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4 Keys to Effective Employee Training

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Note: A version of this article originally appeared on TrainingIndustry.com

By Stephanie Elliott
Director of Professional Development, Aerotek

In an industry that spans all facets of staffing and talent solutions, the skills of our recruiters mean everything. They impact the candidate experience, the effectiveness of workers we place, our ability to grow our networks and the value we deliver to our clients. The capabilities our people bring to the job aren’t accidental. Instead, they’re the result of a skills development approach that has evolved over 35-plus years in business.

Our development approach is always evolving, but the experience driving that evolution reveals basic ideas that can help any organization ensure skills are not only learned, but that they are retained and refined over time. In short, we need to cultivate skills, and we need to make them stick. The keys to success are an understanding of the who, why and how to train for lasting skills development.

1. Align learning to the people you are training

The capabilities our people bring to their work is not learned easily. Students need to be flexible. They must be open to new and different ways of working with an ability to build relationships of trust with candidates, clients and colleagues. To fit these demands, we hire for integrity and train for skills.

For other organizations and different kinds of roles, there may be several indicators for potential. In some situations, technical background may be important while others may require a history of learning new things or teaching them. In any case, when employers align education efforts to best benefit those they are training, the result is a workforce most likely to retain and develop the skills being taught.


2. Consider the why behind skills development

The “why” behind skills development is often different than many organizations realize. The real reason for training is not to teach a skill. Instead, we view training as a means to help students learn a skill. When we think of adult learning, we look at it as a delicate balance of teaching and facilitating.

Training program attendees, particularly those with some experience, may not want to be told how to do their jobs. Facilitate two-way conversations whenever possible, and the result will be people who want to be engaged with the material being taught.

3. Be intentional about how training is delivered

For many roles, simply teaching a class is not enough. When training for complex capabilities, an organization may consider a broader approach centered around several key concepts: “Learn, Shadow, Do and Teach.” The student learns a particular tactic or idea in a classroom, then moves to a live area where an experienced professional demonstrates that learning in a live scenario. Next, the student puts that learning into practice herself. Finally, she is asked to “teach” what she learned back to the instructor. Together, these elements create students who are confident in the new skills they acquire.

4. Equipping people to learn

People are infinitely varied, and the types of skills we need to succeed will always evolve. For workers in nearly every industry, the demand for both soft and hard skills is growing. By focusing on helping workers embrace new capabilities, instead of remembering facts, the organization can ensure that skills are brought into the organization while employees become learning-driven and take ownership of development as part of their careers.


Teaching people to learn is more important than ever, as acquiring, retaining and evolving skills will make the difference for successful employers and workers of the future. By embracing a skills development approach that recognizes and accommodates the many factors that impact learning, organizations can ensure their employees are well-prepared to handle the complex challenges of the modern business world.

Want to learn more about employee training? Contact Aerotek now.