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5 Tenets for Successful Employee Training

Employee development and training programs are crucial to keeping your employees engaged, growing and learning. They also help retain quality employees, improve customer service and add to your operation’s bottom line. Each of these five tenets should be a part of any training process and are easy to implement in any size training or development program, whether you have a dedicated human resources employee overseeing the process or another staff member handling the training process. 

Clearly defined goals. Let employees know what they are expected to learn and take away from training. Set realistic goals using the SMART method: choose goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Include the purpose or mission of training with the goals, so employees are reminded of the “why” of training. Share the training goals with all participants and make the goals easy to find for employees to reference later. 

User-friendly channels. Whether online or in-person, make the training easy to follow and engage with. For online training, use the technology your employees have access to or provide the necessary hardware or software they need to complete training. When conducting in-person training, choose times of the day and week that are convenient for employees. Provide plenty of breaks during the training period and choose a location that is comfortable and conducive to learning.  

Frequent feedback. Don’t wait until the end of training to let employees know how they’re doing; provide consistent reviews so they can improve as they go. Feedback could come in the form of quick written assessments, or you could give short quizzes or tests after each section to see how each employee is retaining information and learning the information they need to learn. 

Engaging content. Even the dullest topics can become more engaging with well-written and presented content. Tap into your marketing staff to help you write compelling training content or consider hiring a third-party company to create content. Numerous companies also exist that can make your training material interactive with gamification. 

Buy-in from leadership. Good habits and positive company culture starts from the top and trickles down, so involve owners and managers in the training process so employees can see their leaders are engaged. If management believes training is important, their team members are more likely to buy-in. 

Learn how the North American Hardware and Paint Association can help you set up your own training program here and here.

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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