employee performance

5 Stages of Employee Training

5 Stages of Employee Training

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.

Career Development

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.

Community Leadership

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.

Build a Workplace Culture and HR Policies That Support Trust, Inclusion and Fairness

Workplace culture is a key driver of employee performance. A positive workplace culture can help your employees be more productive, more effective at teamwork, and more content at work. In contrast, a negative workplace culture could cause rifts and toxicity that undermine your organization from within.

In sum: Workplace culture matters. Your organizational culture has an effect on your ability to achieve your key goals. Unfortunately, too many organizations don’t monitor or plan their workplace culture. Instead, they view culture as extraneous to success or something that happens by accident.

Building an effective workplace culture that promotes peak performance requires deliberate planning and thought. It doesn’t happen on its own. If you want your team to perform at their peak, you’ll want to ensure your work culture and HR policies promote trust, inclusion, and fairness across your organization. Here’s what you need to know about the ROI of workplace culture – and how you can build a positive and productive culture in your organization.

Workplace Culture Drives Recruitment & Retention

Your organization’s culture is a key driver of both employee recruitment and employee retention. In addition to attracting new talent, a positive culture keeps current employees engaged. This means they’ll be more likely to stay rather than accept a new position somewhere else.

But organizational culture is more than just office perks. It’s more than just putting a foosball table in the break room. Jessica Kriegel, Ph.D., a workplace culture consultant, told Computer World earlier this year that creating a positive onboarding experience for new hires means treating onboarding like dating.

“You’re selling the culture of the organization,” Kriegel says. “It’s a sales opportunity to recruit someone to your company.”

Workplace culture, Kriegel explains, isn’t about feelings – it’s about beliefs. Kriegel says companies can deliberately engineer the beliefs they want employees to hold. The key, she says, is to design cultural experiences that lead to those beliefs.

“If we want people to be more innovative, they need to have the belief that leadership encourages risk-taking and embraces failure,” Kriegel explains. 

It’s values and beliefs like these that create a strong workplace culture. If you want your company culture to create results then build it on values like trust, inclusion, and fairness.

The Importance of Trust, Inclusion, and Fairness

Trust is a key aspect of a successful culture. If your team doesn’t feel like you trust them to do their jobs, they’ll start to feel downtrodden and unmotivated. Without a sense of trust, your employees won’t want to show up to work. As a result, they’ll only put in the minimum effort.

Inclusion is also an important aspect of a positive workplace culture. When everyone on the team feels included, they become more effective at working together as a team. This means team-based projects will get done faster and to a higher degree of quality.

Fairness is potentially the most important value in your workplace. People have an innate sense of fairness that has been developed from a very young age. When your employees sense that they are being treated unfairly, it can cause significant rifts in your team. In some cases, unfair treatment may lead top employees to quit. In other, more egregious cases, it may lead to regulatory action or lawsuits.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that having a strong, positive culture can improve your retention and recruitment. One study found that a culture focused on mutual support and achievement had retention benefits. In contrast, a workplace culture focused on power resulted in significant employee churn. Quite simply: Employees are more likely to stick around when they feel valued. And that means ensuring your workplace is a place of trust, inclusion, and fairness.

A Positive Workplace Culture Boosts Productivity

Beyond retention and recruitment, having a strong office culture renders benefits in other ways. Workplace culture is a significant factor in employee engagement, which influences productivity. When your employees feel engaged at work, they’re more productive – which means they perform better. 

A positive company culture can also give employees a sense of ownership at work. When employees feel a sense of ownership, they’re more motivated and engaged.

Beyond simply higher morale, though, a strong company culture can also create a sense of accountability among your staff. This means they’ll be more committed to hitting their goals. One 2017 Gallup study found that engaged employees are 17% more productive than less-engaged employees.

Workplace Culture Starts from the Top

As a leader, you set your workplace culture. Whether you’re aware of it or not, the way you treat your employees influences the way they treat each other.

Your company HR policies also have a strong influence in creating your workplace culture. That’s why auditing your HR policies can help ensure you’re creating a productive and inclusive culture at your organization.

Once you’ve set those cultural policies, you’ll want to ensure that your new hires adopt them quickly. When onboarding and training new hires, ensure you have a module on your workplace culture. This way, new hires will know whether your culture is more high-pressure and hustle-oriented or more patient and relaxed. They’ll also know what your company’s values are and how they can embody those values in the workplace. 

Technology can aid in this regard. With a corporate LMS, for instance, you can train your new employees on company culture before they enter the workplace. You can even create specialized modules that explain what trust, inclusion, and fairness look like at your organization.

Workplace culture is a key driver of employee performance; a positive culture also aids in recruitment and retention. Your organization will have some sort of culture, whether you plan it or not. That’s why it’s best to intentionally create a positive and welcoming culture where your employees can thrive. By building a culture of trust, inclusion, and fairness, you can boost productivity, improve employee retention, and give your new recruits a reason to feel excited to show up to work.

Are you training your team on workplace culture? How are you creating a company culture where your employees can thrive?

Employee Retention How to Keep Your Top Performers and Fend Off the Great Resignation

Employee Retention: How to Keep Your Top Performers and Fend Off the Great Resignation

The hiring crunch has been going on for quite some time. Across all industries, at every level, there are more open jobs than there are qualified candidates to fill them. In parallel, people are leaving their jobs in record numbers. In November 2021, the United States’ resignation rate reached a 20-year high. One Pew Research survey examined the top reasons that employees resign. The survey found that most employees leave due to low pay, feeling disrespected, and/or no opportunities for advancement. Other reasons for leaving included: a lack of childcare, no scheduling flexibility, and poor (or no) job benefits. The Great Resignation is primarily being driven by young people, particularly those under age 30. With more employees than ever deciding that it’s time to move on, focusing on employee retention has never mattered more.

Employee Retention Challenges: What’s Driving the Great Resignation?

Economists say the leading cause of the Great Resignation is the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused employees to rethink their life priorities. The things employees previously sought (and/or tolerated) in a workplace are no longer the same things they seek out today. But this priority shift isn’t just employees’ concern. Managers have much at stake in the Great Resignation as well. Research has repeatedly found that it can cost at least ⅓ of an employee’s salary to replace that employee. For high-level positions, replacing a lost staff member can easily cost 4 times their annual salary.

If your organization is having trouble hanging onto your employees, you’re looking at lost time and money. Furthermore, your understaffed crew is likely experiencing low morale as they try to pick up the slack. That’s why improving employee retention is one of the best things you can do for employee morale and your bottom line. Here are some things you can do to boost your retention rate and cut down on turnover costs.

Give Your Managers Ongoing Training to Increase Employee Retention

It’s often said that people don’t quit jobs; they quit bosses. While a good manager can win employees’ respect and loyalty, a bad manager can drive away even dedicated staff. That’s why training your managers is one of the best things you can do to ensure your staff stay with you long-term.

Managing people is its own skill-set with its own learning curve. While some people are naturally gifted at team management, others are not. Even if managers have degrees in management or business, their post-secondary education won’t necessarily transfer over to your workplace. Investing in managerial training with focus on motivational tactics and leadership styles can help you to cultivate leaders within your organization that your team likes and respects. That means training your managers will go a long way toward keeping your whole team for the long-term.

Provide Opportunities for Career Advancement & Watch Your Employee Retention Rate Soar

Employees don’t just want opportunities for career advancement – they want to see the path to advancement and understand what it entails. Show your top performers that good work is rewarded, and they’ll feel more invested in your organization.

Hiring from within is also faster and far more affordable than external hiring. When hiring externally, you’ll likely need to pay for a recruiter and training time. You’ll also need to give your new hire time to become acclimated to their new environment. But when you can hire internally, you save the time and money involved in recruitment and training.

It’s also much easier to cultivate and reward your up-and-coming intrapreneurs if you have a training tool that tracks their progress. Your organization likely has intrapreneurs – employees with entrepreneur-like motivation and creativity – working on innovative ideas for your company. If your managers aren’t paying attention, it’s easy to miss these high-performers – and under-utilize them.

But when you can track your employees’ training, you can easily spot the top performers. You can identify the ultra-motivated people who are succeeding at their training and even taking the initiative to train themselves in areas outside their job requirements. With a tool like Cogcentric, for instance, you can instantly identify who’s taking on extra training — so you know who your high-performers are.

Cultivate a Retention-Oriented Workplace Culture

One of the top reasons why employees leave is toxic workplace culture. In January 2022, a team of researchers from Revelio Labs, CultureX, the New York University School of Business, and the MIT Sloan School of Management performed an in-depth analysis of over 34 million online employee profiles, aiming to uncover the top reasons why employees leave their employers. The researchers also created an index called the Culture 500, a list of 500 large private-sector employers across the United States that collectively employ 25% of the American workforce. This study examined the resignation rates across companies and industries, assessing which industries and organizations were most likely to see employees quit.

The findings were complex, but they tell a story about workplace culture. While some industries, like fashion retailers and management consultancies, were most likely to lose employees, there was also significant variation within industries. Within the airline industry, for instance, employees were nearly twice as likely to leave JetBlue as to resign from Southwest Airlines.

Next, the researchers analyzed 1.4 million Glassdoor reviews of the 500 employers, identifying which topics mentioned in reviews were most predictive of a high resignation rate. Surprisingly, pay rate ranked #16 on the list of most-mentioned topics. In other words: Pay rate wasn’t top-of-mind for employees who resigned.

In contrast, the study found that toxic workplace culture is the #1 most common reason for and strongest predictor of employee resignation. Toxic workplace culture is the driving force behind 10 times more resignations than pay; that means no amount of compensation can convince employees to stay in a toxic work environment.

In a follow-up article, the researchers describe the 5 attributes of workplace culture that are the most toxic to an organization. Notably, all of these attributes are things that are within a manager’s control.

Workplace Culture is a Choice

Workplace culture isn’t something that happens by accident; it’s a byproduct of your organization’s leadership. Every manager in your company plays a role in setting your organizational culture. By training your managers and senior staff to counteract these toxic attributes and instead cultivate a positive workplace culture, your organization can improve its retention rate – thereby cutting your hiring costs.

The Great Resignation has employees at all levels questioning their priorities and leaving positions that no longer appeal to them. As employees quit, employers are facing higher recruitment costs driven by high inflation and high staff turnover. With employee recruitment costs easily eclipsing the cost of retention, it’s never been more important to hold onto your staff. You can boost your retention efforts with a mix of managerial training, opportunities for advancement, and a positive workplace culture.

What is your company doing to boost employee retention? How are you equipping your employees to succeed in their roles and enticing them to stay with you?