up programs to train such employees on their job requirements and cross-job functionality. This will enable them to grow and help move them along their career path. Technical training often enables temporary or informal workers to move to formal employment.
Life Skills Training – This takes a holistic approach to training so that workers can gain skills to better manage their lives both at work and at home. Training can involve:
• Health management
• Personal financial planning
• Dealing with conflict at work and home
• Interview etiquette, negotiation skills and confidence development
IV. Policy Development
In developing a training policy, companies generally:
• Carry out surveys or utilize other evaluation techniques to determine staff training and education needs.
• Identify what the training or education program will cover; subjects may include:
o Core job responsibilities – This covers basic skills employees need to perform their job functions and is generally incorporated as part of the employee orientation process.
o Differentiated training programs – This provides different types of employees customized training, and can be based on job function, cross-training, life-skills training needs or upward advancement training. For example, a managerial training program for non-managerial workers can help employees gain management skills to prepare them for future management roles, especially when coupled with a policy of internal promotion.
• Determine the structure of the training programs and identify qualified trainers:
o Trainers may be internal, external or a combination of both.
o The duration of the training program can be short term, in order to fill a specific need, such as the roll-out of a new software system. Alternatively, trainings may be part of a larger educational program, such as lifelong learning, which ensures continued training and development of staff and is on-going. Examples of lifelong learning include basic skills development courses and seminars to ensure compliance with new policies.
• Reach out to their networks for recommendations and introductions to industry specific training experts.
•Develop a partnership with external service providers, ensuring that both parties understand the goals and expectations of the training.
V. Human Resources and New Employee Training
Human Resources departments and personnel are critical to most employee training programs, particularly onboarding of new personnel. Any staff person, regardless of prior employment experience, needs to understand the policies, culture and systems of a new workplace. Human resources teams should spend time with new staff to ensure that staff:
• Gain familiarity with the company, its mission, departments and structure
• Understand their job responsibilities
• Can identity their training needs, interests and skillset deficiencies in conjunction with training staff, who can develop an appropriate plan for training and education
• Have function-specific training as designed by their direct managers
VI. Implementing a Training and Education Program
Once a company has developed a training and education policy, that outlines both the parameters and goals of the program, implementing the program should be based on the findings of the employee survey and needs of the company.
1. Internal training: Internal training can be particularly successful for the training of new hires, as the internal staff member is often more familiar with company systems and practices, and for
subject matter in which the company has particular expertise. Other benefits of internal training include:
• Use of mentors or personal coaches – Mentors and coaches can help new hires, chronically-underemployed and junior staff members in identifying and meeting work and personal goals. They serve as an ally for the staff person inside the organization and help them track their progress and pursue new avenues for personal development.
• Training offered by an in-house specialist – This can be a staff member with specialized certifications or expertise, or who has developed a new process or practice in the company, who can give targeted trainings in a particular subject matter. Internal trainers need not only subject matter expertise but also the ability to communicate effectively with an audience or individual trainee.
• Training Officer – Some larger companies may elect to designate a specialized training officer, use supervisors to train new staff or identify a department to meet employee training needs, generally the Human Resources Department.
2. External training – External training is offered by a third party expert trainer. Expert trainers are particularly useful for new processes, systems, policies and regulations, or they may bring highly technical subject matter expertise that is unavailable in-house. External training may include:
• Consultants – Companies frequently hire external consultants or training institutions to conduct staff training workshops or seminars. Such external trainers can often be found via professional or industry groups or through referrals from other companies.
• Tuition reimbursement – Companies can offer to cover some or all costs of a diploma, bachelors or graduate degree course that employees are taking to further their job skills.
• Trade associations/networks – Such groups are designed to encourage lifelong learning and professional development if their members, and they may be arrange training seminars for members at lower costs.
• Investors - Some investors/fund carry out capacity building for their investees at a subsidized rate or for free
• Government agencies - Sometimes, governments and NGOs offer technical assistance in the form of training; so companies may check with the applicable government ministry for training resources available to SMEs
3. Monitoring and review of training program - Training programs are only effective if they meet their goals and remain relevant in the face of changing technology and business practices. Monitoring of progress, particularly at the employee level, should be ongoing, whereas periodic reviews of the training program overall should happen annually or as updates are needed.
• Individual training plans – The training process begins both with an identification of employee needs and interest. Many programs choose to have individual mentors,
coaches or small groups that consistently track employee progress and provide a feedback loop. Specialized training plans can be drawn up at the individual level, and the company should monitor employees progress toward their goals.
• Employee feedback – One of the best ways to determine if a program is effective is to solicit feedback from trainees and test them on new skills as appropriate. Feedback should be anonymous when possible so that employees can be more honest with any negative criticism. The goal is to improve the program and make sure employees are learning; so this type of feedback is critical.
• Introducing new trainings – As a company grows, the types of trainings offered will necessarily change. Keeping abreast of developments in industry allows for training programs to remain relevant and improves business performance.
The Advantages of Education to a Nation
Globalization and international trade requires countries and their economies to compete with each other. Economically successful countries will hold competitive and comparative advantages over other economies, though a single country rarely specializes in a particular industry. This means that the country's economy will be made of various industries that will have different advantages and disadvantages in the global marketplace. The education and training of a country's workers is a major factor in determining just how well the country's economy will do.
The study of the economics of training and education involves an analysis of the economy as a whole, of employers and of workers. Two major concepts that influence the wage rate are training and education. In general, well-trained workers tend to be more productive and earn more money than workers with poorer training.
A successful economy has a workforce capable of operating industries at a level where it holds a competitive advantage over the economies of other countries. To achieve this, nations may try incentivizing training through tax breaks and write offs, providing facilities to train workers, or a variety of other means designed to create a more skilled workforce. While it is unlikely that an economy will hold a competitive advantage in all industries, it can focus on a number of industries in which skilled professionals are more readily trained.
Differences in training levels have been cited as a significant factor that separates rich and poor countries. Although other factors are certainly in play, such as geography and available resources, having better-trained workers creates spillovers and externalities. For example, similar businesses may cluster in the same geographic region because of an availability of skilled workers (e.g. Silicon Valley).
Employers want workers who are productive and require less management. Employers must consider a number of factors when deciding on whether to pay for employee training.
• Will the training program increase the productivity of the workers?
• Will the increase in productivity warrant the cost of paying for all or part of the training program?
• If the employer pays for training, will the employee leave the company for a competitor after the training program is complete?
• Will the newly trained worker be able to command a higher wage? Will the worker see an increase in his or her bargaining power?
While employers should be wary about newly trained workers leaving, many employers require workers to continue with the firm for a certain amount of time in exchange for the company paying for training.
Businesses may also face employees who are unwilling to accept training. This can happen in industries dominated by unions, since increased job security could make it more difficult to hire trained professionals or fire less-trained employees. However, unions may also negotiate with employers to ensure that its members are better trained and thus more productive, which reduces the likelihood of jobs being shifted overseas.
Workers increase their earning potential by developing and refining their capabilities. The more they know about a particular job's function or the more they understand a particular industry, the more valuable they will become to an employer. Employees want to learn advanced techniques or new skills in order to vie for a higher wage. Usually, workers can expect their wages to increase at a smaller percentage than the productivity gains by employers. The worker must consider a number of factors when deciding whether to enter a training program:
For the Economy
Many countries have placed greater emphasis on developing an education system that can produce workers able to function in new industries, such as those in the fields of technology and science. This is partly because older industries in developed economies were becoming less competitive, and thus were less likely to continue dominating the industrial landscape. In addition, a movement to improve the basic education of the population emerged, with a growing belief that all people had the right to an education.
When economists speak of "education," the focus is not strictly on workers obtaining college degrees. Education is often broken into specific levels:
• Primary – referred to as elementary school in the U.S.
• Secondary – includes middle schools, high schools and preparatory schools
• Post-secondary – universities, community colleges and vocational schools
A country's economy becomes more productive as the proportion of educated workers increases, since educated workers are able to more efficiently carry out tasks that require literacy and critical thinking. As stated earlier, better-educated workers tend to be more productive than less educated ones. However, obtaining a higher level of education also carries a cost. A country doesn't have to provide an extensive network of colleges or universities in order to benefit from education, it can provide basic literacy programs and still see economic improvements.
Countries with a greater portion of their population attending and graduating from schools see faster economic growth than countries with less-educated workers. As a result, many countries provide funding for primary and secondary education in order to improve economic performance. In this sense, education is an investment in human capital, similar to investment in better equipment. According to UNESCO and the United Nations Human Development Programme, the ratio of the number of children of official secondary school age enrolled in school, to the number of children of official secondary school age in the population (referred to as the enrollment ratio), is higher in developed nations than it is in developing ones. This differs from education spending as a percentage of GDP, which does not always correlate strongly with how educated a country's population is. Therefore, a country spending a high proportion of its GDP on education does not necessarily make the country's population more educated.
For businesses, an employee's intellectual ability can be treated as an asset. This asset can be used to create products and services which can then be sold. The more well-trained workers employed by a firm, the more that firm can theoretically produce. An economy in which employers treat education as an asset in this manner is often referred to as a knowledge-based economy.
Like any decision, investing in education involves an opportunity cost for the worker. Hours spent in the classroom cannot also be spent working for a wage. Employers, however, pay more wages when the tasks required to complete a job require a higher level of education. Thus, while wage earning might be lowered in the short-term as an opportunity cost to becoming educated, wages will likely be higher in the future, once the training is complete.
The Bottom Line
The knowledge and skills of workers available in the labor supply is a key factor in determining both business and economic growth. Economies with a significant supply of skilled labor, brought on through school education as well as training, are often able to capitalize on this through the development of more value-added industries, such as high-tech manufacturing.
Six More Reasons to Make Training a Priority
In order to thrive in today’s business world, your company needs to depend on
employee education to promote six critical interests:
1. Effective use of new technology. As technology continues to revolutionize
the workplace, employees at all levels and with all degrees of experience rely
on training to keep up with changes in their work processes. Due to its importance,
this training will require a comprehensive and continuing effort.
2. Competitive edge in your market. U.S. companies now experience fierce
competition from overseas operations. In many cases, foreign companies are
beating out U.S. firms in quality, cost, and service. In order to remain competitive
in the current marketplace, employees need to know how to make better
products and services for your market.
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3. Safety and health of employees. In order to have a productive, creative,
and committed workforce, employers need to make sure that employees are
protected from workplace hazards and given the knowledge and skills they
need to work safely. Safety training is a key component of any organization’s
productivity and prosperity.
4. Retention of skilled workers. Skilled and creative employees seek
opportunities for career development and personal growth in their jobs. They
want the chance to do challenging work and be well-compensated; they also
want to be with a company where they can continue to learn and enhance
their skills. If they don’t receive adequate training opportunities in their
organization, they will find someplace where they can.
5. Compliance with laws and regulations. Training is frequently required
under a variety of government regulations. The Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA), for example, requires employers to conduct
annual employee training in a number of safety procedures. In other cases,
although laws may not require it, training (at least of key employees) is highly
advisable to avoid problems (for example, sexual harassment, discrimination,
violence prevention, diversity). The cost of not adequately training employees
in all of these areas can translate into large fines (for failure to meet the
requirements of regulations) or expensive lawsuits (for failing to uphold the
rights of protected employees).
6. Productivity and profitability. Finally, training makes workers more skilled
and knowledgeable, which makes them more productive, better able to meet
quality standards, and more able to provide excellent service to customers.
Training, therefore, makes organizations more competitive, more profitable,
and more successful.
Develop A Training Plan
Before creating your training program, it is important for you as the trainer to do
your homework and research your company’s situation thoroughly. By gathering
information in several key areas, you better prepare yourself to create a relevant
and customized training plan for your company.
You need to accomplish several objectives in order to plan an effective program:
_ Objective 1: Determine what training is needed.
_ Objective 2: Determine who needs to be trained.
_ Objective 3: Know how best to train adult learners.
_ Objective 4: Know who your audience is.
_ Objective 5: Draw up a detailed blueprint.
Determine Training Needs
Make use of company resources to help you determine your company’s training
_ Company goals. Refer to your company’s stated goals to help you define
overall training program goals. Align your training objectives with company
goals in such a way that when the workforce meets your objectives, they will
also be meeting the company’s goals. This process starts with new employee
_ Job descriptions. Include stated job requirements as your base for needed
_ OSHA 300 log. Review this document to identify specific safety needs in
your company. Use these injury statistics to identify areas where more safety
training is needed.
_ HR complaints. Review employee complaints to prioritize training on
discrimination, harassment, overtime versus compensation time, and other
_ Legal obligations. You must ensure that your training program encompasses
all required training to meet government and legal obligations, such as OSHA
requirements, Department of Labor requirements, state-specific requirements,
Determine Affected Employees
Once you’ve compiled the subjects on which you need to train, you need to figure
out which employees need which training. Use other company resources to help
you determine who needs training.
_ Company policy. For certain areas or subjects, your organization’s policies
may spell out who is to be trained, in what, and with what frequency. Use
these instructions to start your list of affected employees.
_ Employee records. Review for safety violations or accidents to determine if
employees may need more safety training; for harassment or discrimination
complaints, which may indicate the need for more sensitivity training; or for
performance reviews that indicate employees may need—or may have
requested—more skills training.
_ Performance data. Review this information to identify weaknesses in performance
that may require refresher training in how to use equipment and
machines more efficiently or in how to use more productive procedures.
You can also develop your own methods for determining which employees need
training, ranging from informal to formal.
_ Observations. Keep your eyes and ears open in your workplace and you
may identify employees who need training in specific areas.
_ Informal discussions. Talk with employees, supervisors, and managers to get
candid information about areas where people feel well-equipped to do their
jobs and areas where they are uncomfortable.
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_ Focus groups. This method involves selecting a group of hand-picked
employees and asking them designed questions regarding training. This activity
gives you the opportunity to gather data from a few people in a short period
of time. Focus groups are good for brainstorming, which can be a valuable
source of information. Make sure the selected members are outspoken. A
quiet participant may be hesitant to contribute.
_ Interviews. Personal interviews can be very effective for discovering what
training employees want, but it can also be very time-consuming. This method
is best for specialized training that affects a small percentage of the workforce.
_ Questionnaires. Compose a few questions specific to training you are planning.
This method is effective for elective training or for new training areas in
which you want to begin programs. Keep answers confidential so employees
feel comfortable submitting their input.
_ Skill tests or demonstrations. Give written tests or have employees perform
demonstrations on certain equipment to determine who needs additional training.
Know How to Train Adult Learners
Most adults are self-directed learners: They want to learn what they want, when
they want, and how they want. Adult learners have their own style of learning that
includes four key elements, discussed below. Even if you structure your training
program to meet these elements, however, you may still run into reluctant learners.
We also provide seven rules for training reluctant or resistant learners.
The Four Elements of Adult Learning
1. Motivation. To motivate adult learners, set a friendly or open tone to each
session, create a feeling of concern, and set an appropriate level of difficulty.
Other motivators for adult learners include:
_ Personal achievement—including attaining higher job status or keeping
up with or surpassing competitors
_ Social well-being—including opportunities for community work
_ External expectations—such as meeting the expectations of someone
with formal authority
_ Social relationships—including opportunities to make new friends that
satisfy people’s desire for association
_ Stimulation—that breaks the routine of work and provides contrast in
_ Interest in learning—which gives employees knowledge for the sake of
knowledge and satisfies curious minds
2. Reinforcement. Use both positive and negative reinforcement to be successful
in training adult learners. Use positive reinforcement frequently, such as verbal
praise, when teaching new skills in order to encourage progress and reward
good results. Use negative reinforcement, such as negative comments on a
performance review, to stop bad habits or performance.
3. Retention. Adults must retain what they’ve learned in order to realize benefits
on both the personal and companywide levels. Achieve great retention rates
by having trainees practice their newly acquired skills again and again until
they are familiar and comfortable enough to ensure long-term success.
4. Transference. Adults want to bring what they learn in training directly to
the workplace. Positive transference occurs when adults are able to apply
learned skills to the workplace. Negative transference occurs when learners
can’t—or don’t—apply skills to the workplace.
Know Your Audience
In order to make every training session as effective as possible, you need to analyze the
participants in each group. Gather the following information about group members:
What is their background?
_ How much training have they had on this topic?
_ Why does management think they need more training?
_ Do any trainees have any relationship with the trainer (acquaintances, jobs
_ Do any trainees have high levels of responsibility or authority in the organization?
What are the demographics of the group?
_ How many trainees are in the group?
_ What is the average age?
_ What is the ratio of men to women?
What is their educational level?
_ What is their level of expertise?
_ How much prior knowledge do they have about the session topic?
_ Do some know more than others?
What is the overall attitude of the group?
_ Is this voluntary or required training?
_ Do they want to be here?
_ What do they think of the subject matter?
_ What do they think about the trainer?
_ Are they a friendly group?
What are their expectations?
_ Can the trainer meet their needs?
_ Will the training benefit the participants?
_ Will the training benefit the trainer? The organization?
_ Could there be disadvantages as a result of the training session?
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You also need to know what kind of learners trainees are. In general, people learn
in one of three ways:
_ Visual—These learners receive information best through seeing or reading it.
Their brains process the information and retain it once they see it. These learners
benefit from written instructions, diagrams, handouts, overheads, videos, and
other visual information.
_ Oral—Oral learners receive information best when they hear it. They respond
best to speakers, audioconferences, discussion groups, Q&A sessions, and other
_ Kinesthetic or tactile—These learners learn by touch and feel. They will benefit
from show and tell where equipment is available to handle. They also
respond well to demonstrations of new procedures and in having the chance
to practice themselves.
You will inevitably have all three kinds of learners in every training session.
It’s important, therefore, that you plan to use a combination of teaching styles in
Draw Up a Detailed Plan
You’ve done your homework and know what your training needs are, who needs to be
trained, and how best to train them. Now you need to develop a plan. Here’s how:
1. Set specific goals to meet each training need you’ve identified.
_ Use quantifiable measurements for the accomplishments you want
employees to achieve after training, such as an increased production quota
or decreased injury rates.
_ Use charts, graphs, and tables wherever possible to show management specific
numbers and trends that your training program will achieve. For example,
chart the increased productivity curve you plan to reach with your
training or graph the injury rate you hope to achieve.
_ Set realistic targets that are achievable, but not necessarily easy to achieve.
Know your trainees well enough to know how to challenge them to reach
for more effective performance. For example, look at the highest production
peak employees have ever achieved, even if it was only one time, and set
your target slightly above this point. Employees know they can achieve it
because they already have. But they also know it’s challenging to accomplish.
2. List everyone who needs to be trained in each topic area.
_ Use these lists to help you customize your training to your audience.
_ Prepare trainees by communicating before sessions with prequizzes, agendas,
or requests for specific areas trainees want addressed in the training.
3. Set up a training schedule.
_ Make a master schedule of all the training you want to conduct for this
month or this year.
_ Within the master schedule, set specific dates for each session.
_ Include makeup dates for trainees who cannot attend scheduled sessions.
_ Use a logical progression for multipart training; make sure sessions aren’t
too far apart that trainees forget the first training or too close together that
trainees suffer information overload. Also allow time for trainees who want
more training in the first session to receive it before the next session is held.
4. Choose the appropriate method(s) for each group of trainees in each
_ Plan to use more than one training method for each topic to ensure that
you reach all the types of learners in the session.
_ Plan flexibility into your use of materials so that you are prepared for
technical difficulties or other problems.
_ List the materials and methods you plan to use in each session.
Once you have all of this information collected and organized, you are in great
shape to develop the specifics of your training sessions.
Choose Effective Training Techniques
There are numerous methods and materials available to help you prepare and
equip employees to do their jobs better. Indeed, with so many choices out there, it
can be daunting to determine which methods to use and when to use them.
Before considering specific training techniques, ask yourself these questions:
1. What are your training goals for this session?
_ New skills
_ New techniques for old skills
_ Better workplace behavior
_ A safer workplace
_ A fair and equal workplace free of discrimination and harassment
2. Who is being trained?
_ New employees
_ Seasoned employees
_ Upper management
3. What is your training budget?
4. How much time has been allocated for training within your organization?
5. What training resources and materials do you have at your disposal?
Your answers to these questions begin the narrowing process for your training
choices. Now let’s examine those training methods, their pros and cons, and
where they best fit in a training program.
Classroom or Instructor-Led Training
Instructor-led training remains one of the most popular training techniques for
trainers. There are many types, including:
_ Blackboard or whiteboard. This may be the most “old-fashioned” method,
but it can still be effective, especially if you invite trainees to write on the
board or ask for feedback that you write on the board.
_ Overhead projector. This method is increasingly being replaced with
PowerPoint® presentations, which are less manually demanding, but overheads
do allow you to write on them and customize presentations easily on the spot.
_ Video portion. Lectures can be broken up with video portions that explain
sections of the training topic or that present case studies for discussion.
_ PowerPoint® presentation. Presentation software is used to create customized
group training sessions that are led by an instructor. Training materials are
provided on CD-ROM and displayed on a large screen for any number of
trainees. Employees can also use the programs individually, which allows for
easy make-up sessions for employees who miss the group session. This method
is one of the most popular lecture methods and can be combined with handouts
and other interactive methods.
_ Storytelling. Stories can be used as examples of right and wrong ways to
perform skills, with the outcome of each way described. This method is most
effective with debriefing questions, such as:
— How does this story relate to training?
— How did the main character’s choices make you feel?
— What assumptions did you make throughout the story? Were they correct?
— What would you have done differently?
This technique makes communication easier since it is nonthreatening with
no one right answer. It is cost effective, especially if trainers have their own
stories to tell. Stories can also make sessions more personal if they involve
people trainees know. You can also find many training stories online.
_ Instructor-led classroom training is an efficient method for presenting a large
body of material to large or small groups of employees.
_ It is a personal, face-to-face type of training as opposed to computer-based
training and other methods we will discuss later.
_ It ensures that everyone gets the same information at the same time.
_ It is cost-effective, especially when not outsourced to guest speakers.
_ Storytelling grabs people’s attention.
_ Sometimes it is not interactive.
_ Too much of the success of the training depends on the effectiveness of
_ Scheduling classroom sessions for large numbers of trainees can be
difficult—especially when trainees are at multiple locations.
You can use lectures effectively by making sure your audience is engaged
throughout the session. Here are several ways to achieve this:
_ Train your trainers in the art and science of public speaking.
_ Give your trainers the materials they need.
_ Use with interactive methods.
There are many ways that you can break up training sessions and keep trainees
attentive and involved, including:
_ Quizzes. For long, complicated training sessions, stop periodically to administer
brief quizzes on information presented to that point. You can also begin sessions
with a prequiz and let participants know there will also be a follow-up quiz.
Trainees will stay engaged in order to improve their prequiz scores on the final
quiz. Further motivate participants by offering awards to the highest scorers or
the most improved scores.
_ Small group discussions. Break the participants down into small groups
and give them case studies or work situations to discuss or solve. This is a
good way for knowledgeable veteran employees to pass on their experience
to newer employees.
_ Case studies. Adults tend to bring a problem-oriented way of thinking to
workplace training. Case studies are an excellent way to capitalize on this type
of adult learning. By analyzing real job-related situations, employees can learn
how to handle similar situations. They can also see how various elements of a
job work together to create problems as well as solutions.
_ Active summaries. Create small groups and have them choose a leader.
Ask them to summarize the lecture’s major points and have each team leader
present the summaries to the class. Read a prewritten summary aloud and
compare this with participants’ impressions.
_ Q&A sessions. Informal question-and-answer sessions are most effective
with small groups and for updating skills rather than teaching new skills. For
example, some changes in departmental procedure might easily be handled
by a short explanation by the supervisor, followed by a question-and-answer
period and a discussion period.
_ Question cards. During the lecture, ask participants to write questions on the
subject matter. Collect them and conduct a quiz/review session.
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_ Role-playing. By assuming roles and acting out situations that might occur in
the workplace, employees learn how to handle various situations before they
face them on the job. Role-playing is an excellent training technique for many
interpersonal skills, such as customer service, interviewing, and supervising.
_ Participant control. Create a subject menu of what will be covered. Ask
participants to review it and pick items they want to know more about. Call
on a participant to identify his or her choice. Cover that topic and move on to
the next participant.
_ Demonstrations. Whenever possible, bring tools or equipment that are part
of the training topic and demonstrate the steps being taught or the processes
_ Other activities.
— Create a personal action plan.
— Raise arguments to issues in the lecture.
— Paraphrase important or complex points in the lecture.
_ Interactive sessions keep trainees engaged in the training, which makes them
more receptive to the new information.
_ They make training more fun and enjoyable.
_ They provide ways for veteran employees to pass on knowledge and experience
to newer employees.
_ They can provide in-session feedback to trainers on how well trainees are
_ Interactive sessions can take longer because activities, such as taking quizzes
or breaking into small groups, are time-consuming.
_ Some methods, such as participant control, can be less structured, and
trainers will need to make sure that all necessary information is covered.
Experiential, or hands-on, training offers several more effective techniques for
teaching employees, including:
_ Cross-training. This method allows employees to experience other jobs,
which not only enhances employee skills but also gives companies the benefit
of having employees who can perform more than one job. Cross-training also
gives employees a better appreciation of what co-workers do and how their
own jobs fit in with the work of others to achieve company goals.
_ Demonstrations. Demonstrations are attention-grabbers. They are an
excellent way to teach employees to use new equipment or to teach the steps
in a new process. They are also effective in teaching safety skills. Combined
with the opportunity for questions and answers, this is a powerful, engaging
form of training.
_ Coaching. The goal of job coaching is to improve an employee’s performance.
Coaching focuses on the individual needs of an employee and is generally
less formal than other kinds of training. There are usually no set training
sessions. A manager, supervisor, or veteran employee serves as the coach.
He or she gets together with the employee being coached when time allows
and works with this employee to:
— Answer questions
— Suggest more-effective strategies
— Correct errors
— Guide toward goals
— Give support and encouragement
— Provide knowledgeable feedback
_ Apprenticeships. Apprenticeships give employers the opportunity to shape
inexperienced workers to fit existing and future jobs. These programs give
young workers the opportunity to learn a trade or profession and earn a
modest income. Apprenticeship combines supervised training on the job with
classroom instruction in a formal, structured program that can last for a year
_ Drills. Drilling is a good way for employees to practice skills. Evacuation drills
are effective when training emergency preparedness, for example.
_ Hands-on training methods are effective for training in new procedures and
_ They are immediately applicable to trainees’ jobs.
_ They allow trainers to immediately determine whether a trainee has learned
the new skill or procedure.
_ They are not good for large groups if you do not have enough equipment or
machines for everyone to use.
_ Personal coaching can be disruptive to the coach’s productivity.
_ Apprenticeship can be expensive for companies paying for employees who are
being trained on the job and are not yet as productive as regular employees.
Computer-Based Training (CBT)
Computer-based training is becoming increasingly prevalent as technology
becomes more widespread and easy to use. Consider the following types:
_ Text-only. The simplest CBT programs offer self-paced training in a text-only
format. These programs are similar to print-based individualized training
modules with the addition, in most cases, of interactive features. While simple
in format, these programs can be highly effective and present complicated
information and concepts in a comprehensible and easily accessible way.
_ CD-ROM. A wide variety of off-the-shelf training programs covering a broad
range of workplace topics are available on CD-ROM. Programs can also be
created by training consultants for the specific needs of the particular
organization or individual departments.
_ Multimedia. These training materials are an advanced form of CBT. They are
much more sophisticated than the original text-only programs. In addition to
text, they provide stimulating graphics, audio, animation, and/or video.
Multimedia tend to be more provocative and challenging and, therefore,
more stimulating to the adult mind. Although costs are higher than text-only
software, the benefits in terms of employee learning may well be worth it.
Multimedia training materials are typically found in DVD format.
_ Virtual reality. Virtual reality is three-dimensional and interactive, immersing
the trainee in a learning experience. Most virtual reality training programs
take the form of simulation, which is a highly effective form of training. It is
hands-on experience without the risks of actual performance. Flight simulators,
for example, have been used successfully for years to train airline and
military pilots in critical flying skills, as well as to prepare them for emergency
situations in a safe and forgiving environment.
_ CBT programs are easy to use.
_ They can often be customized or custom designed.
_ They are good for helping employees develop and practice new skills.
_ They are useful for refresher training.
_ They are uniform, which makes it possible to standardize training.
_ They are measurable. When computers are used for training, it is possible to
track what each employee has learned right on the computer. Most programs
have post-tests to determine whether the employee has understood the
training. Test scores give trainers statistics for training evaluations.
_ These programs require trainees to be computer literate.
_ They require trainees to have computer access.
_ There is little or no interaction with a trainer; if trainees have questions,
there’s no one to ask.
_ These programs are not effective at teaching “soft-skills,” such as customer
service, sales, or sensitivity training.
_ They are not the best choice for new or one-time training. Trainers need live
interaction to ensure new skills or concepts are being communicated.
Trainees need to be able to ask questions and receive feedback.
_ Some poorly designed programs are “boring” and result in trainees having a
poor retention rate of the material as well as a low finish rate.
Online or E-Learning
In addition to CBT, many companies with employees in a variety of locations
rely on other technologies to deliver training. This method is becoming more
and more popular as access to the Web becomes more widely available. Some
_ Web-based training. This method puts CBT modules onto the Web, which
companies can then make available to their employees either on the company’s
intranet or on a section of the vendor’s website that is set up for your company.
There are many courses available on the Internet in many different topic areas.
These courses provide a hands-on, interactive way for employees to work
through training presentations that are similar to CD-ROM or PowerPoint® on
their own. Training materials are standardized because all trainees will use the
same program. Materials are also easy to update, so your training is always in
step with your industry. Web-based training programs are also often linked with
software (a learning management system, or LMS) that makes trainees’ progress
trackable, which makes recordkeeping very easy for the training administrator.
_ Tele- or videoconferencing. These methods allow the trainer to be in one
location and trainees to be scattered in several locations. Participants are
networked into the central location and can usually ask questions of the
trainer via the telephone or by a webchat feature. Lectures and demonstrations
can be effective using this method.
_ Audioconferencing. This method is similar to videoconferencing but involves
audio only. Participants dial in at the scheduled meeting time and hear speakers
present their training. Question and answer sessions are frequently held at the
end of sessions in which participants can e-mail questions or call in and talk
to a presenter.
_ Web meetings or webinars. This method contains audio and visual
components. Participants dial in to receive live audio training and also follow
visual material that appears on their computer screens. These presentations are
similar to CD-ROM or PowerPoint presentations and sometimes offer minimal
online interactivity. Q&A sessions may also be held at the end of sessions.
_ Online colleges and universities. This method is also known as distance
learning, and many schools now offer certificates or degrees through online
programs that require only minimal on-campus residency.
_ Collaborative document preparation. This method requires participants to
be linked on the same network. It can be used with coaches and trainees to
teach writing reports and technical documents.
_ E-mail. You can use e-mail to promote or enhance training, send reminders
for upcoming training, solicit follow-up questions for trainers and/or managers,
and conduct training evaluations through e-mail forms.
_ Online or e-learning programs are effective for training across multiple locations.
_ They save the company money on travel expenses.
_ They can be a less expensive way to get training from expert industry
professionals and consultants from outside the company.
_ They are useful for refresher training.
_ They are good for self-directed learning.
_ They can be easy to update with new company policies or procedures,
federal regulations, and compliance issues.
_ They offer trainers a growing array of choices for matching training programs
to employee knowledge and skill levels.
_ These programs require trainees to be computer literate.
_ They are usually generic and not customized to your company’s needs.
_ Some employees may not like the impersonal nature of this training.
_ Employees may be too intimidated by the technology or the remoteness of
the trainer to ask questions.
_ Lack of computer terminals or insufficient online time may restrict or preclude
access to training.
_ Inadequate or outdated hardware devices (e.g., sound cards, graphics
accelerators, and local area networks) can cause programs to malfunction.
_ Your company’s Internet servers may not have enough bandwidth to receive
_ Self-instruction offers limited opportunities to receive context-specific expert
advice or timely response to questions.
The 12-Step Method for Successful Training
Follow these 12 steps to help you run an effective training session that accomplishes
your goals in an enjoyable and engaging way for everyone involved.
1. Tell trainees what you’re going to cover. Introduce your session with a
brief overview of the training subject’s main points.
2. Give them the information. In the main portion of the session, explain key
points, go over policies, demonstrate procedures, and relate any other information
trainees need to know.
3. Tell them what you told them. Conclude with a summary of your opening
overview. Use repetition to help trainees grasp and retain information.
4. Always explain what trainees are going to see before you show a
multimedia portion. This practice creates a better learning environment
by guiding trainees to know what to look for and what to remember.
Explaining the purpose of the multimedia ensures an effective reception
for its information.
5. Use as much hands-on training as possible. The most effective training
uses all the senses to affect learning. Demonstrate and apply teaching points
to create greater understanding and knowledge of the subject.
6. Test frequently. Tests are most effective when students know they will be
quizzed, because they’ll pay close attention to the material. Testing is an
objective way to determine whether training achieved its goals.
7. Involve trainees. For example, ask participants to share their experiences
with the training topic. Many trainees are experienced personnel who have
valuable information to contribute. All trainees will get more out of sessions
by hearing about their co-workers’ experiences with the subject—and not just
the trainer’s lecture points. Hearing different voices also keeps sessions varied
and interesting. Structure interaction time into all your sessions.
8. Repeat questions before answering them. This practice ensures that all
participants know what the question is so they can make sense of the answer.
9. Analyze the session as you go. Always be on the lookout for what works
best. When you discover a new technique or method that clicks with the
group, note it on your training materials so it can be incorporated into the
training outline to be used in future sessions.
10. Keep your session on track. Start on time and finish on time. Don’t hold up
class waiting for late arrivers. Run the class according to the schedule and
don’t get too far off course. Opening up discussion among participants may
lead to some pertinent tangents, but don’t let side issues take over. Ask if
there’s enough interest to pursue a separate session on that topic, but get this
class back to the lesson plan.
11. Put yourself in their shoes—or seats. Give frequent breaks, especially for
half-day or all-day sessions.
12. Solicit feedback on the training session. Critiques work best when they
are written and anonymous, unless a trainee volunteers to discuss his or her
thoughts in person. Trainee input is vital for making the next session—and the
overall training program—more effective.
These 12 steps are the basic foundation for a solid training session that runs
efficiently and that conveys the necessary information for meeting the session’s
goals. They also incorporate ways to begin improving training on the fly. In other
words, you can’t go wrong by following these steps in every training session
It is possible, however, to get a little more creative—and memorable—by using
some of the following innovative techniques.
How to Keep Trainers Fresh
_ Rotate trainers onto different topics.
_ Encourage using a variety of training methods.
_ Promote your program to management and get their verbal and public support;
ask management to personally encourage trainers.
_ Present a realistic and ambitious budget that provides for all your training needs.
_ Encourage and provide for ongoing training and career development for
_ Assess your training audience ahead of time and provide trainers with
language-appropriate materials and cross-cultural information.
_ Arrange for trainers to visit the operations in which they train on a regular
basis to keep current on new methods.
Why Training Programs Fail
_ No training goals are set.
_ Training goals are not in line with company goals.
_ No accountability measurements are set up for trainers or trainees.
_ Training is regarded as a one-time event and not as an ongoing need.
_ Little or no support is given from upper management.
How to Make Your Training Program Succeed
_ Set specific training goals with a committee that includes top management.
_ Align training goals directly with the company’s strategic and financial goals.
_ Set up an accountability system to measure the effectiveness of trainers and
trainees; determine whether trainers successfully communicate information
and whether trainees successfully apply what they’ve learned to improve
their job performance.
_ Design a training schedule that includes ongoing training, such as beginner,
intermediate, and advanced as well as refresher training. Incorporate this
calendar into the company’s calendar of holidays and other company events.
_ Always have a representative from upper management on your training
committee to ensure that training is an integral part of your company’s
present and future plans for success.
Congratulations! You’ve now planned, prepared for, and run a training session and
program. Now it’s time to find out how you did.
Follow the strategies outlined to design and run an effective
training program that will motivate and train your workforce to be the best in the
industry—and that will have positive effects on every department in your company.
Strategy #1—Make training a top priority at all levels of the company.
Strategy #2—Develop a training program that meets training needs and is
customized to your company and its employees.
Strategy #3—Choose the right training techniques for your training topics.
Strategy #4—Decide when and how to outsource some of your training needs.
Strategy #5—Prepare people, places, and things for your training sessions.
Strategy #6—Conduct effective training sessions with a sound presentation
that incorporates engaging activities.
Strategy #7—Evaluate training at every level.
Also, assist trainees as they transfer learned skills and behavior into their work. With
these strategies in hand, you’re now ready to build an effective training program.