By Philip Piletic

The best way to ensure that your company has all the highly skilled employees it needs to succeed is to create them. There’s no shortage of evidence of the value of employee training programs. Higher profits, greater employee satisfaction, and lower turnover rates are just a few of the benefits. Some of that evidence suggests that investing in worker training is one of the most important elements in the continued future success of a business.

The Cheesecake Factory, which invests $2000 on training per employee each year, earns dividends on that investment in sales almost double the industry average. Companies that enjoy the status of being included in Great Places to Work report 65 percent less employee turnover than others within their industries. Their investment in employee learning and development is cited as one of the most important reasons. In a Skillsoft survey, 68 percent of workers placed a high value on continual workplace training that would enable them to develop new skills. While the content of training programs may differ depending on the industry, the most effective training programs contain some universal elements.

Orientation Training

It’s important that new employees understand the structure and goals of your organization as well as what their duties are within it. Orientation training serves a number of valuable purposes, including reducing employee anxiety and developing realistic expectations. It can also result in employees feeling more invested in achieving common goals. Introducing them to managers and executives, providing guidelines for workplace conduct, and familiarizing them with their duties all help reduce employee turnover.

Policies and Procedures

Companies operate within federal and state guidelines and develop their policies and procedures to ensure that they remain in compliance. Besides legal mandates, a company’s policies also reflect its mission statement and corporate priorities. Creating a manual that clearly defines employees’ rights and responsibilities as well as operating procedures and performance expectations eliminates potential future misunderstandings. However, because people have different learning styles, it’s important to present vital information in a number of ways. Research shows that visuals are often more effective for information retention than printed materials. Fortunately, making a company video is now as easy and inexpensive as pressing a button on a smartphone.

Health and Safety Training

The health and safety of its employees is the foundation upon which any business is built. Accidents, injuries, and preventable illnesses are costly, both in terms of higher insurance premiums and lost productivity. One of the most important elements of workplace health and safety training is monitoring the implementation of safety policies and procedures. While these procedures are important for every business, they are even more so in industries that utilize potentially dangerous heavy equipment, machinery operators, or workers that move heavy objects. In such conditions, occurrence of injuries are not a question of if, but when, so make sure to take all the necessary steps to prevent it. a. Whatever type of business you have, training in office ergonomics, proper lifting techniques, and accident prevention is essential.

Time Management Training

Whatever type of business you have, time management training can help your employees become more efficient and productive. They’ll appreciate gaining the skills they need to be able to accomplish more with less effort. There are even online time management courses available. Having employees with the ability to effectively prioritize tasks can mean the difference between meeting and missing an important deadline.

Interpersonal Skills Training

Interpersonal skills training is the best way to transform conflict into cooperation. Effective communication, conflict management, and problem-solving skills are important in all human relationships and business relationships are no exception. Providing your employees with communication strategies helps ensure that they are always able to make the most well-informed decisions possible. There is a lot of valuable information available on this topic, and some of it is free.

Training Methods

Your employee training program doesn’t have to be costly—or boring. Gamification is just one strategy you can use to both present information and test your employee’s understanding of it. There is software available that encourages employees to learn new material and set career goals by rewarding them when they’ve achieved them. It can also monitor employee engagement levels and help you determine which training strategies are most effective. Badgeville is one example, but there are many others than can be customized for specific types of businesses. Whatever the method, employee training is a sound investment.

Philip Piletic is a freelance writer of technology, small business and marketing. Follow him at @Philip_Piletic.