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What is corporate training and why is it important?

January 17, 2023 - 22 min read
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    According to LinkedIn, 94% of employees want to work for a company that invests in their professional development. So while corporate training might not by synonymous with fun, the problem isn’t that employees don’t want training. They’re just not getting the right job training. 

    So how can you offer your employees a training program that they find valuable? 

    Let’s explore different corporate training methods and how to design a program that aligns with your employees’ needs.

    What is corporate training? 

    Corporate training, or workplace learning, is a set of educational activities provided to employees, typically free of cost. It can cover a range of topics and improvement areas from soft skills to role-specific competencies. Corporate training benefits employees and businesses as it builds intellectual capital and upskills or reskills employees.

    The goal of a corporate training program is to enhance your employees’ personal and professional development. It can take place in a one-on-one or group setting, and it’s often led by a knowledgeable instructor.

    Some common examples of training courses include: 

    People often mistake corporate training with corporate learning. But there are some key differences. 

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    A company that values and invests in learning opportunities has a corporate learning culture. Corporate learning is also usually employee-driven. Corporate training is formal training provided by the company.

    The goal of corporate training is to provide employees with skills and knowledge. So, it’s a part of corporate learning.

    To deliver a successful training program, employers need to align the goals of training with the business objectives. At the same time, the program must be engaging and meet your employees’ needs. 

    One of the most engaging methods of corporate training is online learning. It is also called e-learning. 

    Preferred by most young professionals, corporate e-learning is expected to grow by more than 250% by 2026. And it’s not just employees who find value in online learning. Almost 3/4 of US businesses say that e-learning gives them a competitive advantage.

    Incorporating e-learning into your training is a must. It will help you remain competitive and meet the needs of your employees. 

    over the shoulder of a man in a virtual corporate training program

    Why is corporate training important?

    Investing in the career growth and skill development of employees is essential. Managers and individual contributors alike can benefit from corporate training. It helps keep teams aligned on company goals and positioning their personal growth to feed into that of the organization. 

    Employees are also given the space and resources to flourish. With an effective training program, each individual creates a path with attainable goals that they can work toward within the company. In addition to the upskilling they gain, this clarity and vision can also help increase motivation, creativity, collaboration, and retention.

    4 reasons many corporate team trainings fail

    Corporate training programs are designed for the benefit of employees. But many struggle to see value in them. 

    And rightfully so. Stuffy, outdated, and out-of-touch programs have given corporate training a bad reputation. 

    Why do many training programs fail? Let’s take a look at four possible reasons.

    1. Misalignment with employee needs 

    One of the biggest concerns employees have is that they’re taught skills that they consider irrelevant. 

    Training that isn’t aligned with your employees’ actual needs will leave them feeling disengaged. They’ll also not see any value in these programs.

    Solution: focus on training that teaches skills relevant to today’s employees. 

    2. Information overload 

    Trying to stuff too much information in each training session will leave your employees burned out and overwhelmed.

    Solution: use microlearning to make your training more effective and easily digestible. 

    Microlearning is an online training that delivers information in short pieces of content. It can be delivered in the form of videos, infographics, job aids, or even a quick game.

    3. Outdated training methods 

    If you’re still using dull instruction manuals and old corporate training videos in 2023, it’s time to throw them out the window. No wonder employees dread corporate training when it involves outdated methods that put them straight to sleep. 

    Solution: revamp your corporate training from boring to engaging and fun through methods like gamification. 

    This popular method gives game-like elements to traditional learning material. This includes badges, points, or levels that employees will work through. 

     A 2019 survey by TalentLMS found that 83% of employees who receive game-like training feel motivated. The same survey reveals that gamification increased employee engagement and productivity

    4. Poor timing 

    Employees don’t like corporate training because it’s often poorly timed. They’ll feel obligated to participate in training programs that they end up resenting. 

    Solution: Deloitte suggests using technology (like e-learning) to deliver personalized training that aligns with each employee’s schedule. 

    Online training can be delivered at convenient times that don’t disrupt the workflow of your teams. 

    woman with grey hair and black glasses smiling in a meeting

    What makes a successful corporate training program?

    Given all of the potential pitfalls of an employee training program, developing a successful program might seem daunting. And to add to the discomfort, there is not one right way to do it. Many factors will define the specific structure and content of each company’s training program.

    Here are the top eight considerations to keep in mind when developing a training program:

    • Content relevance: This starts before a single lesson is outlined. First, it is important to understand where your teams need and want to develop. Identifying the teams and individuals that can use certain training programs and tailoring them for each group will get you started on the right foot.
    • Goal alignment: It can be hard to stay engaged in the “what” without the “why.” To keep individuals motivated, clearly draw lines between team and organizational goals. And note how the training helps drive everyone toward these goals. 
    • Learning styles: There are a handful of learning styles that employees can fall into. When designing a corporate training program, be sure to appeal to each of these styles. Provide visual, kinaesthetic, written, and auditory content throughout the training to keep each member engaged and following along.
    • Engaging delivery: Once you’ve taken learning styles into account, also consider the level of engagement of the training. Keeping the content engaging and relatable is crucial for the information to be absorbed. Look for moments to ask for participation or create breakout sessions for groups to discuss key points. 
    • Leadership by-in and advocacy: One quality of a good leader is leading by example. Employees are more likely to complete and engage in the training if leadership shows clear interest and advocacy, too.
    • Time commitments: Bring mindful of individuals’ bandwidth and schedules will be highly beneficial in terms of attendance and engagement. More employees will be able to make the training and focus solely on the program while they are in it.
    • Benchmarking: As with most initiatives, it is important to measure the success of your corporate training program. Try using interviews or surveys to gain insight before and after the training. Also track the quantifiable metrics around each training session, including the length and cost of the training.
    • Maintenance: Corporate training is not a one-time thing. It takes time and care to develop employees. So be sure to check in with attendees and build upon the skills they’re developing between trainings.

    What are the main goals of corporate training programs? 

    There are many reasons why corporate training exists in the workplace. Let’s explore some of the most important goals of corporate training. 

    1. Equip employees with the right skills

    Programs like onboarding and mandatory training give employees the skills they need to take on a new role. This training is usually offered to new employees or existing employees that get promoted to a more challenging position. 

    Teaching foundational skills empowers employees to perform to the best of their abilities. 

    Unfortunately, 70% of employees surveyed by Gartner said they don’t have the mastery of the skills needed for their current jobs. Do yours? 

    2. Reduce skills gaps and provide ongoing learning 

    The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for upskilling and reskilling your employees. 

    According to McKinsey, 87% of companies worldwide realize they have an existing skills gap or will have one within the next few years. 

    To address the skills gap, companies need to invest in ongoing training and development programs.

    This includes teaching important soft skills like time management, creative thinking, and resilience. It also means learning new digital skills and keeping up to date with emerging technologies. 

    3. Invest in and retain talent

    If you’re not actively investing in your employees, you risk losing them. 

    According to Deloitte, 42% of employees looking for a new job say their employer isn’t maximizing their skills and abilities

    Some training programs prepare your employees for leadership positions within the organization. Opportunities for growth and development increase employee retention and supercharge your employee experience

    4. Create a cohesive company culture 

    Initiatives that put employees’ needs as individuals at the forefront create a culture of belonging. These include diversity and inclusion seminars or mental health and well-being training.

    Creating a culture of belonging leads to better performance. It also leads to employees who feel empowered and valued.

    team sitting around a table during a training

    Corporate training and career development 

    Career development is the ongoing process of learning new skills and knowledge that empower you to reach your full potential

    These capabilities can help you navigate critical moments in your career.

    Effective training programs are a catalyst for an employee’s career development. 

    Growth-oriented training gives your teams the right skills and mindsets needed to succeed. They also prepare individuals to take on greater responsibilities and advance their careers. 

    Gallup says companies that invest in employee development report greater profitability and retention.

    One such example is Amazon, which invested $700 million in employee training programs

    Before hiring, they offer a subsidized, month-long training and leadership program. According to Teal Pennebaker, this training helps employees “pioneer a career at Amazon.”

    Besides their initial training, they have countless upskilling programs. This includes free career training in robotics and the Amazon Technical Academy. 

    Leading organizations like Amazon understand the importance of investing in employees’ career development.

    The 3 types of corporate training 

    Corporate training can be delivered in a variety of ways. Here are three of the most popular methods of training today:

    1. Online learning (eLearning)

    The online modality is becoming the go-to training platform for most businesses. 

    In 2020, 90% of companies used e-learning in their training, and for good reasons. From a business perspective, e-learning reduces training costs, giving companies a competitive advantage. 

    It’s also globally accessible 24/7. It works around your team’s busy schedules instead of disrupting their workflow. 

    E-learning allows employees to learn at their own pace.

    According to studies conducted by the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), this increases retention rate by 25-50% and performance improves by 15-25%. 

    Is e-learning the future of corporate training?

    More leaders are allowing remote working after the pandemic. So, e-learning will continue to become an important training tool for organizations. 

    It’s also the preferred training method of younger employees. Almost half of millennial and Gen Z employees prefer self-directed and independent learning.

    Even though online learning is becoming more popular, there are other training methods to consider. 

    2. Traditional instructor-led learning 

    Remember gathering in a conference room or a banquet hall with your closest co-workers to undergo training? 

    The COVID-19 pandemic has all but pushed traditional classroom training to the curb. 

    But the tried-and-tested traditional training method isn’t going away any time soon. In a post-pandemic survey, 54% of businesses said they will return to traditional classroom-style training

    Here’s why some businesses and employees still find this method effective: 

    • It’s easy to create and deliver. 
    • It’s familiar to all employees, regardless of age.
    • It has a human aspect — learning is collaborative and engaging.

    3. Blended learning 

    Blended learning is the hybrid of the above two methods. 

    Supplementing in-person training with online training combines the best of both worlds. The face-to-face part engages employees to participate and collaborate with other team members. At the same time, the online element is convenient and accessible anytime.


    How to choose the correct type of corporate training for your organization 

    Corporate training is an investment in your team and your company’s future.

    By choosing the right type of corporate training for your organization, of course. Here are some tips to keep in mind. 

    Perform a skills gap analysis 

    To choose the correct type of training, you need to start by performing a training needs analysis. Here’s how: 

    1. Define what skill sets are most valuable to your organization. 
    2. Consider what skills your company may need in the next 5–10 years. 
    3. Evaluate the hard and soft skills of your team. 

    These steps guarantee that you’re offering relevant training that your employees will value. 

    Set clear objectives 

    To make sure your training program is effective, you also need to set clear objectives. What do you want your employees to learn? Leadership skills? Company policies and procedures?

    At the same time, don’t forget to align your objectives with your business goals, mission, and company goals

    Accommodate employees 

    You can’t choose the best corporate training program without considering your employees. Have you thought about their preferred methods of learning? What about their schedules? 

    Like we saw earlier, younger employees prefer independent learning. 

    If your team is mostly remote, online learning may be the only way to go. You may even discover that you need more than one type of training, as employees have different learning styles. 

    Consider your constraints 

    Think about your budget and resources when you’re choosing the type of training you want to offer. 

    When you have a smaller budget, hiring an external facilitator whose job is corporate training may not be realistic. In that scenario, an in-house instructor, like a senior employee or manager, may be a better choice. 

    Get feedback and measure your results 

    Follow up with your team and ask for feedback. Measuring your results helps keep you on the right track. Otherwise, the money you spend on corporate training is no longer an investment but an expense. 

    It’s time to rethink corporate training 

    Corporate training has been given a bad reputation. But that doesn’t mean your business can’t challenge that belief.

    It’s in your power to provide corporate training programs that bring real value to your team. Effective training gives your employees the career development they want. It also gives your company the competitive edge it needs.

    Not sure how? Reach out to a BetterUp coach to help you get started.

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    Published January 17, 2023

    Maggie Wooll

    Managing Editor

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