What Is Training and Development? (Types, Benefits and Tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 30 April 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Employee training and development is a program of educational opportunities offered to staff by their employers. Training and development help employees to grow in their role, improve their performance and develop new skills. Knowing more about the training and development process can help you when completing training programs, as you can gain a deeper understanding of the concept. In this article, we answer the question 'What is training and development?' by sharing the different types of programmes organisations offer, discuss advantages of these programmes and provide tips for optimising your training period.
What is training and development?
The answer to the question 'What is training and development?' is that training and development refer to the practices and efforts organisations make to help employees develop important skills and knowledge. Though these terms are often used interchangeably, training and development differ slightly. The key difference between these two terms is that training usually relates to a topic or activity that's new to the trainee and prepares them for a new role. Development typically helps people advance the skill set they already have to help them become more efficient and effective in their roles and to plan for future promotion.
Training and development can include instruction for general topics or specific tasks that relate to a job role. It's helpful to consider the different types of training and development to understand what they are. Here are some examples of training and development within organisations:
Orientation is a training activity that occurs at the beginning of a new job, task or other event. For example, when an organisation first hires a staff member, it hosts an orientation period. Orientation periods for new hires typically include information from the employee handbook, organisational policies, contact information for their supervisors and other necessary details they may need when starting work.
Organisations may also use orientations to introduce a new event or promotion. For example, if an employee earns a promotion to a management position, they may attend an orientation to teach them the basics of leadership. When attending orientations, it's helpful to save the many resources the coordinator offers, such as an employee handbook or written protocols for certain tasks, as you can then reference these materials when working in your new role.
Group training involves a larger number of employees and helps teams learn about new policies or how to complete a certain task. Some organisations host regular group training sessions to help employees with different aspects of their job. For example, a restaurant may host group training sessions for customer service, food safety or efficient serving practices. Group training sessions can also allow for bonding with your colleagues, so it may be helpful to take advantage of this to help improve your collaboration skills.
On-the-job training refers to a programme that allows employees to start in a new role with limited experience. Employees who receive on-the-job training learn through hands-on experiences. This type of training typically involves shadowing another employee, so you may spend the first few weeks of the job assisting a colleague with their duties. Then, at the end of your training period, you can begin working independently.
Related: What Is On-the-Job Training?
Lectures and presentations are a type of group training and development session. Organisations may ask a highly skilled employee or manager to lead a training session to inform other employees of the topic within their expertise. For example, an IT (information technology) professional may lead a presentation for the entire organisation on how to use a new application feature. Typically, you and your colleagues can then ask questions at the end of the presentation. This can help you gain a better understanding of the training topic.
To optimise your experience with this type of training, consider taking notes during the presentation to refer to later. If you discover a question after the presentation, you might consider contacting the presenter directly to find an answer.
Technical training includes development and learning activities that focus on a specific skill or ability that employees use to complete their job duties. For example, when a printing company purchases a new machine, the supplier or a company official may lead a training session on how to use the machine. Technical training is typically needs-based, which means the organisation may introduce a new practice or resource when they notice you and other employees are struggling to learn a new task.
Organisations offer personal development training to help enrich their workplace culture. Personal development training topics may be general or specific to the organisation. Common training topics include diversity and sensitivity, team-building and gender equality. This type of training can help you feel more welcome at work and expose you and your colleagues to diverse perspectives of the world and society.
What are the benefits of training and development?
These programmes benefit both employees and companies, as people who participate in training often feel happier in their role and are more effective. You can also benefit from training programmes by working towards promotions and the development of certain skills. Being a well-trained employee can not only help you earn favour where you currently work, but can also equip you with transferable skills.
Tips for optimising training and development programmes
When participating in a training exercise or programme, it's helpful to be mindful of how you approach your learning. Taking measures to strengthen your training process and become more efficient can benefit you and your employer. Here are some tips for optimising the training process:
Start as soon as you can
When completing the hiring process, ask your new supervisor or human resources (HR) contact about the training process. An effective training and development program begins on your first day. The on-boarding program gives you and other new hires some insight into your responsibilities, how your role fits within the organisation and what the expectations are for performance and achievement. Asking for training materials and instruction as soon as possible once beginning work can help you feel comfortable in your role sooner.
It's also helpful to keep this mentality even as a more experienced employee. If you notice a change in the workplace or in your responsibilities that you feel unsure of, consider asking your supervisor for updated training soon.
Create a training manual
A training manual can be an incredibly effective training tool when you want to check a policy or procedure while you're working. Having a training manual that incorporates practical and technical advice can give you a point of reference for some of your queries and allow you to become proficient in skills that can boost your performance.
If the organisation doesn't offer you a training manual, you might consider creating your own. You can fill it with resources you acquire during orientation and continue to add important documents and summaries of policies when you find them. Consider including images and screenshots where possible to illustrate instructions for using in-house databases or systems.
Shadow an experienced colleague
Many jobs offer new staff members a chance to shadow a more experienced member of staff, watching them and learning how to complete some of the key tasks involved in the role. Having the chance to talk to a staff member who can give you a detailed picture of the role can help you get a better understanding of your position. It's also a good way to establish a relationship between yourself and your colleagues. Once you feel more comfortable in your role, you might consider acting as a mentor to new employees to help them develop in the organisation.
Seek ongoing training
Once you feel established in your role, consider seeking a long-term training programme. This may include periodic updates on the procedures and processes to ensure that you maintain your knowledge of the working practices within your job description. Training is also necessary whenever there are policy changes or updates to procedures. Your employer can share some updates by emailing all of your colleagues, whereas others may need specialised training. If you notice a change in your workplace that management professionals haven't addressed through training, you might consider asking a supervisor about training opportunities to help you and your colleagues.
If you want to earn a promotion, you might ask a supervisor about development opportunities to help you prepare for a role with more responsibility. Some organisations also support training programmes outside of the ones they offer, such as a formal qualification. If there's a certain learning opportunity you want to complete, consider asking your supervisor about it, as the organisation may offer tuition reimbursement as an employment benefit.
Review progress regularly
Review your progress often. You can do this by creating your own personal goals and monitoring their completion or by asking for feedback from your manager. Reviewing your progress can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses. This can allow you to seek more specific training experiences based on the skills you have and the areas in which you could improve.
You can also use performance reviews to track your progress. Depending on your employer, you may have bi-annual or quarterly review cycles. These cycles often ask targeted questions and can help you perform a self-evaluation of your performance.
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