One of the keys to success in any organization is having a team of well-trained employees who understand their role. Employee training means your workers will be more productive and deliver more value to your business, and it’s an essential part of any onboarding process. Training is how you introduce your workers to their role, your organization’s culture, and facilitate employee development. Though often combined, employee development and training are distinct concepts.
Table of contents
- What is the difference between employee development and training?
- Why should you invest in employee development?
- Essential employee development strategies
What is the difference between employee development and training?
Knowing how to train your employees is an essential step in employee development, but it is only one step. Training your workers means targeting specific skills and making sure they’re equipped to do the tasks currently assigned to them. Development is also concerned with job performance, but incorporates other learning opportunities that promote overall growth.
Employee development is typically geared more towards prospective managerial employees than technical workers, as in addition to physical job training, development promotes soft skills like communication and active listening. In this way, its scope is broader than training.
Employee training is a short-term and employer-led process, but employee development proceeds according to an employee’s own initiative. This is one of the reasons it’s a longer endeavor; because it reflects the employee’s future goals.
Although employee development is often reserved for higher-level workers and prospective management, it benefits all your workers. A more comprehensive employee education process helps team members work together more easily. And paying attention to peoples’ interpersonal and soft skills will improve the culture in your business. Employee training and development also share several benefits.
Why should you invest in employee development?
Higher job performance
The training aspect of employee development entails setting clear expectations and equipping employees with the skills required for a given task. This way, they can do their jobs without constant supervision and contribute more effectively to company goals.
Employee development goes further than training by also teaching workers:
- Time management
- Organizational skills
- Writing and presentation skills
These skills go beyond the task at hand and make employees better at whatever future role they may be asked to perform.
Increased worker satisfaction
Ensuring job satisfaction is an important priority for any manager. Happier employees are less likely to leave your company, and research shows that job satisfaction increases profits, sometimes by as much as 25%.
Employee development improves job satisfaction by improving employee confidence. Training your employees and setting them up to succeed makes them more engaged. Employee development also helps workers exercise autonomy, which drives engagement.
Making sure all your employees have the skills necessary for their roles helps them work together effectively. Soft skills like time management and communication streamline teamwork.
Putting all your new hires through the same training and development process helps encourage team bonding. When everyone gets the same information from the start and is together for their onboarding, it increases understanding of company goals and of each other’s perspectives.
Studies have shown that investing in employee development leads to higher profits, and there are several reasons why this could be. First and most obviously, developed employees are also trained employees, and training employees makes them more efficient. So they’ll produce faster, higher-quality results.
Second, employee development helps your business retain workers and save money on new hires. Not only is the onboarding and training process for each new employee expensive, but it’s a significant use of time that you can avoid by prioritizing employee education.
Essential employee development strategies
Employee development is commonly self-directed, but you still can and should play an active role in growing your team members. In fact, you need to devote company time and resources to making sure your employees have the space and chance to develop. There are a range of methods used both on and off site to accomplish this.
Job training is the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of employee development. It’s essential that employees acquire any skills their job demands, particularly if they will be in a management position later.
Effective employee training is personalized to reflect your workers’ learning styles and take into account their previous experiences. Combine assignments, exams, team projects, and hands-on exercises to teach your employees hard and soft skills. It’s also a good idea to use multiple platforms, like videos, guidebooks, to approach material from various angles.
Providing regular feedback is incredibly important to an employee’s sense of performance, yet it’s not practiced nearly enough. Almost one in five employees wish they would receive more regular feedback from their managers.
Constructive feedback is one of the most reliable ways employees can understand their performance and understand what can be improved. Positive feedback is also important, since it demonstrates appreciation for the value employees bring.
Job rotation refers to the idea that employees occasionally switch roles, so that they can exercise skills they’d otherwise rarely use. It’s a policy that teaches your workers to be flexible and to react to challenges, both things that are essential to any development process.
A similar tactic is stretch assignments, which are assignments currently beyond an employee’s skill level. Managers work with employees to understand what skills they want to train and assign them new tasks accordingly. This usually means introducing new responsibilities on top of an existing role.
Online training accomplishes the same goals as in-person training does. Employees will practice existing and new skills that are required for their role. The big difference when training is conducted online is that your employees have more freedom to complete tasks at their own pace. They can also schedule training time around their other responsibilities.
Mentoring your employees means adopting a one-on-one training format, where a senior team member or a manager works with individuals to help them develop. Mentorship programs usually focus on higher-level skills given that they are a longer process.
As such, mentorship is most effective when developing employees with management potential. Good employee mentoring:
- Matches mentors and mentees according to needed skills
- Defines and tracks employee goals
- Consistently monitors the mentoring relationship
- Holds employees and managers accountable
Coaching is similar to mentoring in that it is a one-on-one employee development method where senior staff train less experienced workers. But unlike mentoring, coaching is usually directed at technical skills.
Coaching is much more hands-on and not intended to be as long a process as mentoring. The idea is to walk employees through performing tasks and applying hard skills.
Simulations are employee development tools that teach your workers how to handle situations as opposed to explicitly improve skills. Placing people in mock scenarios is an excellent way to engage them, so simulations are a popular training tool.
Common situations that companies simulate are customer service interactions and workplace accidents. Simulations are especially useful for addressing critical safety situations like a fire drill or to improve your response to a natural disaster.
Simulations provide a low-pressure environment where your employees can react to situations and receive feedback without worrying about consequences. They don’t only train skills, they also help people stay calm and lead with authority during the real thing.
Fostering employee development is easier with a workflow automation app like Lumiform. The ability to create customized checklists, or use one of our existing 12,000+ checklists, means you can be 100% clear on all the expectations, responsibilities, and skills required for every task.
Your employees can complete checklists on their own time and at their own pace, since all they need is a mobile device. And you can track the status of every checklist you assign, making it easy to see how long certain tasks take as well as identify individual strengths and weaknesses.