Employee Training: One Size Doesn’t Always Fit All

The labor force is diverse, full of unique individuals with their own outlooks, beliefs, managerial preferences, and career aspirations.

So it’s not a big surprise that different employees prefer different training programs.

In fact, according to go2HR, 40% of employees who receive what they see as poor training leave their positions within the first year. But what one person sees as poor training might be great for another.

In recent polls put out by Job Journey, the Express Employment Professionals blog for jobseekers, and Refresh leadership, the Express blog for business leaders, readers were asked what type of on-the-job training they preferred/provided.

  • Just under 20 percent of employees preferred a “Formal employee training program,” whereas only 11 percent of employers provided such a program.
  • 16 percent of jobseekers opted to choose “Mentorship,” which only 12 percent of employers offered.
  • “Supervisors/managers train employees” was the most prevalent choice among employers, at 23 percent, which was prioritized by just 16 percent of jobseekers.
  • 17 percent of employers encourage “Self-guided training (employees learn on their own).” Only 8 percent of jobseekers want this type of training.

In summary, there’s a clear mismatch between the types of training employers provide and the types of training employees need to do a great job. In a perfect world, every employee would be able to choose how they were trained. If this isn’t possible for your company, consider asking your manager about letting each individual department train employees in a unique way.

For instance, the accounting department might prefer to be trained by their managers, while marketing professionals want mentorships. A formal employee training program could work for warehouse workers, while computer programmers may want to learn on their own.

And training matters. A study put out by the MiddleSex University for Work Based Learning (and reported on by Your Training Edge) states that 74% of participants list a lack of training as the main reason for not achieving their potential at work.

Figuring out what type of training employees prefer can be as easy as sending out a survey and aggregating their responses. So let your boss know you want to give feedback!

How do you like to be trained? Let us know in the comments section below!


  1. Heather Brackney

    I am a huge fan of show me and then let me try. Throw me in the thick of it, shadowing, and then give me a chance to try it on my own. I die when I am locked in a conference room with a big book of SOPs or movies to watch, I want to hit the ground running!

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