How to Train Employees: A Mini-Guide for Managers

Should managers commit to employee training?

Early this year, Forbes Magazine reported that spending on employee training increased 15% in 2013; the increase equated to a total spending sum of, “over $70 Billion in the US and over $130 Billion worldwide.” According to the same report, the trend is not new. Similar increases occurred in 2011 and 2012 as well, 10% and 12% respectively.

And why? “Not only do more than 70% of organizations cite ‘capability gaps’ as one of their top five challenges, but many companies also tell us that it takes 3-5 years to take a seasoned professional and make them fully productive,” corporate HR; talent management; and leadership analyzer Josh Bersin explains.

The importance of employee training is a given, the only question is what are the best practices for training employees?

Employee training practices that produce results

Keep It Simple

In an article written by Brian X. Chen of the New York Times, several ex-employees of Apple shared some of the training practices of the computer and entertainment giant. One of the concepts Apple University pushes more than any other is simplicity, the “[boiling] down [of] an idea to its most essential components.”

The origins of the Apple simplicity concept are based on a practice of Pablo Picasso. After drawing the sketch of a bull, Picasso spent the next month creating 11 lithographs of the bull that most reflected its essence. The purpose of his exercise was to illustrate the esthetic value of simplicity.

Simplicity is the key to both product and development, as well as training.

Find Your Focus

In the excitement to develop an engaging, entertaining and informative training course, managers can make the mistake of losing focus. The point of training is to help employees gain a better understanding of how to be more productive.

In order to make certain a training course remains focused on improving employee productivity, ask the following questions:

  1. Does the course address troubled spots, areas where the employees are struggling: software utilization, customer relations, product comprehension, etc.
  2. Does the training narrow down into the practical application of methods or is it just theory?
  3. Are the connections that bridge different concepts and practices explained or are the placement and sequence of training plots random?

Real Life Scenarios

In order to help students understand why the content taught is important, always use real life scenarios. Explaining why and when a business practice will be important to an employee on the job gives credence and value to the concept.

Phrases like, “you are certain to encounter such-and-such scenario and in that case you should x, y, and z,” help employees understand not only what their actions should be, but what they can expect.

Learn how managers like you use Lessonly to increase job performance here.

Image source: Giphy

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