What is Employee Training & Development

Employee training and development is a broad term covering multiple kinds of employee learning.

Training is a program that helps employees learn specific knowledge or skills to improve performance in their current roles. Development is more expansive and focuses on employee growth and future performance, rather than an immediate job role.

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Why you need high-impact employee training and development.

Good training and development programs help you retain the right people and grow profits. As the battle for top talent becomes more competitive, employee training and development programs are more important than ever. Hiring top talent takes time and money, and how you engage and develop that talent from the time they are first onboarded impacts retention and business growth. For example, Great Place to Work® found that employee development, more than any other area, was identified by the 2014 100 Best Companies as a top area of focus.

According to China Gorman, CEO at Great Place to Work, “As companies grow and the war for talent intensifies, it is increasingly important that training and development programs are not only competitive, but are supporting the organization on its defined strategic path.” And it’s not just about retention. Employee training and development programs directly impact your bottom line.

In their Predictions for 2015, Bersin by Deloitte said, “Organizations with high-impact learning delivered profit growth three times greater than their competitors. Why is this? Simply put—if you can keep your employees current and skilled, you can evolve and perform better than your competitors.”

How do you create high-impact employee training?

High-impact training and development programs don’t just happen. Instead, they’re the result of a careful planning and alignment process. The following steps can help you translate business objectives into a tailored training plan.

  1. Identify Business Impact: Design and develop your training to meet the company’s overall goals. Keeping business goals in focus ensures training and development makes a measurable impact.
  2. Analyze Skill Gaps: How are your employees’ behaviors helping meet the business goal? By finding out what the gaps are between employees’ current and ideal skills, you can better pinpoint what your specific learning objectives should be. Categorize these learning objectives into these three groups, and have activities in your training plan that target all three.
    • Motivation: How can you help learners understand why they need to change their behaviors? By working with employee motivations–for example, pinpointing a purpose–you’re more likely to change behavior over the long term.
    • Skills Mastery: What do your learners need to be able to do on the job? These behaviors will have the most impact on performance.
    • Critical Thinking: What must your learners know to perform their jobs well? Distinguish critical knowledge from nice-to-know info to identify what content should be in the course, and what should be in optional resources.
  3. Layer Training Methods: The most effective training programs use layered, sustainable learning activities to create performance improvement over time. A layered approach makes sure your program targets the most essential employee, customer, and business needs, while training the right people at the right time in the right way. A layered approach is the best of all worlds because it blends learning experiences and training methods that maximize the benefits of your time.
  4. Evaluate Effectiveness and Sustain Gains: Employees’ need for training and support doesn’t end when they get back to work. In fact, continued support is required to ensure that initial training sticks. Measurable learning objectives are the foundation for you to evaluate an initiative’s impact.



Advantages and benefits of high-impact employee training

Top companies invest in training programs because they know the investment pays off in individual and organizational benefits. Here are a few examples.


  • Profit growth
  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Deeper talent succession pipelines


  • Increased employee motivation
  • Improved engagement
  • Improved speed to competency and productivity

Companies who are creating effective employee development and training programs

A Layered Model Designed for Sales Success

Avigilon’s sales team is composed largely of independent contractors. For the company to grow, these employees need to understand Avigilon’s complex line of HD cameras and security systems, and how they benefit potential clients. After a thorough needs analysis, the company determined that a multi-stage development program was necessary to meet their company sales objectives and ensure their sales team was knowledgable and comfortable with their full product line. This layered approach is helping Avigilon create and maintain a sales team that has the product knowledge and sales skills necessary to achieve the company’s future growth projections.

Building a Sustainable Talent Pipeline

Leaders at Brunswick recognized that their existing management talent pipeline wouldn’t support their growth plans. The company determined that the difference between effective and ineffective managers could be as much as $50,000 in operating costs per facility each year. Challenges the company faced in developing an effective training program included a geographically diverse audience, a relatively small learner population, and disjointed employee hire dates. To meet these needs, the company developed a 6-week program that includes learner-driven content, virtual instructor-led options, semi-annual conferences, and on-the-job projects.

Learn how we help organizations achieve better business results with our custom employee training and development solutions.

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