What is your most valuable business investment business? You’re right! Your employees. So how can you make sure the value of your investment is always increasing and making great returns? Well, that’s a simple answer too. By conducting employee training programs.

Every business devotes a great deal of time, energy and money to each employee. It’s only natural that you want to maximize that investment. Providing them with ongoing training, updated with the latest industry trends should be a priority. You cannot afford to be frugal on training. Skimping on training may save you some money in the short term, but if you are a forward thinker, you already know that poor training will lose in the long run.

Here are 5 essential steps for employee training programs:

#1 Actively Participate in Employee Training Programs

A lot of companies train their employees when they are hired and then hope the employee follows through. Others utilize an outside company to streamline an employee training program. This route can be beneficial and provide necessary continual training and save you a lot of amount of time. But do not depend on third-party companies completely. Remember, you know your employees better than they do. Observe your employees and how they execute their daily tasks to identify shortcomings that need improvement. Training is designed to fill the gap between the current performance and the expected performance of an employee, and your close observation is crucial to fill this gap.

#2 Ask Employees for Contribution

Asking your employees how they can perform better will identify issues you might’ve missed. They can talk about their needs better than you can. Asking employees to contribute self-evaluation will not only bring forward important issues but also make your employees feel important and boost excitement about upcoming training programs.

#3 Be Creative and Relevant

It might sound like a no-brainer, but being creative will keep your employees engaged and inspired throughout any training program. Use new ways of teaching and instructing. Make it fun. Add incentives if you can. It’s amazing what people will do for a small recognition or reward. Keep your training sessions as interactive as possible.

While being creative, remember that being relevant is paramount. Your training will be useless if it is not relevant to current industry trends and your specific needs, skills, and standards. Certainly, there exist concepts that are evergreen. Identify them, modify them if required and reinforce their importance in the best way suited to your employees.

#4 Take the Time to do it Right

Instead of cramming the whole training program into a three-day course, divide the topics over a period of time. Spreading out training helps employees not only understand it better but also provides them time to implement the training concepts. It also takes off the burden of remembering and implementing all the concepts at once!

#5 Bridge the Gap Between Knowledge and Actions

Most businesses miss the last and most essential post-training reinforcement, implementing the training into their work performance. Instruct and expect your employees to follow through with the skills and expectation set during training. Allow time to work on the skills to make sure they get it right. Failing to let employees apply the training concepts in a systematic way throws your investments down the drain! Follow up on the follow through and allow your employees to apply the training.

Employee training is designed to help your employees be their best. But, ultimately, if done well the entire company benefits. Something that is good for both the employee and the company? Now that sounds like a true win-win.