How Do Different Types of Training Impact Employee Performance?

By OrangeHRM | Published on Jun 6, 2024 | minute read

Do you ever feel like your employees aren't quite reaching their full potential? Perhaps you've noticed a dip in productivity, a rise in customer complaints, or a general lack of enthusiasm within your team. A skilled and motivated workforce is the cornerstone of success in today's competitive business landscape. But how do you ensure your employees have the knowledge, tools, and confidence they need to excel?


The answer lies in training. Investing in employee development isn't just about ticking a box; it's a strategic investment that pays dividends in the form of a more engaged, efficient, and high-performing workforce.

The Importance of Effective Training for Employee Performance

Organizations need a workforce equipped with the skills and knowledge to navigate change and stay ahead of the curve. This is where effective training and development (T&D) programs come into play. Effective training and development is important and go beyond simply teaching employees how to perform a specific task. It's a strategic investment that fosters a culture of continuous learning, boosts employee engagement, and ultimately drives significant improvements in overall performance.

Benefits of Effective Training


  • Increased Productivity & Efficiency - Well-trained employees understand their roles, have the necessary skills to perform their duties effectively, and can make quicker decisions. This leads to a significant boost in productivity and efficiency. 


  • Improved Skill Sets & Knowledge - This bridges skill gaps and equips employees with the latest knowledge and industry best practices such as power skills which are critical in the modern-day workforce. This empowers them to tackle complex tasks with confidence, solve problems more efficiently, and adapt to new technologies and processes.


  • Enhanced Employee Engagement & Motivation - This demonstrates that an organization values its employees and is committed to their professional growth. This fosters a sense of ownership, purpose, and belonging, leading to increased employee engagement and motivation. Engaged employees are more likely to go the extra mile, take initiative, and contribute innovative ideas.


  • Reduced Errors & Rework - Properly utilized it minimizes errors and rework caused by a lack of knowledge or unclear procedures. This not only saves time and resources but also improves product and service quality.


  • Improved Customer Satisfaction - A skilled and knowledgeable workforce can better understand and address customer needs, resulting in a more positive customer experience. This translates into higher customer satisfaction rates and loyalty.


  • Increased Innovation & Problem-Solving Skills - Training programs that encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills empower employees to identify and address challenges creatively. This fosters a culture of innovation, leading to the development of new ideas and solutions that can drive business growth.


  • Reduced Turnover -  Employees who feel valued and invested in by their company are more likely to stay. These opportunities demonstrate an organization's commitment to its employees' professional development, reducing employee turnover and the associated costs of recruitment and onboarding.

The Cost of Ineffective Training

However, the importance of effective programs cannot be overstated. Ineffective programs, on the other hand, can have a detrimental impact on your organization. Some of the potential costs associated with ineffective programs include:


  • Wasted Time & Resources - Poorly designed programs that don't address actual needs or lack clear objectives are a waste of valuable time and resources.


  • Demotivated & Disengaged Employees - A program that is irrelevant, outdated, or poorly delivered can leave employees feeling frustrated and disengaged. This can lead to a decline in morale and productivity.


  • Knowledge Gaps & Performance Issues - Ineffective processes fail to equip employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their jobs effectively. This can lead to knowledge gaps, performance issues, and a decrease in overall team effectiveness.


  • Increased Safety Risks & Accidents - Inadequate safety training can put employees at risk of accidents and injuries. This can result in significant costs associated with workers' compensation claims and lost productivity.


By investing in well-designed and strategically implemented programs, organizations can unlock the full potential of their workforce, create a competitive advantage, and achieve sustainable success.

Connecting Training and Performance Management

Effective training and development don't exist in a silo. It should be closely aligned with your organization's appraisal system. Appraisals can help identify skill gaps and needs, while T&D programs can address these gaps and improve employee performance against set objectives. This cyclical process ensures that it is targeted, and relevant, and ultimately drives desired outcomes. Ultimately, the benefits of effective T&D far outweigh the costs. By investing in your employees' development, you're investing in the future success of your organization.

Exploring Different Types of Training

Now that we've established the significant impact of T&D on employee performance, let's delve into the diverse landscape of different programs available. Understanding the various types and their strengths will help you choose the right approach to address specific needs within your organization.

Categorizing Training Types

T&D programs can be broadly categorized based on their objectives and target audience. Here are some key types to consider:

Onboarding & Orientation Training


  • Importance - Onboarding is the first step in integrating new hires into your organization. An effective onboarding program helps them adjust to their new roles quickly, understand company culture, and become productive members of the team.


  • Key Components - A well-designed onboarding program typically includes a company overview, role-specific coaching, introductions to key colleagues, and familiarization with company policies and procedures. Learning management software (LMS) can be a valuable tool for streamlining onboarding by providing a centralized platform for delivering relevant materials, managing tasks, and tracking progress.


  • Example - A new sales representative might undergo onboarding that includes product training, sales methodology workshops, and mentorship from experienced team members. An LMS can be used to deliver product knowledge modules, house sales collateral, and assign tasks like completing compliance certificates.

Skill-Specific Training


  • Identifying Skill Gaps - Skill gaps can be identified through performance reviews, employee surveys, or skills assessments.


  • Program Types - Skill-specific development focuses on developing specific competencies required for a particular job function or role. This can include:
    • Technical Skills - Equips employees with the technical knowledge and expertise needed to operate specific software, equipment, or machinery.
    • Soft Skills - Develop interpersonal and communication skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking, and customer service.



  • Example - A marketing team might require guidance on a new social media marketing platform. An LMS can be used to deliver video tutorials, provide access to product documentation, and conduct online quizzes to assess employee understanding.



  • Importance - Compliance training ensures that employees are aware of and adhere to relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards. This helps to mitigate legal risks, maintain ethical business practices, and foster a safe work environment.


  • Program Types - Compliance can cover diverse topics such as:
    • Workplace Safety - Focuses on safety procedures, hazard identification, and emergency response protocols.
    • Data Privacy - Educates employees about data protection regulations and best practices for handling sensitive information.
    • Anti-Harassment - Provides guidance on recognizing and preventing workplace harassment and discrimination.


  • LMS for Managing Records - An LMS can be a valuable tool for managing compliance exercise records. It enables organizations to:
    • Assign mandatory courses to specific employee groups
    • Track completion rates and identify employees who require retraining
    • Maintain a centralized repository of certificates and completion records for audit purposes

In-Depth Look at Specific Methods

Beyond the broad categories mentioned above, these programs can be delivered using various methods, each with its advantages and limitations. Here's a closer look at some common methods:


  • Lecture-based 
    • Pros - This traditional method involves an instructor presenting information to a group of learners. It's cost-effective and can be efficient for delivering factual knowledge.
    • Cons - Can be passive and less engaging for some learners. Limited opportunity for practical application of knowledge.


  • Hands-on 
    • Pros - Provides learners with opportunities to practice new skills in a safe and controlled environment. Promotes active learning and knowledge retention.
    • Cons - This may require additional resources for equipment and facilities. May not be suitable for all types of skills.


  • Blended Learning
    • Pros - Combines different methods (e.g., lectures, videos, workshops) to cater to diverse learning styles. Offers flexibility and a more engaging learning experience.
    • Cons - Requires careful planning and coordination to ensure seamless integration of different components.


  • E-learning & Online 
    • Pros - Offers flexibility for learners to access materials at their own pace and convenience. Cost-effective to deliver and scale for a large workforce.
    • Cons - Limited opportunities for interaction and feedback compared to in-person coaching.  Requires access to technology and reliable internet connection.

Choosing the Right Method:

The optimal method depends on several factors, including


  • Learning Objectives - What skills or knowledge do you want employees to gain?
  • Target Audience - Consider the learning styles and preferences of your employees.
  • Budget & Resources - What resources are available for delivery?
  • Time Constraints - How much time can be dedicated to these programs?


By carefully considering these factors and the strengths and weaknesses of different methods, you can choose the approach that best aligns with your objectives and maximizes the learning impact for your employees.

Additional Considerations

While choosing the right type and method forms a crucial foundation, effective programs require careful consideration of several additional factors. These considerations go beyond the delivery itself and ensure that the experience is not only engaging but also translates into long-term improvements in employee performance. Here's a deeper dive into some key elements to consider:

Needs Assessment: Identifying the Gaps

Before diving headfirst into delivery, it's vital to conduct a thorough needs assessment.  This process helps you identify specific skill and knowledge gaps within your workforce. Here are some methods to conduct a needs assessment:


  • Performance Reviews - Regularly scheduled performance reviews offer valuable insights into individual employee strengths and weaknesses. Analyze patterns across team or department reviews to identify broader skill gaps requiring interventions.


  • Employee Surveys - Conduct anonymous surveys to gather employee feedback on their needs and preferences. Surveys can be a valuable tool for uncovering areas where employees feel underprepared or lack the necessary skills to perform their jobs effectively.


  • Skills Assessments - Formal skills assessments, either standardized tests or internally developed evaluations, can provide a more objective measure of employee knowledge and skill levels.


By understanding the specific needs within your organization, you can ensure that your programs are targeted, and relevant, and address the most pressing skill gaps impacting employee performance.

Active Learning: Engaging Your Workforce

This goes beyond simply transmitting information. It should actively engage learners and promote knowledge retention. Here are some strategies to foster active learning within your programs:


  • Interactive Activities - Incorporate activities like case studies, role-playing exercises, and group discussions into your sessions. This allows learners to apply newly acquired knowledge to practical scenarios and collaborate with peers.


  • Gamification - Gamification elements can add a fun and competitive element to the learning process. Leaderboards, badges, and points can motivate trainees and encourage engagement. However, ensure gamification elements align with learning objectives and avoid becoming a distraction.


  • Microlearning - Break down complex topics into bite-sized, digestible chunks. Microlearning modules, delivered through short videos, quizzes, or interactive exercises, cater to shorter attention spans and allow for flexible learning at the learner's pace.

Ongoing Learning: Fostering a Growth Mindset

Effective programs should cultivate a culture of continuous learning within your organization. Here are some ways to encourage ongoing learning:


  • Knowledge-Sharing Platforms - Create knowledge-sharing platforms where employees can share best practices, tips, and resources with colleagues. This fosters collaboration and peer-to-peer learning.


  • Mentorship Programs - Implement mentorship programs where experienced employees can guide and support the professional development of newer team members.


  • Learning Management Systems (LMS) - Learning management systems (LMS) offer a centralized platform for housing materials, online courses, and resources. They can be a valuable tool for facilitating ongoing learning by providing employees with easy access to a variety of learning resources.


  • Learning & Development Budget - Allocate a dedicated budget for learning and development initiatives. This demonstrates a commitment to employee growth and allows them to pursue additional opportunities beyond formal programs offered by the organization.


By promoting a culture of continuous learning, you empower employees to take ownership of their professional development. This fosters a growth mindset where employees are encouraged to embrace challenges, learn from mistakes, and continually refine their skills.

Measuring the Impact of Training on Performance

Demonstrating the return on investment (ROI) for programs is a crucial aspect of effective learning and development (L&D) practices. Simply offering sessions isn't enough. Organizations need a systematic approach to measure the impact on employee performance and overall business outcomes. Here are some key strategies to consider:

Setting Objectives & Goals

The foundation for measuring effectiveness lies in establishing clear objectives and goals before the program even begins. These objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).


  • Specific - Clearly define what skills or knowledge employees should gain from the program.


  • Measurable - Identify specific metrics or indicators that will be used to assess whether objectives are being met.


  • Achievable - Set realistic and attainable goals that take into consideration the complexity of the content and the resources available.


  • Relevant - Ensure that the objectives are aligned with broader organizational goals and address identified skill gaps impacting performance.


  • Time-bound - Establish a timeframe for achieving the objectives. This helps in setting clear expectations and ensures timely evaluation.


By establishing SMART objectives, you can lay the groundwork for meaningful evaluation and demonstrate the connection between it and improved performance.

Evaluation Methods

Once objectives are established, you can  employ a variety of evaluation methods to measure the impact of T&D on employee performance:


  • Pre- & Post-Assessments - Conducting assessments before and after allows you to measure learning gains and assess the effectiveness of the content in imparting the desired knowledge and skills. Pre-assessments establish baseline knowledge levels, while post-assessments provide data on changes in employee competency after completing the program.


  • Types of Assessments - These assessments can take various forms, including multiple-choice tests, skills demonstrations, or project assignments. The specific assessment type should be chosen based on the learning objectives and the skills being measured.


  • Performance Metrics - Track key performance metrics (KPIs) aligned with the objectives. These metrics could include data points such as increased productivity, reduced error rates, improved customer satisfaction scores, or decreased turnover rates. By analyzing changes in these metrics following implementation, you can establish a correlation between the intervention and improved business outcomes.


  • Employee Feedback Surveys - Gather feedback from participants through surveys or focus groups. Ask them about the relevance and usability of the content, the effectiveness of the delivery method, and their perceptions of the impact on their ability to perform their jobs more effectively.


By combining pre- & post-assessments, performance metrics, and employee feedback, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the effectiveness of your programs and their impact on employee performance.

Long-Term Impact Measurement

Measuring the impact isn't a one-time event. Consider monitoring performance metrics and employee feedback over an extended period to assess the long-term effectiveness of your programs. This can reveal how well employees retain the skills learned and continue to apply them in their daily work. Additionally, tracking long-term trends can help identify areas where the program might need adjustments or refresher courses to ensure continued positive impact.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

While measuring the impact on performance is crucial, a comprehensive evaluation requires considering the financial investment in programs. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to compare the costs associated with development and delivery against the tangible benefits observed in improved performance, increased productivity, and reduced costs (e.g., less rework, lower turnover). This analysis helps demonstrate the financial return on investment (ROI) generated by effective programs.

Considerations and Challenges

When measuring effectiveness, it's important to acknowledge some  challenges  and  considerations:


  • Isolating the Impact - Multiple factors can influence employee performance, making it difficult to isolate the sole impact. Consider external factors like changes in work processes, technology upgrades, or market fluctuations when analyzing performance data.


  • Transfer of Learning - Bridging the gap between learning and application is crucial for long-term impact. Strategies like support and managerial reinforcement can facilitate the transfer of learning and ensure employees can effectively apply their new skills on the job.


  • Data Availability and Quality - Effectively measuring impact requires access to reliable data. Ensure your performance management system captures relevant metrics and employee feedback mechanisms are in place to gather meaningful data for analysis.


Measuring the impact of training on performance isn't just about ticking a box. Regular evaluation also allows for continuous improvement of your programs, ensuring they remain relevant, and engaging, and contribute to achieving your organization's strategic goals.

Why OrangeHRM?

With OrangeHRM, you can design, deliver, and track training initiatives effortlessly, ensuring your workforce has the skills and knowledge they need to excel. Our comprehensive performance management and training modules work seamlessly together, allowing you to automate administrative tasks and free up valuable time to focus on what truly matters, your people. Book a FREE demo and see why OrangeHRM is the perfect solution for managing your programs.