October 25, 2023

Top Employee Training Programs & Their Benefits in 2024

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Tags: HR

Key takeaways

  • The key training courses businesses and their learning and development departments should offer include soft skills; communication; health, safety, and security; leadership; and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • These courses should supplement traditional company culture, onboarding, and legally mandated industry training courses.
  • Offering these courses ensures employees have the tools necessary to do their jobs, collaborate effectively with coworkers, and maintain a safe and supportive workplace.

Top 5 employee training programs

The bare minimum employee training programs businesses of all sizes should offer include:

Onboarding training typically covers various topics, like company culture, products and services, work standards, tool and equipment usage, and other company policies. OTJ training, meanwhile, uses hands-on learning to teach new hires the immediate skills and competencies they’ll need in their roles.

But compliance, onboarding, and OTJ training are not enough on their own. They don’t necessarily provide employees with the skills to effectively cooperate with others, manage their workloads, or create a safe space to spark new ideas.

The following are the top training courses you or your learning and development (L&D) teams should provide to cultivate the most well-rounded, productive, and collaborative workforce.

  1. Soft skills.
  2. Communication.
  3. Health, safety, and security.
  4. Leadership.
  5. Diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Icons representing the top five training programs: soft skills; communication; health, safety, and security; leadership; and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Just implementing an L&D department? Check out the various types of training for an in-depth look at the courses and techniques your organization can offer.

1. Soft skills

Person with lightbulbs around their head to represent soft skills.

Soft skills training courses for employees comprise topics that help employees perform their duties more effectively or efficiently. Often, they are qualitative skills that you can’t measure through certifications, licenses, or degrees. They are also in direct contrast to hard or technical skills.

Examples of soft skills include:

  • Time management.
  • Public speaking and presentation.
  • Teamwork.
  • Flexibility.
  • Organization.

Because every employee’s background and experiences differ, you can’t assume everyone comes with the same personal or professional standards. Soft skills courses can fill these gaps and give them the knowledge and tools to optimize their performance.

In fact, research by the Carnegie Foundation in 1918 notes that 85% of career success comes from having well-developed soft skills and people skills. More recent data from LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends Report reveals that 92% of talent professionals say that soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills when making hiring decisions. This is especially important considering the increased rise of automation and AI in the workplace.

  • Increases productivity by giving workers the skills to manage their responsibilities and collaborate with teammates.
  • Increases employee retention since soft skill development can help them improve working relationships.
  • Improved customer relationships since employees have the skills to resolve customer concerns and build rapport.
  • Easy to implement since many learning management systems (LMS) or eLearning tools have pre-built courses you can leverage.

The best part about soft skills training for employees is that you have many ways to implement it in your workplace, including free options like podcasts, email newsletters, TED Talks, and online courses.

LMS solutions also offer soft skills courses with gamification elements and pre-built templates that you can modify to fit your particular learning instance. EdApp, for example, provides a library of more than 1,000 pre-made courses in the soft skill and technical arenas, such as its Problem Solver course. You can even start self-authoring lessons for free.

EdApp displays a soft skills training course for creative problem-solving.
If you’re on a budget but want to start prioritizing soft skill training, EdApp offers free courses; you can edit courses to fit your company’s needs. Source: EdApp

Did you know?

Employees need a good balance of soft and hard skills training to succeed in their roles. Learn the difference: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: How to Measure Them

2. Communication

Two people with speech bubbles to represent communication.

Communication training comprises courses to help employees effectively exchange ideas and collaborate with workers from various backgrounds or working styles. Although communication is a soft skill, it’s crucial to prioritize this kind of training to foster harmonious working relationships that lead to company innovation.

Communication training for employees also encompasses much more than “how to talk to someone.” It also involves the subtle verbal and non-verbal interactions that impact your company’s overall culture, like employee happiness, engagement, and loyalty.

Depending on your business, you can benefit from several communication modules, including:

  • Active listening: Teaches the importance of paying attention and listening to others to avoid miscommunication.
  • Emotional intelligence: Instructs on identifying, controlling, and using emotions to communicate constructively.
  • Intercultural communication: Explains how people of other cultures communicate to promote respect and prevent social faux pas or other misunderstandings.
  • Negotiation: Provides techniques for persuading and influencing others for executive buy-in, closing a sale, or brokering partnerships.
  • Body language: Teaches how to understand, control, and use non-verbal communication, such as posture, facial expressions, or gestures.
  • Virtual communication: Instructs how to effectively use tools like video conferencing, instant messaging, email, or other asynchronous forms of communication to relay information effectively.

  • Increased productivity because it reduces or prevents conflicts and misunderstandings between coworkers.
  • Increases customer and client satisfaction.
  • Increases profitability as customers and employees stay with your company for longer.

Beyond teaching theoretical knowledge, discussions, role-playing, and other hands-on training techniques are the best ways to teach communication skills. Live lessons allow employees to decode their peers’ communication while practicing their own.

Software with blended learning capabilities can also help with this. Zoho People’s Corporate LMS, for example, lets you create courses with both virtual and in-person elements for a more well-rounded training experience.

Zoho People displays a dialogue box for a live virtual training session.
Your distributed workforce can use Zoho People’s LMS to participate in self-paced lessons and live virtual sessions to practice your communication lessons. Source: Zoho People

3. Health, safety, and security

A thumbs up and safety badge to represent health, safety, and security.

For some industries, health, safety, and security (HSSE) training overlaps with other compliance training. However, you should offer HSSE training in some capacity, even if you are not in an industry that regulates it. This is because HSSE training covers more than fire prevention or how to use personal protective equipment (PPE); it also covers protecting your company’s intellectual property.

Effective HSSE gives employees the tools to recognize and prevent or de-escalate safety or security threats. The training will also equip employees with the knowledge of how to react to these situations after they occur, such as recordkeeping requirements or who to notify internally or externally.

HSSE training covers a broad range of topics, but some examples include:

  • Workplace violence prevention.
  • Workplace injury prevention and follow-up.
  • Data privacy.
  • Company security protocols and procedures.
  • Emergency preparedness.
  • Cybersecurity.

  • Reduces the frequency or cost of workplace injuries or accidents.
  • Increases employee and customer safety and trust.
  • Decreases the risk of losing proprietary company information.
  • Reduces the chance of damage to company property or equipment.

Your HSSE training program will differ depending on your company’s most significant risks. For example, a retailer might host training around warehouse safety for their employees working with stock. In contrast, companies that work with sensitive data on their computers may prioritize data privacy.

TalentLMS, for instance, offers several pre-built courses on HSSE, like data privacy and workplace violence prevention. Lessons are animated and interactive, increasing the likelihood of employee engagement.

Check out this trailer for TalentLMS’ bullying and violence course for HR professionals:

4. Leadership

Person with a flag leading another person up a staircase to represent leadership.

Leadership training courses aim to develop the skills to prioritize and manage projects and direct reports for those in or about to be in leadership or management positions. It is one of the most important employee training programs your company can offer because all organizations, big or small, need leaders.

Leadership courses frequently include both soft and technical skill training. For instance, leaders need a variety of soft skills to motivate teams, inspire followership, and ensure the completion of business objectives. Examples include:

  • Decision-making.
  • Task delegation.
  • Conflict resolution.
  • Employee feedback.

In addition, leaders must be well-versed in the tools and techniques of their or their company’s trade and how to get priorities done with utmost quality and efficiency. Hard skill development courses for leaders may include certifications in project management, business development, or another industry-specific area.

  • Effective succession planning strategy.
  • Supports employees new to management with a framework to follow.
  • Promotes team cohesion by providing leaders with strategies to manage conflict or disagreements.
  • Increases the likelihood of completing company goals successfully.

Leadership training courses can take many forms, from self-paced theoretical learning on your corporate LMS to seminars hosted by professional consultants or speakers.

However, one of the most effective leadership training is learning directly from peers or mentors. Investing in mentorship software, like Together, can help your organization pair upcoming leaders with employees in leadership positions to build a relationship that will improve your company’s performance.

Together displays survey questions related to goals and skills.
Together lets you create tailored questions to help match mentors and mentees, ensuring your leaders learn the skills they need from the right people for the most success. Source: Together

5. Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Three people with two arrows encircling them to represent inclusivity.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training involves teaching employees how to celebrate differences and be more mindful and empathetic toward coworkers from various backgrounds. As the name suggests, DEI training encompasses:

  • Embracing diversity.
  • Recognizing and reducing non-equitable workplace practices.
  • Promoting opportunities for all employees to feel included.

One of the fundamental components of DEI training involves confronting our biases based on how we interact with and understand others in the context of our upbringings and experiences. But, because of the nature of this training, it is easy to create counter-productive DEI courses.

In fact, a 2023 study by WebMD Health Services found that nearly half (46%) of respondents say DEI programs failed them personally. Thus, although DEI training should be a priority for every organization, these programs require sensitivity and a way for employees to report injustices in the workplace, like employee resource groups.

Modules to consider in your DEI training program include:

  • Promotes harmony and collaboration between employees from various walks of life.
  • Increases the likelihood of more equitable recruitment and promotion practices.
  • Reduces the chance of implicit biases by making employees more aware of them.
  • Sparks company innovation by encouraging different viewpoints from various people.

You can take advantage of several kinds of DEI courses depending on your organization’s needs, whether it’s hiring outside speakers, subscribing to online eLearning courses, or even using virtual reality. However, consider using survey tools or skills assessment software to test employees’ knowledge before you choose what DEI courses to invest in.

Vendors like SweetRush, for example, can customize a DEI training program for you with a mix of online training, action planning, and real-world scenarios.

Start crafting your company’s employee training programs

Offering employee training courses gives your company many advantages, such as increasing employee retention, reducing turnover, attracting qualified candidates, and supporting employees’ professional development, to name a few.

Moreover, employee training programs are something that your employees want, with 76% of employees saying they are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training in SHRM and TalentLMS’s 2022 Workplace Learning & Development Trends study.

Options like full-scale LMS software with pre-built course templates and gamified elements to improve employee engagement make starting your training programs easier than ever.

To explore some of these platforms, browse our Learning Management System Software Guide for our top favorites plus a complete list of other options to fit your needs. Or, check out our favorite eLearning features in our video overview below:

Jessica Dennis Avatar

About the author

Featured LMS partners

1 Deel

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With Deel Engage, you can build and launch effective courses using AI. Draft training courses faster with AI or access a library of content from proven providers to find the right upskilling program for everyone on your team.

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2 The Learning Center

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We offer an industry leading performance and learning management experience. Our content is inclusive of soft skill courses and strategic leadership development courses designed to upskill your talent from front line to senior leadership. We provide metrics that drive learning content assignments as well as industry leading analytics to provide solutions to your top HR priorities.

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3 Absorb LMS

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Empower organizations to provide employees, customers, partners, or members with the knowledge they need to effectively do their job with Absorb LMS. Absorb’s best-in-class interface creates an easy-to-use and dynamic learner and admin LMS experience. Make learning and development your competitive advantage by integrating an award-winning learning management system that combines the power of traditional LMS features with a core focus on user experience.

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