Employee learning and development

Tried-and-true methods for training employees

What are the needs of your company? How many professionals are you looking to train? What is your budget? Training employees is a hot topic as reskilling and upskilling become more important. Here are 9 proven strategies for training employees for the future.

Saheed Hassan

Published on 

December 1, 2022

Updated on 

Time to Read

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The learning & development landscape is undergoing a major shift. In this era of transformation, leaders have an urgent task to future-proof their organizations by building skills that match what employees need for the challenges ahead.

Employers are answering employees' renewed calls for growth and purposeful careers in a rapidly changing world. In fact, 72% of L&D leaders say learning and development have a strategic position in their organization. It's no wonder, in the words of Andrew Saidy, Vice President of Global Talent at Ubisoft, 

"It’s unsurprising that we see more and more progressive companies naming chief learning officers — as was the case with chief diversity officers when diversity became recognized as a business advantage.”

But the traditional methods aren’t yielding the desired results, and hence organizations and L&D leaders are seeking new ways to train employees while keeping up with the demands of tomorrow's business landscape - all without sacrificing quality or creativity along the way.

In this article, we'll discuss 9 tried-and-true methods for training employees, whose responsibility it is, and why it's necessary to train them. We'll also touch on the difference between internal and external training, how to build an employee's training and its need for mentorship.

Is it necessary to train employees?

Absolutely. Training enables employees to understand their roles better, gain the skills needed to do their job effectively, stay up-to-date on new regulations or updates with technology, and ensure they can contribute in meaningful ways that add value to the organization. 

Employees who are not trained operate on obsolete skills and knowledge, thus decreasing productivity. No matter the level professionals have attained, it is necessary always to fill the knowledge gaps between industry trends and new methods. Some benefits of training employees are:


Training programs boost employees' morale, making them better at their jobs. A survey published in The International Journal of Business and Management Research shows 90% of employees surveyed agreed that training programs improved their job performance

Lower recruitment costs 

An SHRM report shows it costs over $4000 to hire a new employee on average. This amount doesn't factor in the cost of training a new employee. 

Training employees costs around $1071, according to Training Magazine’s 2021 Training Industry Report. When you compare both costs, an employer spends less to train an employee than on a new hire. 

Reduces layoffs

When employees are well trained, it makes it easier for an employer to adjust quickly to changing market trends without having to lay off staff. When employees are trained, there is a closing of the skills gap. 

Reskilling and upskilling employees for new roles will reduce layoffs in an organization and improve loyalty, as employees will most likely stay where there is a chance for career development.

Attract talent

Top talents always look for organizations that prioritize employee development. If your firm is known for this, it will draw in top talents. 

Development opportunities are a way your firm can differentiate itself from competitors in the industry while attracting top talents.

Whose responsibility is it to train employees?

Most people will attend training to stay sharp. Driven employees may seek out training, not waiting for their organizations to provide the opportunities. 

Regardless, people development is the responsibility of an organization. People are formidable assets. A firm with a laid-out people development strategy will attain unimaginable performance levels.

Organizations can maintain an edge over their competitors by taking a proactive approach to upskilling their staff. 

Ultimately, this is beneficial for both the organization and its employees. Having productive, competent workers benefits the former, while gaining knowledge and experience will benefit the latter.

Job seekers want to stay at companies that offer developmental opportunities. Organizations that prioritize improving their people will enjoy employers' loyalty, improved performance, and better communication.

Is it better to have Internal or external training for employees?

When deciding which training method will be best, it comes down to several factors. What are the needs of your company? How many professionals are you looking to train? What is your budget? Plus, a whole lot of other questions will help set you on the right course.

Internal training 

This is a method in which someone who works for your company trains the team. These sessions are usually easy to set up as you can easily access both trainer(s) and the trainees.


  1. Internal training is cost-effective.
  2. There is already a rapport between the trainer and trainees, so teaching is easy.
  3. Gives employees the opportunity to become more familiar with the company's culture, mission, and values.
  4. Provides consistency in education between all departments within an organization.
  5. It provides specialized instruction tailored to meet individual employee needs or the unique requirements of specific departments.
  6. Organizations control the content and delivery of internal training, which can be tailored to address specific goals.
  7. In a case where the manager acts as the trainer, he can learn something new about his team members. 


  1. If the trainer has been at the company for a long time, it will be hard to bring in a new perspective. They can easily fall into the notion of "this is how it has always been done."
  2. There is also the possibility of over-familiarity, making it hard for subordinates to learn.
  3. Internal trainers may be unequipped with the latest information and techniques, leading to inadequate or outdated training.
  4. Employees may become bored or unmotivated by monotonous teaching methods used in internal training sessions.
  5. Organizations may not have the resources or expertise to provide in-house training.

External training

This training method uses experts and influencers from outside the organization. It could be an industry expert or someone with whom the organization already has an established relationship.


  1. External trainers offer different perspectives since they aren't part of the organization, so you can trust them to be unbiased.
  2. This method allows employees to learn from experts with more insights and experience. 
  3. Employees can access a wider range of information and experiences.
  4. Often, external trainers are experienced professionals who specialize in a particular field.


  1. External trainers can be expensive.
  2. The training will take longer to organize as getting the best trainers might take a long time.
  3. External trainers may not be familiar with the organization's values, mission, or culture, making it difficult for them to provide tailored instruction.
  4. There may be inconsistencies in education between departments depending on who the external trainer is.
  5. External trainers may also not be available to provide additional support if employees have trouble understanding the material.

9 Tested methods to train employees

No two training and development programs are the same. The methods are diverse. 

You need to consider your business needs, the size of your company and employee's learning style to choose an effective training method. 

Here are 9 methods used to train employees that you can choose from:

On-the-job training

This is a method that uses active participation. Participants learn as they work, so they are better equipped at the end of the training. It is very skill-specific, as employees will only focus on what is relevant to them and their job roles.

Role playing

This is a learning method that uses acting. Employees are taught using a situation that mimics a real-life scenario. 

Employees are asked to work on an aspect of their job in a controlled scenario under a facilitator or trainer so they can get feedback that helps them improve. This helps learners use the problem-solving skills they possess.

Peer-to-peer learning

This method engages professionals of the same level by pairing them to teach and learn from each other. It uses collaboration, teamwork, and knowledge sharing to improve employees' skills. This teaching method is inexpensive, and it promotes bonding.

Coaching and mentoring

Coaching and mentoring involve a more experienced person, such as a supervisor or manager, working with a less experienced professional. 

For instance, mentoring creates a bond between employees that even when the training is completed, the mentee can always go to the mentor for help. This method of training employees can be done in person or virtually.


Though expensive, this type of training uses a realistic representation of an activity or process. It provides learners with the opportunity to experience real-world scenarios within a safe and controlled environment. 

Employees are fully engaged, and they can learn the consequences of the decisions they make while working.

Online training

Also known as eLearning, this method became popular in the post-pandemic world and has efficiently trained remote workers

This method uses digital technology to train employees. Multimedia, such as videos, podcasts, and e-learning materials, are often used. 

Online training promotes convenience and flexibility while allowing employees to access learning material anytime, anywhere. 

Companies use online training as it is easy, can be automated, and doesn't require any physical gathering. It also allows employees to learn at their own pace.

Group discussions

This is best suited for small groups. This training method is facilitated by a trainer who leads participants to converse, interact, and share ideas. 

An advantage of this method is that it allows every group member to get familiar with the topics and answers. It also helps participants see different perspectives on an idea. This is similar to a common practice, mentoring circles.

Case studies

Employees are given a complex, fictional situation to analyze and come up with solutions. A lot of data collecting is involved in this process, and it helps develop employees' decision-making skills. 

This method allows employees to think outside the box to solve problems.


This modern learning method engages employees by presenting knowledge as games. It allows users to compete against each other and learn from their mistakes. 

This way, employees learn concepts easily and quickly as they have fun doing them.

No matter which training method you choose for your business, ensure that it aligns with the company's goal and mission.

Build an employee training plan

An employee training plan is a document that contains the strategies, processes, and curricula an organization uses to teach its workforce. 

A training plan is essential as it helps improve individual awareness, introduces new skills, and serves as an opportunity for professionals to build up other abilities they might possess. How you build your training plan depends on what you want to achieve.

Your employee training needs mentorship

Mentorship is easily the training method that will stay in vogue. Other than the human connection it creates, mentorship presents an opportunity for a junior-level employee to learn from a superior almost without restrictions. 

The mentee enjoys guidance that helps them learn rapidly. Incorporating mentorship programs will produce quick results for your company.

Wrapping up

Learning never stops. Not for new hires or C-suite executives. With continuous advancements, employees will need to upskill or re-skill where necessary. 

Companies that hope to gain a competitive advantage and stay ahead in the industry will constantly work to close the skill gap by training employees—wondering how to get started? 

Our article on the evolution of learning and development shows you what works.

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