Employee Training Methods and Their Effectiveness

Training of employees is an essential aspect of enhancing an organization’s productivity. The training seeks to equip the employees with the necessary skills that they require in the execution of their duties. There are several methods of training that are divided into two broad categories: Cognitive and behavioral. The methods that apply the cognitive approach seek to provide the trainees with the rules as well as the procedures for carrying out their duties. They focus on changing the attitude of the employees while at the same time increasing their knowledge on certain areas of concern (Minter & Thomas, 2000, p. 46). On the other hand, behavioral methods give practical training to the employees in question. This paper gives the major training methods, the several aspects characteristic to each method and their effectiveness.

Lecture-discussion approaches are among the oldest training methods. They comprise of either written or oral information that seeks to provide the theoretical aspect of a given field to enhance one’s knowledge of the field. A good lecture comprises three major aspects: introduction of the topic, purpose, priorities and preferences of the lecture (Puhakainen & Siponen, 2010, p. 770). However, most lectures are not as effective as the trainees have long hours of inactivity.

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Case methods employ written information, which entails some of the complex situations that they may encounter in their place of work. Questions are also provided to enable the trainees to come up with solutions for such problems. The major goal of case studies is to enable the trainees to apply their learned ideologies as well as concepts. They are effective in enabling the employees to develop decision-making skills. Additionally, they help employees change their attitudes in the workplace.

Just as the name suggests, role-playing entails the assigning of various roles to the trainees. Some information about a given situation is presented to the trainees. The information usually gives certain concerns, responsibilities, emotions as well as the objectives of a certain activity. The trainees divide the responsibilities amongst themselves and act out the situation. This helps the participants to develop interpersonal communication skills as well as enhance the conflict resolution skills of the trainees (Sarwar et al., 2011, p. 16). It is also effective in enhancing the development of decision-making skills among the trainees. It works out perfectly.

Closely related to role-playing are management/ business games. Instead of acting out as in the case with role-playing, the trainees make certain decisions based on the information given to them. Such decisions are bound by a given set of rules, principles, plans, relationships and procedures. The system then provides feedback about the possible impact of the decisions made by the trainees. This method works well since trainees get a concrete response based on the company’s requirements that enables them to tailor their thoughts to fit within the specific requirements of the company.

On the job training if a form of training that occurs within the real working environment. According to Noe, the trainer tailors the information to suit the employee’s field of operation (2002, p. 92). It involves both theoretical and practical learning sessions. It is therefore one of the best training methods since it enables the employee to interact with other employees who might not be necessarily trainees thus able to learn from them. On the job training is similar to transfer and rotations since the training occurs at the actual working place or field of a given trainee.

The outdoor-oriented program involves the training of employees about the activities involved in their field of work. Unlike on the job training, the outdoor-oriented do not take place at the actual work environment of the employee in question. In most cases, it does not produce the expected results.

In-basket training technique, the trainer provides the trainees with a log of written information. This can be in the form of memos, reports, or messages that would be handled by experienced personnel within a given field (Noe, 2002, p. 102). The trainees are then given the role to play and asked to respond to information provided to them within a stipulated time. After the allocated time is over, the trainees interact with the trainer as they try to give the justification of their decision(s). Following the explanation of the trainees, the trainer gives his/her feedback that seeks to offer guidance on the issues at hand e.g. encouraging the employees to diversify their line of thought before arriving at major decisions. In most cases, the method works well in empowering the trainees to make concrete decisions.

Coaching comprises several steps that are aimed at improving employee’s performance in the job. The coach has to put the trainer at ease, find out what he/she knows before introducing them to new methods or information (Minter & Thomas, 2000, p 44). The trainer repeats the information, carries out an assessment and the process continues until the trainee is able to apply the new information or techniques. It is an effective method of training.

Counseling on the other hand is a process that seeks to improve an employee’s attitude or behavior at work. This goes hand in hand with behavior modification that also enables employees to develop specific behaviors and attitude (Salters, 1997, p. 27). On the other hand, behavior modeling is a training method that uses a mentor. Through observation and interaction with an exemplary figure, mostly a superior, an employee is able to get a clear understanding about the running of an organization. However, it rarely works.

Virtual reality approaches and distance learning utilize computer-based programs to equip employees with the knowledge required of them. Virtual reality puts the employee in a 3-D environment featuring the real situation at work. It gives the trainee an impression of the real working situation enabling him/her to know the pros and cons of their job. Distance learning provides trainees with information on how to carry out their duties via the internet. This method only works for organizations that have heavily invested in ICT gadgets.

Team building involves bringing together different trainees to carry out a given task. It helps in building interpersonal communication skills. Role-playing and management games can be classified as forms of team building.


Minter, R.L., & Thomas, E.G. (2000). Employee Development through Coaching, Mentoring and Counseling: A Multidimensional Approach. Review of Business, 21(2), 43-47.

Noe, R.A. (2002). Employee Training and Development. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Puhakainen, P. & Siponen, M. (2010). Improving Employees’ Compliance through Information Systems Security Training. An Action Research Study, 34(4), 767-793.

Salters, L. (1997). Coaching and Counseling for Peak Performance. Business and Economic Review, 44(1), 26-28.

Sarwar, S., Salman, A. M., Akhtar S. (2011). Impact of Training Patterns upon Social Relations of Employees. Journal of Management Research, 3(2), 1-20.


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