After reading this guide, you will be able to understand the benefits of establishing or improving your organization’s training program.
You will find ideas on how to improve efficiency and employee motivation and reduce turnover by implementing actionable changes within your organization.
- What is corporate training?
- Why do companies need corporate training?
- Benefits of corporate training
- Components of corporate training
- How to organize corporate training
- Trends in corporate training
What is corporate training?
Simply put, corporate training is the development of knowledge and skills within an organization’s workforce. Depending on the size of the organization, this is the purview of the Learning and Development team, in larger organizations, or the Human Resources team in smaller organizations.
This team is responsible for identifying the needs of the employees, developing the resources to fit those needs, and deploying the resources effectively within the organization.
Why do companies need corporate training?
Corporate training is a must in every organization.
For new hires, it is obvious that no matter how many skills they have when they get hired, they will require training in the systems and processes that their new organization uses.
They will need guidance through the unique aspects of the product or insight into how the organization’s customers prefer to be handled.
There is no employee who can walk in the door on their first day and be ready to do their job at 100% without training.
For existing employees, they will also continually require training. This can be upskilling or reskilling, training on new products or processes, or compliance training.
All of these are important to help develop your employees’ skills, reduce weak links within departments, and ensure that your employees are able to perform at a high level.
Corporate training also helps employees understand the values and needs of the organization itself.
Training is how these are communicated, and how employees can connect the work that they are doing to the overarching work and goals of the organization itself.
That connectivity is crucial for keeping engagement and dedication high within the workforce.
Benefits of corporate training
1. It increases efficiency
A good training program will help increase the efficiency of employees.
By providing training that helps close knowledge and skills gaps, employees are able to do their jobs more effectively.
This includes completing tasks more quickly, but also not losing time by making costly mistakes, or having to stop and seek help.
Training that includes performance management, the strategic approach to creating and sustaining improved performance in employees, leads to an increase in the effectiveness of companies.
2. It increases motivation and engagement
Every organization seeks to create an engaged workforce.
An engaged employee will work harder, take pride in their work, and attempt to create positive change within their organization.
By providing training, an organization demonstrates that it cares about its employees, and wants them to be able to continually challenge themselves and improve within their role.
Training illustrates how an employee’s work will benefit both themselves and the company.
3. It reduces turnover
As every organization knows, replacing an employee is both costly and time-consuming.
According to the Center for American Progress study, the average cost to replace an employee varies from $3000 to 8000 depending on the position and could be up to $200k for the CEO position.
Corporate training can help reduce turnover by providing what many employees value: professional development opportunities.
Most employees, but especially Millennials, value knowledge and skills development greatly and will leave a role for a more attractive job if they feel that they are not being given the chance to grow.
4. It develops a unified organizational culture
Well developed training doesn’t just develop skills, it also helps inform employees about the values and strategy of the organization.
It is important for employees to understand what their organization stands for, how their work supports the company, and how their organization is in turn investing in them.
Employees who feel valued by their organization work harder and stay longer than those who do not.
Components of corporate training
1. Employee onboarding
Corporate training can fall into a few different categories. The most obvious of those would be employee onboarding.
The training that an employee receives when they begin their job is extremely important and sets the tone for their entire employment.
For an in-depth look read our onboarding article in the Knowledge Hub.
2. Compliance training
Compliance training is another category of corporate training.
This will vary based on location, but often is industry-specific, and can cover topics such as safety procedures, ethics, anti-discrimination, or data protection.
For more information please refer to the compliance training article.
3. General employee development
Throughout an employee’s career, they will need to have training and development constantly.
4. Leadership development
Developing leaders from within an organization is an important aspect of corporate training, as is continually developing the management skills of current leaders.
Spending time on both of these will ensure that the leadership of an organization is effective.
5. Product knowledge training
In product knowledge training, where employees are taught the ins and outs of your organization’s products.
Reskilling is the learning of new skills and tasks for a different job function.
This allows employees to cover for other roles, take on more responsibility, and effectively learn new roles as they grow within the company.
It can also help companies to save money, by transferring employees between departments instead of laying them off.
How to organize corporate training
Corporate training should be developed to meet the learner at their point of need, delivering the right content at the right time to be optimally useful.
Let’s take a look at the various techniques that are common in corporate training:
1. Traditional classroom training
Instructor-led, in-person training is still used in many companies.
While it might not be ground-breaking, it is easily customizable, offers plenty of opportunities for various types of assessments, and has the advantage of being familiar.
It is not scalable, and space is limited to how many learners can fit into the physical classroom, so there are limitations to these types of programs.
2. Virtual instructor-led training
This updated version of the classroom training offers a lot of advantages that in-person training lacks, with relatively few disadvantages.
More people can attend training sessions, as space is no longer limited to a physical classroom.
Sessions can be recorded and reviewed by future learners, and it offers a way for people to continue learning without interruption in the ‘new normal’ of all-remote work.
Although this requires all learners to have the correct equipment and connection speed, one main disadvantage is that learners might feel disengaged with all-online learning, so instructors would have to contend with that. In this type of training, no matter how many learners are involved, you will only have a finite number of instructors, so the training may be less effective.
3. Online learning
Online learning is a bit of a catch-all term and can be used to refer to any resource online that contains educational content, such as online courses, quizzes, games, discussion boards, videos, and assessments.
This has been the fastest-growing area in corporate training, with many companies dedicating a lot of energy to developing their online learning tools, as they are scalable, accessible, and serve the users at the point of need.
Some users may not fully engage with this type of learning, however, if they are uncomfortable with technology, or if they lack the tools, tech or bandwidth to properly access the content.
4. Blended learning
This type of learning marries classroom-based and online learning, taking the best of each type and delivering it to the learner.
This approach tends to be the most successful, as it is more scalable, accessible, and flexible, and it is more able to meet the needs of diverse students.
This approach requires a solid infrastructure, learners who are comfortable with technology, and instructors who are able to make the most of this training approach. Learn more about blended learning in the article.
Trends in corporate training
Corporate training challenges in 2020
Common challenges didn’t disappear, they have just moved aside as every organization redirected their focus to the challenges presented by Covid-19.
As companies moved to all-remote teams, the new number one challenge was to manage that shift, providing training on communication, new software, organizational challenges, and how to effectively work in teams at a distance.
This took precedence over challenges that previously ranked high on the list of priorities of L&D professionals.
In general, to better understand how to develop effective corporate training, it is helpful to take a look at where the common difficulties are.
A survey of Learning and Development professionals showed that, before Covid, the number one challenge in corporate training was activating managers to make learning a priority within their teams.
Let’s take a look at some of the other findings of this survey. Talent developers were asked what their three biggest challenges were this year and these are the responses:
- 49% Getting managers to make learning a priority for their teams
- 42% Creating a learning culture within the organization
- 36% Increasing employee engagement in learning
- 31% Teaching the effective use of technology to employees
- 26% Effectively scaling learning throughout the organization
- 22% Understanding which skills to build and courses to provide
- 22% Ensuring that learners can find learning resources
- 21% Demonstrating the value of learning through training programs
- 21% Properly identifying skills gaps
- 17% Getting executive buy-in
These ten answers are enlightening, especially the top three, as they are closely tied to each other.
For a corporate training program to be effective, there must be a learning culture within an organization.
To create that type of culture, management must be fully on board, putting themselves forward as learning champions and encouraging their employees to engage with the learning on a consistent basis.
If one piece is removed from that puzzle, then the work of the Learning and Development team will be made much harder, and both the employees and the organization will suffer.
The obvious point of this survey is that a training program must be embraced top-down in an organization to optimize its effectiveness.
Upskilling vs reskilling: two ways to help employees develop
Upskilling is a common term when talking about employee development and training programs. But what about reskilling? What is the difference between upskilling and reskilling?
To begin, let’s define both upskilling and reskilling, focusing on how they are different.
- Upskilling is when an employee learns new skills within their existing job function.
- Reskilling is the learning of new skills for a different job function.
So, an employee could undergo training that provides upskilling or reskilling, learning how to more effectively manage their tasks while also learning how to take on more responsibility in a different area.
Another way that a company can use reskilling is the filling of vacancies throughout its organization by transferring an employee to a role that might be a better fit for their skills.
Hiring and training a single new employee is a massive expense for companies and can cost on average between $3000 and $8000.
Rather than outlay that cost, companies can reskill workers, transferring them between departments or teams to cover vacancies or put their skills to better use.
As Covid has shown us all, having a flexible workforce that is able to move between departments as needed can be a massive help during times of upheaval and uncertainty.
According to the survey mentioned above, 51% of the Learning and Development teams plan on launching upskilling programs, 43% plan on launching reskilling programs.
This shows that both of these concepts are important in today’s work environment, especially when it comes to fast-changing technology.
That’s not to say that soft skills aren’t important, in fact, talent developers are focusing on skills like leadership, decision-making, and creative problem solving more than ever as they develop training programs.
How can gamification be used to improve corporate training?
Companies around the world have successfully integrated gamification into their training programs, delivering better results in a shorter time frame than traditional learning approaches.
Gamification can be as simple as a sales contest using a scoreboard or as complex as an immersive virtual reality experience.
The form it takes depends heavily on the company and industry. A famous example of gamification is DuoLingo, the app that turns learning a new language, a notoriously difficult task, into a fun game with prizes, hot streaks, and points for completing exercises.
Gamification has successfully been used in many different training environments, from onboarding to upskilling, team building to compliance training, increasing sales to improving customer service.
As mentioned previously in this article, one of the top three challenges for Learning and Development professionals is to increase employee engagement.
Gamification is a readymade solution for this problem, showing proven results in companies like Siemens, Salesforce, and Cisco.
As you can see, corporate training can take many forms but is a worthwhile investment for all organizations.