Employee Training: One Size Doesn’t Always Fit All

Posted: Updated:

The labor force is incredibly diverse, full of unique individuals with their own outlooks, beliefs, managerial preferences, and career aspirations.

It should come as no surprise, then, that different employees prefer different training programs.

In fact, according to go2HR, 40% of employees who receive what they perceive as poor training leave their positions within the first year. But what one person sees as poor training might be excellent for another.

In recent polls put out by Job Journey, the Express Employment Professionals blog for jobseekers, and Refresh Leadership, the Express blog for business leaders, readers were asked what type of on-the-job training they preferred/provided.

  • Just under 20 percent of employees preferred a “Formal employee training program,” whereas only 11 percent of employers provided such a program.
  • 16 percent of jobseekers opted to choose “Mentorship,” which only 12 percent of employers offered.
  • “Supervisors/managers train employees” was the most prevalent choice among employers, at 23 percent, which was prioritized by just 16 percent of jobseekers.
  • 17 percent of employers encourage “Self-guided training (employees learn on their own).” Only 8 percent of jobseekers want this type of training.

In summary, there’s a clear mismatch between the types of training employers provide and the types of training employees need to thrive. In a perfect world, every employee would be able to choose how they were trained. If this isn’t possible for your company, consider allowing each individual department to train employees in a unique way.

For instance, the accounting department might prefer to be trained by their managers, while marketing professionals want mentorships. A formal employee training program could work for warehouse workers, while computer programmers may want to learn on their own. Reach out to your workers and find what type of training truly makes them thrive, then provide that.

Disengaged employees are less productive. If you’re using the wrong type of training with an employee, they might view their training as a waste of time. Someone who prefers setting their own goals with self-guided training might already have taught themselves everything their manager is trying to teach them, resulting in lost productivity for both the employee and their manager.

But that doesn’t mean employees hate training. A study put out by the MiddleSex University for Work Based Learning (and reported on by Your Training Edge) states that 74% of participants list a lack of training as the main reason for not achieving their potential at work.

Figuring out what type of training your employees prefer can be as easy as sending out a survey and aggregating their responses. Hold manager meetings to discuss the results, and give department heads free reign to design their own training programs and standards. Eventually, you’ll discover what works and what doesn’t, and your company will be all the better for it.

Alyssa Chumbley is owner of Express Employment Professionals.

  • Perspectives

    • Filing the Gap Between Background Checks

      Because I run a background screening company, you might be surprised when I confess that there’s a huge inherent flaw in background screening. The flaw isn’t in our services or our people, both of which are remarkably thorough. The problem is that a background screening captures a moment in time. Whether you screen someone as part of the pre-employment process or check on their background a decade after you’ve hired them, even the most effective background screening...


Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Shelly Timmons

      IU Health Names New Leader of Neurosurgery

      The Indiana University School of Medicine and IU Health Physicians have named Shelly Timmons to lead the department of neurosurgery. She previously served at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center as vice chair for administration in the department of neurosurgery and director of neurotrauma.  

    • (Photo Courtesy: Roche Diagnostics)

      Roche VP on List of Influential Women Executives

      An executive with Roche Diagnostics has joined an exclusive list of prominent and influential women, including Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams.  Cindy Carlisle, Vice President of Human Resources at Roche Indy, was named to Savoy Magazine’s 2019 Most Influential Women in Corporate America. 

    • New Mixed-Use Development Planned for Fishers

      A new mixed-use development is coming to Fishers. Thompson Thrift Retail Group has announced the development of The Station, an office building that is part of an overall project that includes a 150-room hotel, a future retail pad along 116th Street and nearly 40 3-story townhomes.

    • Muncie Official, Business Owner Indicted for Fraud

      The district administrator for the Muncie Sanitary District and a Muncie business owner have been indicted on multiple charges, including wire fraud. U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler's office says Debra Nicole Grigsby and Tony Franklin were allegedly involved in a kickback scheme involving contracts for infrastructure projects.

    • Baby Boomers Are Impacting the Building Industry

      There are currently 78 million baby boomers in the U.S., making up 25% of the population and controlling 67% ($28 trillion) of the country’s wealth, according to the Living In Place Institute. AARP says 90% of people surveyed want to remain as long as possible in their homes. The majority of those 65 and older remodel their home to make it safer and accessible. In fact, 45% of all remodeling work is being done for people over the age of 65. With this amount of data supporting...