Training employees can sometimes be an expensive yet necessary exercise for an organization. An integral part of the career development process, training is the “nuts and bolts” that allow both the company and the employee to grow and succeed. Fortunately, training programs come in all shapes and sizes to fit different budgets.

Determining effective employee training for your startup

To decide what training is best for your startup, consider the following:

  • What are the training goals?
  • Who is being trained?
  • What is the training budget?
  • Are there any time constraints?
  • What training resources are readily available?

The answers to these questions will help you narrow down the choices.

Implementing employee training for your startup

There are a number of ways in which training can be implemented. Each presents their own advantages and disadvantages. Experts believe that an approach that combines at least two methods works best.

Some of the more popular training methods are discussed below.

Classroom training

Advantages:

  • Works efficiently for large or small groups of employees
  • Ensures that everyone gets the same information at the same time
  • Is cost-effective, especially when not outsourced
  • Can be interesting, depending upon the instructor

Disadvantages:

  • May not be interactive
  • Hinges much of the success of the training on the instructor
  • Can be difficult to schedule for large numbers

Interactive methods (for example, facilitation, role-playing)

Advantages:

  • Keeps the attention of participants
  • May spur employees to be more receptive to the training materials
  • Enables more experienced employees to share knowledge once it is learned
  • Allows for quick assessment

Disadvantages:

  • Is time-consuming
  • Can present challenges vis-à-vis anticipating all content required 

Hands-on training (for example, teaching hard skills such as welding)

Advantages:

  • Works well for teaching new procedures and processes
  • Can take effect immediately
  • Allows for quick assessment

Disadvantages:

  • Is difficult to run for large groups, especially if equipment is required
  • Affects the productivity of the trainer

Computer-based training, or CBT (for example, learning new software)

Advantages:

  • Is easy to use
  • Can be customized
  • Is effective for employees to learn and refresh skills
  • Offers flexibility with employees’ schedules
  • Keeps costs low as it can be used many times
  • Yields better content comprehension than other methods
  • Provides results that are measurable and easy to evaluate

Disadvantages:

  • Requires computer access
  • Offers little or no interaction with a trainer
  • Teaches only “hard skills,” not behaviour-based skills such as customer service or negotiation skills
  • May not hold employees’ attention

E-learning (for example, webinars)

Advantages:

  • Works effectively across multiple locations
  • Does not entail travel expenses
  • Delivers training from expert industry professionals
  • Offers a wide range of content choices

Disadvantages:

  • Uses generic content
  • Provides an impersonal approach
  • Can be an intimidating forum for some participants to ask questions
  • Requires up-to-date computers
  • Requires sufficient Internet bandwidth

Employee training evaluation: Tips

Once the training has been conducted, evaluate the success of the program. This is critical to measure the effectiveness of the session for both the organization and the employee(s).

Always check that the evaluation aligns with the original goals of the training program.

How to assess the value of your employee training program

To help determine whether your training program had provided value, ensure you:

  • Use feedback questionnaires to capture your employees’ overall impression—do this promptly
  • Test employees through on-the-job exercises or through questions or discussions
  • Look for results in their behaviour—ask for self-assessments or ask for assessments from fellow employees