Staff training is something that will happen at every company, whether it’s a simple process of showing a new employee the ropes for their specific job role, or a structured training programme to aid employee progression.
No matter what form your staff training takes, it will usually give you a chance to communicate thoughts and ideas directly with your people, which provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen your employer brand.
The main objective for staff training will always be to educate, but you may find that these six suggestions can support your employer brand strategy at the same time.
6 ways staff training can improve your employer brand
Induction phase for staff training
The induction is one of the best times to demonstrate your employer brand promise and showcase who you are to new employees. While new recruits will of course have interacted with your brand during the application process, the induction and initial on-boarding programme will be the true point that employees will form their first impressions of you as an employer.
Inductions run the risk of being mostly mundane mandatory form filling exercises, and whilst it’s important to ensure you go through things like health and safety with a new employee, do you really want a new employee’s first day takeaways to be mostly filling out forms and listening to corporate jargon in a lonely meeting room? If you can find a way to streamline the process part of the induction (either by sending the boring forms to be completed before they start or through better digital tools) then it will leave you more time to introduce new employees to the team, show them your culture and start their employment with you on a high!
Make people feel supported
Training sessions give you an excellent opportunity to show your employees that you are there to support them, because you are quite literally giving up your time to help educate them on different processes / systems / subjects! However you structure your staff training, use this as an opportunity to communicate your openness for offering help and advice to employees when needed.
Quite often companies without an open and collaborative environment will fall victim of employees feeling nervous to ask for help, which does nothing for employee well-being or your overall brand! We all want to feel happy in work, so showing all employees they have the support needed through formal staff training or ad-hoc advice will impact positively on your employer brand.
Show a commitment to career development
Just as employees like to feel supported in their role, it’s important to understand how you as a company can support an employee’s long-term career goals too. One of the biggest factors for employees in choosing to stay with a company (or deciding to make a career jump) is the level of career progression on offer, both in terms of available positions to progress into as well as development the company offers to that individual. By demonstrating that your organisation can offer a clear path to progression for your employees, it will help to both attract and retain talent.
If you support development and progression but don’t necessarily have a formal way of displaying this you should consider how you can make this clear for both employees and candidates. John Lewis is a great example of this with their Partnership scheme, describing it as “a climbing frame of experiences and opportunities where (John Lewis employees) can all learn new skills and capabilities”. Check out their training and development schemes for some inspiration.
Uphold your key values
Company values shouldn’t just be generic buzzwords painted in your office waiting area, they should be fundamental beliefs that you live and breathe every single day as an organisation.
You will often find that senior leaders and company directors “live to the company values”, whereas this isn’t always the case for newer employees who aren’t as deeply embedded in the history of the company. To rectify this and ensure that everyone understands and embodies the company values you can introduce them as part of your training sessions. Introduce them to your new employees during induction, and use future training sessions as a chance to remind your people of what these are too.
We heard an interesting talk around vision and values from Caspar Craven at the 2019 Members Only Retreat, who championed the use of simple and realistic values for organisational (and family!) success. Check out his blog if you would like to explore more information around vision and values!
Make it fun
Fun and enjoyable experiences in the workplace will always have a positive impact on your employer brand, so if you can somehow find a way to make your staff training more fun you will be headed in the right direction!
You might choose to turn a standard test at the end of a training schedule into a fun game-show style quiz with incentives or prizes on offer for the winner! You can even look at ways to move your staff training away from the ordinary, such as attending an overseas conference where employees can enjoy a combination of social activities as well as learning.
Whatever you choose to do, try and introduce a little fun and you will likely see more success with both the way your employees embrace training and for your overall employer brand.
Listen to your people
Any time you conduct staff training you should be obtaining feedback from your employees to ensure what you are doing is working. Create a short questionnaire to gather data on how enjoyable the training was, how effective it was, and most importantly what could be done differently to make this better. The information you can gleam from listening to your people is invaluable, so always end every training programme with a feedback stage!