When we consider training over the life cycle of an employee, it is clear that not all training is the same. A new employee doesn’t receive the same training as someone who has been around for 1 year or 5 years. The difference is more than just the content that changes, but how the training is done. We’ll take a look a how training might look across 5 successive stages of employee training. We’ll start at onboarding a new team member, all the way until they become community leaders.
5 Stages of Employee Training
No business can succeed without onboarding training. At this stage we are giving learners the basic information to competently (and legally) start work such as workplace policies and safety training. Training now is just like checking things off of a list– one and done.
The focus in this stage is on friendly guidance for the learner and ensuring compliance. We want to keep the content ordered to prevent the learner from getting lost. Managers can use reminders and check-ins to keep the learner on track.
At this point, we have the basics out of the way and are now training things that are unique to the business. These skills can’t be mastered in one sitting, they will require repetition. Memorizing 50 recipes and being able to execute them on the spot isn’t the same as remembering a descriptive fact.
Practice is ongoing and relatively unstructured; consistent engagement is important. As a result, training content must be bite-sized and easily searched. We might incorporate more interactivity, gamification, and scheduled activities that encourage the learner to stick with it over time.
Businesses don’t stay the same and inevitably we’ll need training that supports change. This might look like promotions, new products, or updated operational procedures. Change for a business usually comes with a timeline. Consequently, training is required to meet this timeline as well.
At this stage communication is critical. Your training department needs reliable avenues to send notifications, reminders, or otherwise grab attention. Tools to specifically report on new content and segment previously complete versus new learners can be a great help.
Employees want to boost their skills and advance their careers. In this stage, training is focused on deeper learning topics such as leadership and management. Advanced courses should be available but not required.
We want to provide learning paths that go beyond “normal” required training; either manager or self initiated. These paths should be specialized and rewarding without punishing those who aren’t looking to advance their career yet.
Veteran employees are valuable parts of every business. Outside of receiving change-related training or advancing their careers, they also have an important role in training. Experienced employees are the drivers of informal learning in a community.
Here, we can focus on providing shared spaces to help newer employees connect with the rest of the team. Initiatives such as mentorship programs or knowledge bases are areas where experienced employees can have a big impact.
It’s easy to feel like training is all about one aspect (onboarding, or career development, or practice) and miss the big picture. However, a mature training program should continually improve all aspects across the 5 stages of employee training.