Part of being a manager is the responsibility we have to train, to ensure that our employees develop into well-rounded and skilled individuals. A common pitfall many managers fall into is the “one size fits all” approach to training. As tempting as this concept can be, it is important to keep in mind that every employee is different. Each employee has unique needs and career goals and should have training that is tailored to their individual, professional development.
There are a number of factors to consider when developing customized, ongoing training for your employees:
- Training Age – We don’t mean the physical age of the individual, but rather how long have they been training consecutively? A new hire will have different needs than an employee who has been with the organization for 5 years. The level, amount, and type of training should therefore be modified for the employee depending on their experience and tenure with your organization and within the industry.
- Actual Age – The age of your employees is a factor to consider when it comes to training. Baby Boomers respond to different learning techniques than Millennials will. Talk with your employees to determine these differences and try to accommodate these needs in your learning environment.
- Goals of the Individual – Goals will most certainly alter the way a training plan is designed and implemented. Work consistently with your employees to ensure that they are working towards these goals and that their training aligns with these plans.
- Specialization and Engagement – A huge reason that the “one size fits all” training method is ineffective is because generalized learning is often only pertinent and applicable to a few individuals. Focus on smaller groups or one-on-one training that puts an emphasis on how the subject matter relates to their jobs. Making this type of learning specialization a priority will help encourage employee engagement. Individuals will be more likely to pay attention and retain the information as they are able to directly apply it to their job.
There are always organizational policies to follow, such as structured performance reviews and professional development plans, but you can still create a continuous learning culture in your individual area. Work with your employees on an ongoing basis to ensure that their needs are consistently being met and they are always provided with opportunities to perform at their very best.