There's always a lot to consider when tasked with devising and delivering training sessions. Who is the training aimed at? Your own employees? Current users of your SaaS products? Prospects and leads? Corporate partners?
Moreover, what are your goals? What do you want people to take away from your training? Which KPIs will you use to measure the success of each course, module, or concept?
… and so forth.
However, the most important consideration should always be which training methods will benefit your audience and your business the most. Because “training is training” is a bad mantra. When it comes to how you educate people on a specific routine or product, there really is a correct answer.
Getting the right balance of impact, understanding, and ease of implementation is essential too. This means understanding your audience’s training preferences and learning styles. Ditto the learning objectives, overall cost, and perceived performance benefits once training is complete.
If you decide your sessions will be online training, you should also focus on finding the best remote training software. This will allow you, your employees, and your audience to monitor how much they have learned and to evaluate their performance over time.
Again, though, there are a lot of different employee training methods to choose from. This article will cover the eight most effective ones available today.
Broad Applications of Employee Training Methods
Employee training methods can come in various forms. Yes, instructor-led training still has its role in the corporate environment, but eLearning has widened the scope of what is possible by a massive margin.
In addition to going through materials from anywhere – hence freeing up employees to do the training on their own time – you can also offer remote training. Whereas once in-person training methods required employee proximity, you can now widen your talent search to the entire country (or even the entire world).
Online, employees can engage in a vast number of pedagogical frameworks. These include:
Role-playing and simulations
Coaching and mentoring
Audio and video lectures
Quizzes and tests
Cross-training and job shadowing
Case studies, whitepapers, and other reading
There are, of course, many other approaches. You can incorporate social platforms and wikis, for instance, or use buddy systems to guide newbies through the process while simultaneously offering leadership training to your more senior employees.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t confine training to internal teams and new employees. Your buyers and users will also benefit mightily from the right educational approach.
Why Extend Training to External Audiences (Extended Enterprise)
So, why extend your training efforts beyond learners at your own company? In a nutshell, training sessions, case studies, and practical skills can all teach people how to use your product.
Reduce churn: If people are current subscribers to your SaaS software, you have a higher chance of keeping them around when you educate them. Since reducing customer churn is a primary concern of most companies, this benefit can’t be understated. Depending on where and how churn occurs, you can leverage different types of training to address customer retention.
Attract new customers: Even if they haven’t yet subscribed, prospects want to know how to use your product. This can provide a positive learning experience, where they can go through the learning management system or LMS modules and training materials at their own pace. Doing so reduces the barrier to entry and makes it more likely that, through acquiring new skills, they’ll want to sign up for your product.
Reduce support tickets: Customer service departments are often at their wits’ end trying to help every user that can’t figure out a particular feature or process. How much better is it to train users on these procedures upfront so that they have more agency and confidence? That’s where a training-centric customer onboarding process can help.
Cross-sell and upsell: Many training methods can continually encourage current users to deepen their skillset. Over time, this will make them want to get more out of the system. Therefore, learning and development can substantially increase the number of customers who sign up for higher-priced offerings.
Bring Partners, Customers, and Prospects Into the Training Fold
It hardly bears saying that employee training is essential. However, you can use the same eLearning techniques to help partners, customers, and prospects achieve their goals.
The main goal is to ensure that people have the information and support they need to do what’s expected.
That being the case, please assume for the rest of this article that when we discuss “employee training,” we are really referring to training for the entire scope of your audiences and stakeholders. Yes, there are some differences in approach, and not every strategy will apply to prospects and customers.
But in general, the following eight strategies are valuable to more people than just employees. For example, eLearning, simulations, video content, game-based training, and even mentoring are all possibilities for broader application. Keep that in mind as you read on!
Employee Training Strategies to Implement Today
All right, let’s get down to brass tacks. While the following list is far from comprehensive, these eight techniques are among the most valuable for employee (and other) training. We’re going to discuss the following:
Let’s jump in!
1. eLearning Online Training
Computers have been used to create and deliver interactive online training content for many years. As technology evolves, the depth of customization increases – and the same goes for how trainees interact with real-time employee training methods.
E-learning courses are now most commonly accessed by logging in to an online portal or corporate LMS. Inside the workplace training dashboard, content is broken down into sections that new employees or longstanding veterans can complete at their own pace.
E-learning training techniques are top-rated for many reasons.
In addition to ease of learning, cost, and scalability are huge. Employees can learn at any time and place without the need for dedicated physical environments and traditional classroom training - as long as they can access a computer. A large amount of e-learning can also be automated, lowering overhead and decreasing the need for instructor involvement.
Some leaders worry that this training method might distrain learners from their peers and tutors. But given the dramatic growth in online learning’s popularity in recent months, the e-learning experience will continue to improve.
The numbers bear this out. Even small EdTech companies saw a percentage increase of 328.35% in engagement when using this type of training.
2. In-Person Classroom Training
Classroom training remains incredibly popular regarding old-fashioned learning, primarily due to trainers’ and trainees’ familiarity with instructor-led training. This setup involves the trainer presenting to a classroom, often supported by a presentation.
The significant benefit of this interactive training method is that it provides direct, in-person communication between instructor and trainee, which increases employee engagement.
Questions that arise during the training session can be asked and responded to quickly and effectively. They can also be used as broader talking points, creating group discussions around topics to help cement learning.
However, one issue that classroom training has is its lack of scalability. The classroom environment can only house so many students in the same room, and the facilitator can only provide so much knowledge and mentorship. Depending on the size of your facility, it is unlikely that you will have a suite of rooms solely dedicated to training.
Also, as companies implement remote working, coordinating large groups of people to meet at a central location becomes less possible. As such, instructor-led types of employee training are likely less productive at any company. (The same goes for customers and prospects, who need the ability to go through content experimentally, at their own pace, with low overhead for you.)
3. On-The-Job Training
On-the-job, hands-on training or job shadowing is another classic approach to providing employee education. Its goal is to equip new hires with the skills required for the job. Similarly, it can give onboarding to help old employees take on new roles or tackle specific tasks.
By shadowing someone already in the position, an employee can start working in a new function immediately, with much more confidence than they’d otherwise have.
Aimed at more straightforward tasks, these employee training programs are a great way to give employees a sense of accomplishment since they know their role also provides them with a learning opportunity.
One drawback of this method is that even if an employee is shadowing someone as part of the in-person training, they are unlikely to be a dedicated trainer. This can often mean that their training and advice or the methods employees learn may not mirror how the company would like a process handled. Plus, it’s quite time-consuming.
4. Employee Mentoring
Mentorship programs have been a staple of employee training environments for a very long time, and a good reason.
Mentoring gives trainees access to a dedicated person who guides them in their professional development. A trainee will learn about the job function and the company’s culture – with the added benefit of developing their relationship with a team member.
This kind of interactive training goes both ways, with a mentor seeing their role and others from a different perspective. Also, this learning style means they acquire new skills through working with one another.
However, training through mentoring is often far less structured than other effective employee training methods. That’s because mentors support a trainee in a more personal capacity instead of guaranteeing that they learn specific content. Again, the learner may not meet the exact learning objectives or acquire the specific real-life problem-solving skills the company would prefer.
Simulations are training scenarios that allow trainees to practice tasks that mimic the actual work they will do in their role. Simulations are typically used in environments where the risk of failure is high. This could include danger to the trainee, other staff members, or materials involved in the activity. For example, flight simulators let trainees prepare for particular events, such as technical issues, without dealing with them.
As such, simulations are often used for compliance training, sales techniques, soft skills, and others.
The problem with most simulations is training cost. The price of creating a simulation has to be less than the risk of failure in a real environment. Also, most jobs do not have such significant risks and can be practiced without expensive business equipment.
6. Job Rotations
Job rotations are a form of on-the-job training that focuses on moving employees between multiple roles in the work environment to increase their skill sets. Many of the practical skills learned can often be transferred to other positions, allowing people in an organization to experience different jobs and the specific tasks associated with those roles.
Job rotation is an excellent way of motivating your teams, giving them new opportunities, and improving their resumes through the training process.
The obvious disadvantage of this system is that it’s under constant rotation. While many skills are transferable, there are immutable differences between roles in a business. Overcoming this takes time, making it less cost-effective.
The other major disadvantage of experiential training is that some employees may find themselves in a role they do not enjoy during rotation, which can prove to demotivate.
7. On-Demand Video Content
With its roots in classroom-based training, traditional video training courses started with cassette tapes. It has come a long way since then, with videos explicitly tailored to audiences and accessible from the cloud 24/7. The same goes for webinars.
Video content is a large part of consuming content in our personal lives, from TV to social media. People are typically far more receptive to this teaching style than static presentations.
Plus, video content strikes a good balance between cost and efficacy compared to other methods. A training team creates it to cover all the points required. There are even free video creation services online that companies can now use.
The main drawback is that videos are notoriously difficult to edit if information changes. As a result, they are only sometimes up to date, leading to content becoming dated and inaccurate more easily and often.
8. Game-Based Training
Gamification in employee training – as well as that for other audiences – has become far more popular in recent years due to improvements in computing technology. A subset of eLearning, it delivers training course content through an environment that rewards the successful completion of milestones within the training.
Giving trainees in-game achievements lets them quickly connect their learning to a reward system. This solidifies that the training benefits them by creating benefits outside of the training itself. The confidence and motivation that this instills in a trainee are considered the most vital aspect of this system.
However, as a refined version of e-learning, it can alienate people in age groups who don’t have experience with gamified environments, making them feel disconnected from the content.
Streamlined Learning Management From Raven360
Whatever methods you choose, managing your learning systems is critical to delivering practical training. That’s where Raven360’s learning management system comes into play.
Our comprehensive enterprise LMS supports professionals from various organizations to handle all their content from one place. It also offers numerous employee training methods – including video coaching, employee gamification, and hands-on online learning.
Naturally, the correct methods for you will vary depending on your organization’s culture and size, working environment, and remote capacity. That will influence your training choices heavily. If one method isn’t enough, Raven360 will help you find a way to honor employees’ training needs.
Making resonant, lasting change no longer means working with different platforms and partners, integrating a million apps, or tearing your hair out. All you have to do is reach out and view a demo today!