Comprehensive training and development activities for employees are a great way to attract and retain top talent. Any business or company should have the tools to adapt to rapid changes in the market, which will require a persistent and judicious team. Internal and external processes are sometimes in need of modification or automation, which means your employees need to know how to react. Aside from unique employee benefits, having an ongoing training procedure can help your employees develop these pertinent skills that will also help the company grow. In this article, we discuss the best training activities you can implement quickly to streamline skill expansion and enthusiasm in your work culture.
Note: If you are a university, business, or student organization representative and want to partner with us, visit our partnerships page.
What Does a Solid Training and Development Activities for Employees Program Look Like?
There are many angles to consider when you’re planning or trying to adapt your training and development activities for your employees. You have to consider what any training program should include, and what your overall goal should be. For example, a partnership program like BeMo’s can drastically increase some of the following metrics:
- Attract employees: you are more likely to attract better employees when your training program is inclusive and ongoing. Job seekers are looking for positions that care about their professional development. If you have the means to invest in your employees, they can use those tools to contribute to your company in meaningful ways.
- Increase employee retention: as a business owner, you should know how to retain your best employees. With a program that offers compelling benefits like academic consulting, it’s certain that your employees will be motivated to go above and beyond.
- Customer acquisition and retention: when your employees are motivated to complete high-quality work, this will create a cycle of more satisfied customers. Excellent products and customer service are two benchmarks of any successful company, so having a company benefits package that encourages progress toward this milestone is important.
- Stand out in the crowd: to develop a brand synonymous with trust, dependability, and a commitment to excellence, you will need strong partnerships and unique benefits. Once these are established, employees can engage with your development program and start contributing to a more productive and satisfying work culture.
The Best Training and Development Activities for Employees
The most creative ways to attract employees typically include a combination of experiential and theoretical training. It’s important to allow employees to learn in various ways to support different learning styles and preferences. Some jobs and tasks will require contrasting types of activities; for example, a writing job will require a balance of reading and writing tasks to get the writer in the habit of writing a certain way.
Follow this list for the best activities you can introduce into your hiring and training procedure to attract employees:
#1 Continuing Education
In the modern job market, job seekers are becoming more interested in continuing their education at some point during their careers. Many entry-level and even some mid-level or senior employees will reach a critical point when the opportunity to acquire new credentials becomes their top job satisfaction factor. Even if employees aren’t sure if they’d like to go back to school to earn a new degree, having the option available will show that you support their goals.
Academic consulting and career coaching are relatively recent employee development programs. The way academic consulting works is that for employees who want to go back to school, say to pursue an MBA or law degree, an admissions consultant will work with them to develop application materials and interviewing skills to get into the right program.
This ancillary service achieves a few notable things:
- Investing in long-term growth: there’s no better way to show your employees you care than to implement an educational development program. Also, employers can use this opportunity to upskill and reskill their staff. With new knowledge and skills gained from pursuing higher education, your employees will be more qualified to perform additional, more complex duties.
- Encourage career advancement: when employees reach new heights through their education, they are equipped to explore higher-level roles that potentially pay more. This remains one of the best ways to retain your best employees.
- Improve productivity and efficiency: having a more skilled workforce will help your organization bypass unnecessary training interventions and save on hiring expenses. Employees will also have the expert knowledge and experience to diffuse conflicts and problem-solve in difficult situations.
#2 Team Building to Promote Inclusion
The anchor of a successful company or business is a diverse group of employees. It’s a well-supported fact that a more diverse workplace reduces implicit bias and, in turn, establishes a more inclusive environment that encourages unique perspectives and backgrounds.
For job seekers, it’s important to advertise your anti-discrimination policy in the hiring process and in the work environment itself. But, if you’re going to advertise it, it must be true. Offering your current employees a development program that will instill in them the ideas and skills they need to promote and support diversity will help build an internal community that practices what it preaches.
There are a few activities you can consider when you’re designing these team-building activities:
- Community service: every company or business should invest time in community service. Charitable commitments will not only promote your company’s values, but give your employees a chance to learn about the needs of their community.
- Company events: hosting company events like lunches, dinners, or holiday celebrations is a great way to foster strong internal relationships. Despite working in proximity, many employees don’t know their colleagues on a personal level. Getting to know each other in casual settings can help promote closeness and synergy both within and outside of the workplace.
- Have a virtual space: having a designated virtual workspace where employees can share stories, post images, and talk about what’s on their minds can help facilitate close relationships. The purpose of using a virtual space to interact is that employees can use it even when they aren’t working to gain and offer new perspectives that aren’t necessarily related to their jobs.
- Job rotation: for companies and businesses in which collaboration is emphasized, choose one day of the week for members of the same department or similar roles to switch jobs or shadow one another. This way, employees will simultaneously learn a new skill that they can leverage in a typical workday and gain an appreciation for what their colleagues do.
#3 Stretch Assignments
Stretch assignments, which are considered an innovative employee perk, refer to tasks that are beyond the comprehension and experience level of the individual performing them. These projects are designed to facilitate growth and experience in a gradual and supportive manner, which means it’s important to avoid intimidating anyone completing this challenge. The strategic aim of this task is to challenge critical thinking skills while introducing new concepts through experience. For stretch assignments to work, you need to make sure you provide the right resources. There are a few things you need to keep in mind before utilizing this method:
- Don’t overburden your employees: stretch assignments need to be planned accordingly so they don’t interfere with your employees’ regular tasks. For example, plan a week or a few days out of every month for employees to choose a stretch assignment to complete. This way, everyone can engage in the activity without worrying about conflicting deadlines or protocols.
- Make assignments accessible: assignments shouldn’t be so difficult that your employees won’t be able to complete them. These projects should challenge and expand comprehension, but not so much that employees become confused or unmotivated to complete the task. To avoid this, make the instructions clear and be sure to be available during the assignment period to answer questions.
- Adjust the standards for each person: the goal of stretch assignments is to learn a new skill, concept, or standard operating procedure (SOP) for a new role. The rubric you use to evaluate performance for these projects should reflect the difficulty of the task and the competence of the person completing it.
- Don’t discourage mistakes: because projects like these can be intimidating, try to be considerate of what’s expected. You want your employees to do a good job, but you should also be sure to provide feedback and approval to encourage their interest in completing these offbeat assignments to grow as professionals.
When it comes to developing and upskilling your employees, coaching is one of the best methods. Learning a new skill is difficult, so having someone who can provide consistent, high-quality feedback is critically important. In most work settings, senior members will typically work with newer employees to help them develop new capacities or execute higher-level procedures. Managers and human resources are also heavily involved in overseeing the coaching process, as they are in charge of expectations for employees at all levels.
Coaching initiatives can also be time-consuming, but they are well worth it when you schedule and organize coaching sessions properly to avoid interfering with someone’s workday. Start by identifying the employees you think would benefit from participating in a coaching program and the senior members who will lead the program. Then, survey and coordinate their availability. Some companies use incentives like a bonus to attract senior members to a coaching position. If anyone is unsure, emphasize how becoming a coach will help them develop as leaders.
Most coaching programs consist of regular meetings with employees to help them understand objectives, ask questions, and practice certain tasks. While it’s important to establish a routine that works for the company and everyone involved, there are a few features you should include:
- Have a culture of team feedback: the objective of a coaching program is to provide a structure for regular feedback. However, your goal should be to maintain consistent positive and constructive criticism, even without a program. Encourage everyone, including new employees, to request and give feedback regularly.
- Offer personalized formats: coaching formatting options are innumerable, so you need to focus on what works for your team. Some employees might prefer one-on-one sessions, while others will prefer group settings. Ask those participating in the program what their preferences are and do your best to accommodate them. Remember, integrity and democracy are two of the best employee perks for small businesses to offer.
- Identify key skills: it’s no use having a coaching program if you aren’t developing relevant skills. Identify employees’ strengths and weaknesses and decide how you can address them in coaching sessions. For example, you can assign a senior member to a newer employee to supervise a difficult task they’re having trouble with.
- Keep communication open: if your employees don’t feel like they’re progressing, then it’s important to address disruptions or inefficiencies. After each coaching session, be sure to review key objectives and ask everyone how they plan to improve. Aside from making your own observations regarding progress, it’s important for everyone to be on the same page about what’s expected.
Workshops are a great way to bring staff together to learn a new skill or procedure. Workshops are different from meetings or other lecture-based activities because they require participation from everyone. Workshops tend to emphasize collaboration and communication more than other development activities, which is why they can work so well in team settings.
You can modify workshop formats to meet the needs of the specific organization and the employees within it. You don’t always have to do a skill workshop; for example, you can plan a regular company culture workshop in which a manager presents core company values and how objectives are being sought. Workshops are usually experiential, but the format should also be adaptable. Establish a consistent workshop schedule with a combination of optional and mandatory programs, and be sure to ask everyone if they have any ideas for workshops or if they want to lead one. Here are a few examples of activities:
- Mental health: mental health in the workplace is extremely important. Not only will a strong support system and adequate resources reduce absenteeism, but it will create a more productive and content atmosphere and culture.
- Career development: the great thing about career development workshops is that they can be held remotely. Typically, knowledgeable members of the HR department will discuss how career progression works for many of the roles within the company and provide general advice for developing a strong resume, cover letter, and interviewing etiquette.
- Guest speaker: bringing in guest speakers to lecture a group of interested employees can help inspire them in their lives and careers. For example, have an expert on a certain technological development that your company is affiliated with discuss and show employees how their projects are making a positive impact on society.
1. What is the aim of training and development activities for employees?
These development activities aim to teach employees a new skill or technique. Programs can take a variety of forms, but you should make sure that you’re getting feedback from everyone so that activities are helping people progress.
2. What are the benefits of training and development activities?
The main benefits include increased job satisfaction for employees, increased retention, more alluring benefits for prospective employees, increased customer acquisition and retention, and better emphasis on what distinguishes your company.
3. What is the purpose of BeMo’s partnership program?
BeMo’s partnership program has benefits for both employees and employers. We provide unlimited undergraduate, graduate, professional school, and career coaching for employees and their families.
4. What are stretch assignments?
Stretch assignments are projects assigned to employees that are beyond their skill and comprehension level. They are designed to stimulate learning and the development of new skills. If you choose to use these assignments, employees must be supervised and instructed clearly.
5. What are some team-building activities?
Some of the best team-building activities include community service, company events, a casual virtual collaboration space, and job rotation.
6. What should I keep in mind when I’m implementing a workshop schedule?
Something you should keep in mind when you’re developing a workshop schedule is to distribute activities fairly; keep attendance optional for some workshops and mandatory for others. Try to make these activities interesting and collaborative.
7. What is the goal of a coaching program?
Ideally, you want your coaching program to eventually lead to a work culture that doesn’t require as many sessions. This is because coaching is designed to encourage feedback and help employees learn new skills organically.
8. How do continuing education activities help my employees?
Academic consulting can help your employees learn about admissions processes, strategize what schools to apply to, and learn how to develop strong application materials. Most employees nowadays will consider pursuing education at some point during their careers, so investing in their development in this way will keep them satisfied and productive.
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