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Employee Training: Best Practices From the Science of Learning at Work

The need to train employees is obvious - even if you are fortunate enough to be able to hire people who already have a lot of the skills you need, ongoing training is needed to keep people in mental "shape" to do their jobs. Applying the science of learning can help you retain talent, improve productivity, and support a work environment that allows everyone to thrive.

Here are seven best practices to consider:

1. As much as possible, train in the environment the skill will be used in.

Classroom training can be useful to instill basic knowledge, but learning a skill requires situations similar to the ones encountered in the real world. Role-playing scenarios are often helpful to simulate the environment; even better is actually providing the employee training in the environment it will be used.

2. You cannot do a training once and expect the employee to retain it indefinitely.

Repetition is vital to keep skills and knowledge sharp. The training does not need not be formal training classes, but can be simple check-ins to make sure that employees understand the material and are using it correctly.

3. There needs to be feedback. Training is less than helpful without proper communication with the manager or trainer.

The ability to ask follow-up questions or for support after the session can help cement knowledge and also give employees the feeling that they are being treated as adults, not students.

4. Provide different forms of information (interactive guides, FAQs, etc.).

Some people learn well from videos. Some people learn nothing from videos. Understanding the learning styles of your employees can allow you to provide personalized employee training and assistance - and will help them feel valued.

6. Always have a plan and goals - and make the plan and goals transparent to the employees.

Expecting people to learn by osmosis, especially new hires, is far too common, but is bad for morale and productivity. New employees in particular appreciate knowing that there is a solid plan for both their initial training and for ongoing learning in the workplace.

7. Make sure all employees have access to the training resources.

Avoid assuming that an entire office can rely on one manual - this guarantees more than one person will need it at once, causing tension and potentially contributing to a hostile work environment.

All of your employee training practices should be based off of knowledge, proven best practices, and good psychology. Merlin Guides can help you to do this more effectively, so that you acquire and retain the best talent and keep your entire organization working smoothly. Learn how Merlin applies the science of learning to train teams and employees to be more effective.