The GoSmartHR Blog

Developing employees through different training methods.

Developing employees through different training methods enables them to meet their needs and the needs of the organisation. Once you’ve recruited your employees the hard part is retaining them, especially if they are knowledge workers. Developing your employees includes empowering them with new skills through organised activities which gives them the opportunity to meet their current and future work demands.

You may have a standard training procedure that you use for all employees. This is known as the shotgun approach and the attitude with this approach is that if a training programme is good for one person it must be good for all employees in the organisation. This approach may waste precious company resources.

As an HR manager, your job is to gain as much value as you possibly can out of training and development programs.

How to get value out of training programmes

  1. Identify a skills deficiency in the company to assess training needs that can be fulfilled through different training programmes
  2. Identify eligible employees for these programmes. These include employees that have the potential to be developed and the willingness to learn. This is important because your company is investing money into these employees to uplift the company. Choosing the correct employee ensures that there is a return on investment.
  3. Find ways to incorporate newly learnt skills into the employee’s work duties by ensuring their direct supervisor utilises the employee to their full potential.
  4. Follow up with the employee and their immediate supervisor to find out whether the training effort was a success.

Once you have identified which employees are the best candidates for training programmes you need to decide which training method would be most beneficial.

Different development methods

  1. Job rotation:
  2. Moving employees between jobs on the same difficulty level to learn new skills from different positions. The ultimate aim of this method is to find out what job an employee is best suited for and to expose them to different skills and tasks to keep them satisfied if job tasks are mundane.

  3. Job enlargement:
  4. Giving the employee more tasks and autonomy increases their responsibilities and empowers them with more knowledge about their department and helps them gain a holistic understanding on the importance of their job in the organisation. This is known as horizontal work loading.

  5. Job enrichment:
  6. Also known as vertical wok loading, the employee must perform higher level tasks that would normally be done by an employee in a more superior role. This is a motivating development method as it provides employees with a sense of personal accomplishment and fulfils their achievement needs while empowering them with new skills that are required at higher levels of the organisation.

  7. Job instruction training:
  8. This method enables the employee to become a student where they watch a supervisor perform a function while providing instructions on how to do so, they try out the function themselves and then their supervisor provides feedback and follows up on the training to teach the employee.

  9. Coaching:
  10. An employee’s immediate supervisor shows their employee how to perform certain tasks which require new responsibility. The supervisor demonstrates and encourages the employee to perform these new tasks and provides support for the employee when dealing with difficult situations – they discuss the situations and work on alternative ways of dealing with these situations.

  11. Mentoring:
  12. A more experienced member of staff such as senior management guides and supports employees during their development.

  13. Apprenticeships:
  14. An unqualified employee may be allocated to work practically under a qualified senior member of staff where they learn and develop skills. After the apprenticeship, the learner will receive a certificate or formal qualification after the apprenticeship.

  15. Internship:
  16. A student may do an internship to learn practical skills and achieve certain learning goals which they can add to their formal training and experience.

  17. Lectures:
  18. This isn’t only for new employees or students. The work environment is forever changing and employees should be up to date with the latest trends in their business environment. Lectures are useful in learning new information about their working world.

  19. Seminar:
  20. Not only are seminars excellent for networking but they allow employees to interact with specialist and highly qualified individuals to learn new skills and ways of thinking through interactive activities and talks.

  21. Vestibule/stimulation:
  22. A situation is created to resemble an employee’s actual work environment. This method teaches employees how to handle certain situations and how to react under different circumstances

  23. e-Learning:
  24. Employees can take courses online which they can complete in their own pace and be exposed to new technologies and ways of thinking. E-learning allows employees to learn wherever they are and is a flexible, cost effective development approach.

  25. Case Study:
  26. Employees exercise their problem-solving skills through this development method. They are given certain situations and organisational problems to which they develop solutions, recommendations and alternatives.

  27. Role-Playing:
  28. If employees deal with customers or are interacting with people daily, role playing can be an effective development approach because employees are put in a made-up scenario which helps them prepare for similar real-life encounters.

It is evident that one of these training methods would never successfully meet the development needs of all employees in various departments of the organisation. It is essential to analyse the skills deficiency in each department and select the most effective development method.
Which development methods has your company successfully executed and what results did you have? We’d love your feedback!


T Brevis, M. V. ed., 2016. Contemporary Management Principles. Cape Town: Juta. BJ Erasmus, J. S. S. R.-K., 2013. Introduction into Business Management. 9 ed. Cape Town: Oxford.




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