Types of Employee Training Programs
There are several types of employee training programs. Employees may receive basic literacy training, interpersonal skills training, technical training, problem-solving training and diversity or sensitivity training. Each type of training targets a different facet of an organization’s overall culture and performance.
Basic literacy training is training for things like reading, writing and problem-solving skills. This is important especially in organizations that hire people from all part of the world. The training may involve the employee learning a language to improve communication. The benefits of literacy training are that employees are more likely to:
- Meet company goals;
- Perform job tasks;
- Understand work processes;
- Work in teams;
- Make decisions; and
- Learn technology.
Interpersonal skills training is training on how to maintain positive relationships, communicate better, resolve conflicts and build trust. This type of training may also involve team training where employee participate in planning, organizing and controlling activities as teams .The benefits of this training is that it assists employees to:
- Get along with each other;
- Exchange positive communication;
- Minimize conflict; and
- Influence others to be positive.
Technology training may involve training on computer software and hardware offered to employees depending on their position or training on use of other new technologies or machines. This training enables employees to: Perform at higher standards; Have more self-confidence; Develop higher skill levels; and Perform many different tasks.
Problem-solving training is training on how to analyze problems and make decisions. Employees learn how to identify problems, analyze problems, assess solutions, implement solutions and monitor outcomes. This enables them to offer creative solutions to problems collaborate on problem-solving and avert disasters.
Diversity or sensitivity training is mainly used in organizations where employees are drawn from many different cultures, religions, ethnic backgrounds etc. Diversity training encourages workers to accommodate and tolerate other people, ideas, beliefs and practices in order to create harmony among workers.
Behaviour training utilizes behavior modeling in order to expose employees to a particular behavior desirable in the organization e.g. integrity, punctuality, honesty etc.It is mainly used in training employees holding sensitive jobs which involve the use of their emotions and feelings such as per counselors, nurses etc.
There are several techniques used in employee training. These include lectures, discussions, case study, role playing and simulation. A training programme may involve the use of one or more of those techniques.
A lecture is a talk with little or no participation except a question-and-answer session at the end. It is used to transfer information to an audience with controlled content and timing. Lecture. The effectiveness of a lecture depends on the ability of the speaker to present material with the judicious use of visual aids. But there are several limits on the amount an inert audience can absorb. For maximum effectiveness, the lecture must not contain too much; must reinforce learning with appropriate visual aids (but not too many); and it must clearly indicate the action that should be taken to make use of the material.
Discussion methods of training involve several collaborative and open-ended forums where learners and trainers exchange ideas for the purpose of enhancing the trainees’ thinking. The objectives of using discussion techniques are to: get the audience to participate actively in learning; give people an opportunity of learning from the experience of others; help people to gain understanding of other points of view; develop powers of self-expression. The aim of the trainer should be to guide the group thinking. He or she may, therefore, be more concerned with shaping attitudes than imparting new knowledge. The trainer has unobtrusively to stimulate people to talk, guide the discussion along predetermined lines, and provide interim summaries and a final summary.
Case Study Approach
A case study is a history or description of an event or set of circumstances that is analysed by trainees in order to diagnose the causes of a problem and work out how to solve it. Case studies are mainly used in courses for managers and team leaders because they are based on the belief that managerial competence and understanding can best be achieved through the study and discussion of real events. Case studies should aim to promote enquiry, the exchange of ideas, and the analysis of experience in order that the trainees can discover underlying principles that the case study is designed to illustrate. The danger of case studies is that they are often perceived by trainees to be irrelevant to their needs, even if based on fact.
Role-playing is used to give managers, team leaders or sales representatives practice in dealing with face-to-face situations such as interviewing, conducting a performance review meeting, counseling, coaching, dealing with a grievance, selling, leading a group or running a meeting. It develops interactive skills and gives people insight into the way in which people behave and feel. Role-playing enables trainees to get expert advice and constructive criticism from the trainer and their colleagues in a protected training situation. It can help to increase confidence as well as developing skills in handling people. The main difficulties are either that trainees are embarrassed or that they do not take the exercise seriously and overplay their parts.
Simulation is a training technique that combines case studies and role-playing to obtain the maximum amount of realism in classroom training. The aim is to facilitate the transfer of what has been learnt off the job to on-the-job behaviour by reproducing, in the training room, situations that are as close as possible to real life. Trainees are thus given the opportunity to practice behaviour in conditions identical to or at least very similar to those they will meet when they complete the course.
In a group exercise the trainees examine problems and develop solutions to them as a group. The problem may be a case study or it could be one entirely unrelated to everyday work. The aims of an exercise of this kind are to give members practice inworking together and to obtain insight into the way in which groups behave in tackling problems and arriving at decisions. Group exercises can be used as part of a team-building programme to develop interactive skills. It can be combined with other techniques such as the discovery method, encouraging participants to find out things for themselves and work out the techniques and skills they need to use.
Methods of Training
There are different methods of training for employees. The methods can be broadly be divided into two categories namely on-the-job training and off-the –job training and can be explained with the help of following diagram.
On the Job (in house) Training Methods
On the job method refers to training given to personnel inside the company. There are different methods of on the job training: It involves methods such as job rotation, planned progression, coaching and counseling, understudy, vestibule training, apprentice training etc.
- Job Rotation
Job rotation enables the organization to train employees on various jobs within a department. They are taught everything about the department starting from the lowest level job in the department to the highest level job. This helps when the person takes over as a manager and is required to check whether his juniors are doing the job properly or not. It may also involve transfer of an employee to different equipment for a fixed amount of time until he is comfortable with all the equipment so that at the end of the training the employee becomes comfortable with all the equipment.
- Planned Progression
In planned progression, juniors are assigned a certain job of their senior in addition to their own job. The method allows the employee to slowly learn the job of his senior so that when he is promoted to his senior job it becomes very easy for him to adjust to the new situation. It also provides a chance to learn higher level jobs.
- Coaching and Counselling
Coaching refers to actually teaching a job to a junior. The senior person who is the coach actually teaches his junior regarding how the work must be handled and how decisions must be taken, the different techniques that can be used on the job, how to handle pressure. There is active participation from the senior. Counseling refers to advising the junior employee as and when he faces problems. The counselor superior plays an advisory role and does not actively teach employees. Apprenticeship training is a method in which both theory and practical session are conducted commonly applied in technical fields or in factories. The theory sessions give theoretical information about the plant layout, the different machines, their parts and safety measures etc. The practical sessions give practical training in handling the equipment. The apprentice may or may not be continued on the job after training.
Under study is a kind of training method where a junior is deputed to work under a senior. He takes orders from the senior, observes the senior, attends meetings with him, learns about decision making and handling of day to day problems. The method is used when the senior is on the verge of retirement and the job will be taken over by the junior. Junior board is a method where a group of junior level managers are identified and they work together in a group called junior board. They function just like the board of directors.
Advantages of In-house Training
The advantages of in-house training include:
- Saving on training cost since cost per delegate is typically lower than public scheduled courses due to the fact the training company only has to send a trainer rather than set up an environment themselves;
- Saving on travel and accommodation costs;
- Running an in-house training course for a single client can generally allow the training to be a lot more focused on the specific subjects and skills that are relevant to the organization;
- Enables the use of real work examples because trainees are able to work on current work or examples of work which relates to their roles not a generic example;
- Having In-House training courses makes working around people’s schedules a lot easier as you are cutting out logistical issues as well as the fact any candidates can be easily reached in case something arises that needs to be addressed quickly; and
- Having a room full of delegates from different departments and levels can encourage team work. This is a fantastic result as it is often in this social learning that the most learning is done when ideas are being bounced off each other. This will lead to increased awareness and understanding of each other’s roles as well as staff morale.
Disadvantages of In-house Training
The disadvantages of In-House Training include:
- Incurring extra administration costs related to training room, parking for the trainer, equipment such as projectors, laptops and tablets amongst other things which need to be sorted out and in advance to ensure the training works;
- Delegates staying onsite may also be a disadvantage because candidates could be pulled out of the classroom in order to help with other activities making it hard to get a candidate through an entire session without interruption;
- When training is not moved outside the organization, the employee may not view it as a serious event. They might just see it as a break from their usual job and some may even skip it. In addition, the convenience factor means it is easier to duck in and out the training.
- In house training may also lead to lack of innovation since the employees are used to the equipment and the environment hence there is a danger of the training course going stale.
- This type of training also limits networking because staff will not meet anyone from other companies.
Off the Job Training Methods
Off the job training refers to method of training given outside the organization. The different methods adopted in off the job training are classroom, simulation, business games, committees and readings.
The classroom method
The classroom method is used when a group of employees have to be trained in theoretical aspects. The training involves using lectures, audio visuals, case study, role play method, group discussions etc. The method is interactive and provides very good results.
Simulation involves creating atmosphere which is very similar to the original work environment. The method helps to train manager handling stress, taking immediate decisions, handling pressure on the jobs etc. An actual feel of the real job environment is given here.
Business games method involves providing a market situation to the trainee and asking him to provide solutions. If there are many people to be trained they can be divided into groups and each group becomes a separate team and play against each other.
Committees and Readings
A committee refers to a group of people who are officially appointed to look into a problem and provide solution. Trainees are put in the committee to identify how they study a problem and what they learn from it.
Readings involves encouraging the trainee to increase his reading related to his subject and then ask him to make a presentation on what he has learned. Information can be collected by trainee manager from books, magazines and internet etc.