For any business owner, ensuring all your team members are well-trained on all tasks relating to their jobs is of the utmost importance. But coming up with a one-size-fits-all training program isn’t that easy, since different people take in information in different ways.
That’s why using visual aids and other visual communication in your employee training can be so useful. After all, humans are wired to remember visual information better than information they read or hear.
In this article, I’ll discuss more on employee training, why it matters so much and how to incorporate visual aids into your training programs.
Click to jump ahead:
- What is employee training?
- Is employee training the same as learning and development?
- Why is employee training important?
- What are the different types of employee training?
- What is the best training for employees?
- What are the six key points of effective employee training?
- How can visual aids make employee training better?
What is employee training?
Employee training is simply teaching workers how to do all the tasks required by their jobs. This could include small things like what to say when they answer the phone or big things like how to properly enter information into computer programs.
In most companies, employee training is an ongoing task, and depending on how much change there is in your organization, training is never-ending. Here are a few of the most common formats employee training can take:
Many companies choose to create PowerPoint presentations or PDF documents with various slides covering a range of topics, and this is a great template for any type of employee training. Simply update the colors and fonts to match your branding and swap out the content and you’ll have an effective training presentation.
Training is complicated, and it’s important to make sure you keep track of everything, so consider creating an employee training checklist like this one. While this was designed for onboarding, it could work for any other reason you’re conducting training, especially if it’s going to come in several steps.
Posters aren’t just for your favorite movie. In fact, a poster is an excellent training visual aid for your organization, as its size makes it eye-catching and memorable.
A process job aid shows employees how to do a task step-by-step. In this example, just five steps are included, and it’s usually a good idea to keep your process aids brief so they don’t seem too overwhelming.
Guide employees to the right outcome with a decision table, which helps them easily and quickly understand what to do in a given circumstance.
Is employee training the same as learning and development?
Employee training is an aspect of learning and development, so it’s not exactly right to say they’re the same thing. Learning and development takes a broader approach, looking not just at how many tasks the employee knows how to do but what skills they need to develop, whether to improve the business or to achieve their own career goals.
Why is employee training important?
The clearest and most obvious reason to conduct regular employee training is to ensure that all tasks related to your business are done correctly. Poor employee training can harm your business in a variety of ways, including:
- Reputation damage
- Low productivity
- High turnover
- Unsafe workplace
- Higher business expenses
In short, inadequate training is one of the fastest ways to make sure you go out of business, as it will eat at your company from all sides.
What are the different types of employee training?
The types of employee training your company needs will depend entirely on the types of employees you have and how much cross-training needs to be done. It’s probably not necessary, for example, to train your facilities maintenance crew on how to log a new sale.
Here’s a look at some of the most common types of employee training (and some examples of visual aids and training materials that can help drive lessons home):
This mind map onboarding template shows the various aspects of bringing a new person into an organization, from the time you list the job opening to the person being fully activated as a team member.
Use an onboarding checklist like this one to ensure that your new hire has everything they need and that the company has gotten all documents it needs from them.
Technical training refers to instructing team members on how to interact with technology, systems or machinery as part of their jobs. This type of training can veer into other areas; for example, when onboarding, you may need to conduct some technical training on your time clock.
Create simple-but-engaging infographics like this one to educate and train your employees on important systems they’ll be interacting with. Be sure to include screenshots so they know they’re on the right track.
Use a flow diagram like this one to explain the inner workings of systems so that your team members understand how what they do every day affects other people in the organization.
Leadership training involves identifying internal and external candidates who might be right for upper-level roles in your organization and, once identified, assembling the materials they need to learn how to effectively lead.
Use this leadership readiness checklist to assess people on your team and evaluate their potential to take on more responsibility in your organization — and figure out what skills they might need to get better at.
Empower people in your organization to determine for themselves whether they’re ready to step up by having people assess themselves using this test.
Product training refers to ensuring that all workers know how to communicate with potential customers, partners, vendors and others about the goods and services your company offers.
Make sure the entire team is on the same page about what products you offer (and what’s to come) by sharing a product roadmap like this one that lists out which team is responsible for what task in product rollouts.
Set your product apart from competitors by creating a side-by-side comparison flyer like this one. More than one competitor? Just add columns to the right or left as needed to ensure your team understands what sets you apart — and what they’re up against.
Not every individual in your organization will need sales training, but this type of training involves teaching your sales team the methods and skills necessary to get customers to purchase your goods and services.
Use a flyer like this to train your sales team on the various goods and services you offer, especially if you offer multiple items in a product line.
Using a few bullet points about each product, as seen here in this real estate flyer, can help your sales staff understand the biggest benefits they should promote and how to talk about the products with customers.
HR training is broad and refers to training in matters related to things like compliance, diversity and other organizational goals that apply regardless of the person’s job. In many organizations, some HR training is done during onboarding, but this type of training is usually ongoing.
Be sure every member of your team understands the values that are important to your organization. Define terms they may not be aware of with an infographic like this one. You can model the behavior you want to see by setting the tone early in a person’s tenure.
Show your employees that you care about more than the bottom line by having your HR department create a poster like this one surrounding an issue near and dear to your heart.
What is the best training for employees?
In short, the best training for employees is that which ensures they know how to do their jobs, can communicate effectively about their jobs and the organization and understand the company’s goals and mission. We believe visual aids are a critical part of that, as visual communication is usually more effective than other types, but your mileage may vary depending on the job.
What are the six key points of effective employee training?
Here are the most critical elements every employee training program must have, regardless of the organization or its products:
- Timely: That doesn’t necessarily mean throwing all your training material at a new hire the moment they walk through the door. Rather, it means giving people the lessons they need when they need them. Expecting a new salesperson not to start taking sales calls on their own for at least two months? Then be sure that the employee training you’re doing today doesn’t overwhelm them by becoming too much about something they won’t even be able to do today.
- Simple: Some jobs are complex, and so the employee training required will be complex, too, and that’s totally fine. But you should strive to make all employee training materials as simple as possible, which is one reason why using visuals is so effective.
- Relevant: Make sure the materials you’re providing team members to train them on their jobs actually apply to them. Avoid materials that are too general, as that will simply waste their time.
- Goal-focused: This applies not only to the goal of training the new employee but also to the organization’s goals themselves. For example, previous experience may have taught you that new receptionists often struggle to understand phone systems and that this has cost the company in sales. Be sure you align the company’s current goals and the training you provide.
- Accessible: Not every member of your organization will have the same access to the exact same type of training material, so be sure that what you expect them to review is actually something they can receive. Remote workers, for example, may not be able to print out their training material, so be sure to offer virtual versions.
- Engaging: There’s nothing worse than looking at block after block of text and being expected to understand it. If you’re anything like me, looking at the instructions for a new game or a furniture assembly packet just makes my eyes glaze over. Now, it’s one thing not to understand the ins-and-outs of a board game, but it’s another thing entirely not to understand how to do my job. Use visual and design principles to make sure your employee training is engaging.
How can visual aids make employee training better?
I’ve touched on this a couple of times already, but visual aids are an absolute must for just about any type of employee training. Not only do they make materials seem more approachable, but science tells us that information accompanied by visuals is better understood and committed to memory than text alone.
In summary: At least in the beginning, employee success is on you — make sure they have the training they need
Not understanding how to do a job is stressful. In fact, starting a new job is one of the most stressful things a person can do. Alleviate that stress (and make sure team members are set up for success) by creating employee training materials that are informative, instructive and engaging — with the help of Venngage. It’s free to get started.