Staff Training

What are the Best Methods?

What are the best methods of staff training? Why is it important, what are the most cost-effective methods and should it be internal or external?

For someone to achieve the best results expected of them on their job, they need to know how to operate. If they have previous experience, they can hit the ground running. If not, they need some sort of staff training.

The knowhow of a particular job can be divided into two categories: technical knowledge and on-the-job procedures.

Technical Knowledge

Technical knowledge is available from many sources.

  • External training courses.
  • Internal training.
  • Online training courses.

You can send the employee to an external training course, or have the course delivered on your premises (if you have several people who all need the same training).

This is a purely an economic choice, but if you are going to use an external resource:

  • Get quotes from 2 or 3 different training organisations.
  • Ask for references.
  • See if you can also speak to some of their customers’ trainees.

Since “technical knowledge” is finite and exact (like operating a particular software program), it is not too difficult to finish up with an employee who has the required knowledge.

Investigate online solutions for your staff training, although these are not as good as “classroom” training, because overcoming student difficulties is not as effective.

Also, you are relying on the employee’s diligence in devoting time to the training. It is not as regimented (and is therefore more prone to interruption) than a classroom environment.

On-The-Job Procedures

On-the-job staff training is not so straight forward. Most new employees (or people moved into a new job internally) are replacing someone who previously performed that job.

That previous employee would have built up a considerable amount of knowledge about how to get things done – the procedures and processes that are peculiar to the job.

Unfortunately, at the point where the new employee is about to take over, there are two main barriers to the transfer of this knowledge.

  1. The previous employee has left the company.
  2. Or, they have been moved to another position and are fully immersed in learning their new job.

There is an effective solution to this, however. Get your people to keep a “job write-up” that outlines the various methods and processes involved. Implement this job write-up process now and you will head off future problems in this area.

A job write-up is simply a list of all those things that are peculiar to the performance of a particular job.

  • They are the sort of things that an incumbent learns by experience.
  • It’s how to get things done faster, easier and with less hassle.

Your new employee would learn most of these over time, but a job write-up, prepared by the previous employee, will enable the new person to get up to speed much faster.

It does not need to be complicated, or lengthy.

  • Just get your existing people to sit down and go over their daily activities, splitting their job into the sets of actions they perform.
  • Then, have them make a list of the steps they take to perform each action. This will bring out the methods they have discovered that make life easier for them.

See a more detailed explanation of the Job Write-Up process.

If your employees lack knowledge, without staff training they have no hope of giving their best performance, no matter how powerful or effective they are. It is a key part of performance management.

See Performance Management Training: How to Train Top Performers for details on how to train your top people.