Staff Training – What, When, Why, and How?

By Andrew Willis
07 Jun 2022
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Staff training is key to employee development and progression. If you want your workforce to succeed, and your staff to stay with the business, you’ll need to provide training.

Don’t wait for a talent crisis to force your hand.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what types of training are available, how to train staff, when to train them, and why it benefits your business. Let’s start with the “what”

What is staff training?

A lot comes under the training umbrella. There are many ways to categorise the types of training, but most fall into the following categories:

  • Onboarding – the introduction of a new employee into your business. This includes the technical aspects of the job as well as departmental and business goals.
  • Technical skills – these are the skills and knowledge needed to perform the role, for example, a social media manager would need training on social scheduling software.
  • Soft skills – these are the skills that aren’t essential to the role but will help the employee be more efficient and effective. Areas such as communication, leadership, and time management.
  • Products and services - this is training that teaches the employee about the product or service you are selling. If you are selling a software system, you might train the employee to use that software so they develop a better understanding of the product.
  • Quality – This type of training helps evaluate the quality of the product or service you are providing. Can include quality control, or compliance with quality standards.
  • Safety – Important for all businesses, safety training keeps your employees safe while they work. Can include manual handling, first aid, PPE, and so on.
  • Team & Diversity – To ensure bias doesn’t have a negative effect on your workforce, it’s important to train staff on how to work respectfully with and around others from different backgrounds. This can be worked into team training, to build stronger teams and a more diverse workforce.

 

staff training

 

When should I train my staff?

It’s important that you don’t train your staff too late. Doing so means you risk errors, or accidents, and can lead to high staff turnover. Having a solid training plan can help you improve employee retention.

If you’re onboarding a new employee, it’s crucial they receive all the training they need to effectively perform their role. That means updating them on any technical skills they need for the job. You should be aware of this from the interview stage, so have a clear plan in place for when they start on day one.

If you’re training an employee in response to an upcoming business change, or a new product/service launch, you should plan it in advance. For example, if you’re launching a new system for staff to clock in and out of work, they need time to adjust to the changes.

Training programs such as time management and leadership are difficult to fit into a timeline. This will depend on the structure of your teams and your development plans. The good news is that soft skill training is always useful and applicable to almost every role. As a result, it’s worth doing a regular training session every now and then. This could be once a month, or once a quarter, and can be conducted in-house. The same applies to diversity training.

Safety training is a different story, as it is often a legal requirement to do it, depending on the role. Your risk assessment should highlight the dangers of the job and highlight what training is required. Once you’ve identified the necessary training, you can check how often it needs to be refreshed. As a general rule, do a yearly refresher course on all relevant health & safety courses.

Finally, quality training is often applied to an individual or a department only. This makes it easier to plan when training needs to happen. If you’re uncertain when that should be, speak to one of our Croner advisors on 01455 858 132.

Why is staff training important?

Aside from the obvious—staff need to be trained correctly to perform their roles---there are a wealth of benefits to providing effective staff training.

Training creates a safer work environment. An accident-free workplace is one where employees can focus on their roles free of risk.

Other forms of training improve productivity, maintain high standards, and increase efficiency. Anti-bias training will help stop discrimination before it occurs. Other types of soft skills and team training will reduce the number of employee disputes.

Training should form a key part of your business development plan. It should also be a part of each employee’s personal learning and development plan. Bear in mind that training can also be a reward for staff who value progression and development. A well-trained workforce is also one that can cover gaps when they occur within your business. If an employee leaves, others can pick up the slack. However, this isn’t a long term solution, so be sure to plan ahead of time to plug any gaps before they become a problem.

 

how to train staff

 

How to train staff

First, you need to consider whether you will conduct training in-house, or use an external provider. There are benefits and drawbacks to both. Consider whether you have the time to spare to do the training yourself. Also, ask the question: “do I have the knowledge needed to conduct this training?”

Depending on the training, you may need a qualification to conduct it. In this scenario, you should seek out a trained professional. Croner offers a variety of HR training programmes, and health & safety training courses. If you need further information on any of these sessions, visit our HR training page here or our health & safety training page here.

Whether you go in-house or external, it’s important to assess how effective the training is. Here are some key tips to making your staff training effective:

  • Keep sessions one-on-one, or in small groups – this will encourage the employee to ask questions and makes the training personal to them. It also means you can tailor sessions to the individual and their role.
  • Make it interactive – Staring at a screen for hours on end is a great way for some people to learn, but not all. You don’t have to go far to make a training course more engaging, just make sure the walls of text are broken up every now and then, at least.
  • Give responsibility – Most lessons are learned through doing. Give the employee the opportunity to get hands-on and demonstrate what they’ve learned. In some sessions, such as manual handling, that'll be easy. For other courses, you’ll have to get creative.
  • Continue to enable development – Don’t host one training session and then never revisit the topic again. Training should be built on and refreshed. This goes hand in hand with giving responsibility. Offer further training in six months’ time or provide additional courses as an incentive.

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Employee training is diverse and requires attention to detail. It is also essential to business success and staff development. This is why it’s crucial you get it right first try.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to delay training because it can seem too time-consuming or expensive.

Fortunately, Croner has a range of courses to fit your business type and training budget. Speak to a Croner consultant today to see how we can tailor our training solutions to your needs. Call today on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in employment law, HR and commercial legal advice for small & large organisations across the United Kingdom.

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