How to Identify Employee Training Needs
Training is a vital component when it comes to employee engagement and retention. But how do you know if the training you’re providing is actually fulfilling employees’ needs?
Understanding what employees need to succeed in an ever-evolving digital world is a constant challenge to employers and training managers.
Traditional methods of training, which involve in-person classroom sessions, user manuals, and webinars are time-consuming and don’t support knowledge retention. According to Hermann Ebbinghaus’s theory of the learning curve, people forget 50%-80% of the new information they learn after just one day.
The frequency of technology updates makes providing adequate software training a difficult challenge to solve. How can you be sure your training content isn’t on the verge of becoming obsolete?
This is the primary challenge for training managers in the digital era: How to identify employee training needs — and keep up with them.
Leaders and employees perceive software usability very differently
In WalkMe’s latest survey entitled, “Bridging the Digital Gap; What Leaders are Missing in Employees’ Digital Experience” we can see there is a disconnect between how employers and employees perceive the usability of their digital tools.
For example, 28.7% of employers said they were “very satisfied” with the usability of their workspace software, whereas just 14.5% of employees are.
Unsurprisingly, 74.1% of employees cite inadequate training as a main barrier to software usability, according to the survey.
An interesting point of divergence is how proficient leaders and employees rate themselves while using software. While 50% of employers consider themselves “champions” or “experts” at their software, just 23.9% of employees do.
These gaps are concerning, as it’s the leaders who are responsible for deciding what kind of training to provide and how much.
If leaders have an inflated view of the rate of digital adoption and satisfaction among their workforce, they may not know how to identify employee training needs accurately and subsequently not provide the right training.
Traditional methods for identifying employee training needs can only take you so far
There are several traditional methods training managers use to find out how to identify employee training needs. According to BreatheHR the following seven methods give employers a view of where the gaps exist in their employee training needs. These include:
- Setting clear expectations
- Monitoring performance
- Speaking to employees about their needs
- Carrying out organizational, performance, and task analysis
- Creating individual development plans
- Conducting focus groups
- Mentoring and coaching
These methods help training managers understand the context that surrounds an employees’ work so they can better understand what kind of training they need.
Know exactly where training gaps persist with data insights
We all know by now that employees spend the bulk of their time using enterprise software of one kind of another.
Understanding exactly which aspects of the user journey impact usability and where more targeted training is required is integral to ensuring high performance and a positive employee experience.
With software that provides insights on the user journey, employers can gain an end-to-end view of the employee’s level of usability so they can identify where each individual needs more support.
Such insights could include knowing which processes take the longest, where “drop-off” or quitting in the middle occurs, and which processes and features are going unutilized.
After gaining the right tools to discover how to identify employee training needs, you are in the right position to bring your employee training methods to the next level.
You’ve identified the training gaps. Now what?
We’ve identified two methods that are equipped to provide effective training and retraining, boost knowledge retention, and ensure a positive employee experience.
Contextual learning is a method of training that goes beyond personalization.
By analyzing a broad range of contextual factors (such as an employee’s position, KPIs, tasks, previous user behavior, and many others) solutions that enable contextual learning deploy on-screen guidance in real time to literally walk users through processes, step-by-step.
There are a few key benefits of this technique. The first is that employees can “learn in the flow of work” — they don’t need to spend additional time in a training session, then attempt to recall and use all of the new information they learned independently.
The second is that all of the guidance and support they might need is accessible around the clock.
Another key benefit is that the more an employee uses the solution, the better it learns about their goals and intentions. Eventually, such solutions will proactively send tips and prompts asking users if they need help completing a process, or provide relevant content that can answer their questions.
Irrespective of an employee’s prior experience on a digital tool, contextual learning always provides the right amount of tailored guidance. Whether an employee is learning to use a software for the first time or navigating new features after an update, they have all of the support they need.
Dynamic training methods that support an adaptive work environment are best suited for the digital age. Not only do they better fit the way employees actually work, but they support the development of an adaptive culture.
Training Magazine states that “Learning is an irreplaceable component in defining an organization’s culture.” The article, which discusses adaptive cultures when it comes to employee learning, cites a study that highlights the differences between those with adaptive and non-adaptive cultures.
Unsurprisingly, those with adaptive cultures saw higher growth in revenue, workforce, stock price, and net income. Having an adaptive culture when it comes to learning and training is crucial to a company’s future.
A culture that is adaptive and flexible when it comes to learning and support will deliver a positive and productive employee experience.
Training optimization is an ongoing effort
Having the tools that show you exactly how to identify employee training needs as time goes on is a fundamental first step. The second step is providing training techniques that are equipped to meet contemporary needs on ever-evolving enterprise software.
This training and support will not only highlight areas of under-utilized tools, pain points, and “drop-offs,” but can also deliver on-going support and training to employers as they become champions of the software in their workplace.
A team that uses all the features correctly and that feels supported will be the team that drives your success.