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Corporate Training and Development: What is it and Why is it Beneficial?

Corporate training and development is distinct from other learning fields due to its deep connections to professional skills, business goals, employee productivity, and employee benefits. Corporate training and corporate training programs vary by the size and industry of the company, yet in all settings, there are common traits and consistent benefits.


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What is corporate training and development?

Corporate training and development is the process of training employees on specific behaviors, processes, and systems needed to perform roles and responsibilities through a system of activities using various forms of learning classes, resources, and programs.

Corporate training delivery includes many formats and technologies, such as an instructor-led class in person or online, as a video, or as a web module. The delivery format, or how training is accessed, is part of the training description within the training industry. The delivery format can impact how the employees communicate within the training and determine how employees can (or cannot) practice skills within the training session.

In-person: Training provided on-site (regardless of if that is in company offices or another location) 

Virtual: Training delivered or accessed online is called “virtual” learning 

Hybrid: Training and training programs that use both in-person and virtual learning, is called “hybrid.” training 

In all formats, the priority is meeting the learning objectives so that employees can apply needed skills on the job. All corporate training should:

  • State learning objectives to help with assessing later performance on the job
  • Include opportunities for personalized employee feedback to guide development
  • Incorporate assessments of knowledge gained from completing the training

Training programs can not only grow skills needed by the business but also build a more extensive peer network to support ongoing skill development and knowledge sharing that fits the company’s needs.

Is all content corporate training?

A good training program and its resources will have the following:

  • clearly defined learning objectives,
  • measurable progress in skill development, and
  • a skill or knowledge area to apply on the job.

For example, using a YouTube video to learn how to install a new light fixture is training; unless light fixture installation is part of your job, it is not corporate training. Corporate training needs to correlate and apply to business goals and professional skills.

Does corporate learning connect to higher education and professional development organizations?

Corporate training differs from formal higher education institutions that offer accredited multiyear degrees. Some higher education institutions provide executive education or professional skill programs that apply to corporate training topics, but they do equate to or issue a college degree.

Instead of undergraduate and master’s degrees, corporate training and development as an industry encompass credentials (usually requiring continuing education credits) and certificates (of completion or reaching specific learning milestones). Applying to take a certification exam may require a particular type of higher education degree (2- or 4-year), depending on the rules set by the managing professional skill organization. Many professional skill organizations oversee credentialing standards, processes, and exams for specific knowledge and skill areas.

Larger corporate learning teams commonly offer training programs to help employees prep for certifications that fit within the company’s skill needs. Therefore, professional organizations may have training provider standards to ensure the quality and content of corporate training groups or companies providing credential exam support. The professional certifications, the work to prepare for certification exams, and the training to maintain earned certifications fall within the overall category of corporate training.

Who needs corporate training?

All levels of experience and roles use corporate learning and training programs. The topic, format, and detail level may differ, but all employees and leaders need corporate training.

  • All employees: keep employees up to date with new practices, regulation changes, new technology, and process improvements. Learn about company standards, processes, technology, and procedures as part of the annual required training. 
  • New employees: attend more frequent training to better assimilate to the corporate culture and grow skills for their role. Complete onboarding that will include corporate culture, benefits, work environment, and standard processes used across the company.
  • Experienced employees: keep their skills and knowledge current, supporting their role performance within the company. Support work towards earning a professional credential or maintaining a professional certification. 
  • Teams: create a peer network to support learning within the class and beyond. 

Indeed, the answer to who uses corporate training should be everyone! 

Corporate training, onboarding, skill growth, upskilling, reskilling, and leadership development programs help employees at each stage of their career with the company. Continuous learning and training enables all employees to keep their skills fresh and connected to changes in the business. Training happens in all industries, and the delivery of it should be in the format that best meets the needs of the professionals within a specific field or setting.

What professional development topics are included in corporate learning?

The size and industry of a company directly shape the breadth and scope of available corporate training. Larger organizations often have an internal corporate training development team to customize their corporate training offerings. For smaller organizations, employers may need to tap into external training providers to access quality corporate training solutions. The general categories of corporate training include:

  • Leadership development training
  • Technical skills training
  • Certification preparation training, depending on roles and responsibilities
  • Soft skills (also referred to as people skills, power skills, and interpersonal skills) training
  • General business skills (also referred to as operational skills)

Most entry-level courses are designed as single classes or modules to expose employees to new concepts and knowledge. Additionally, some skills and knowledge can be taught in a class or a self-contained web module for employees of any experience level.

Use a corporate training program for training employees on complex topics or soft skills that take time and practice to develop. A corporate training program has a series of classes, resources, and learning experiences completed over time. A program should, like each of the corporate training resources within it, have clearly stated goals and objectives, along with feedback and an assessment. For example, Leadership Development, Customer Service skills, and Project Management methodologies are commonly delivered as training programs due to the complexity of the topic and the need for real-time coaching.

What is the purpose of a Learning Management System within corporate training?

Many mid-size or large corporate training development departments use a Learning Management System (LMS) to provide employees with an easy way to access corporate training catalogs online. 

The corporate training team can use the LMS to monitor class and program offerings to:

  • Troubleshoot registration.
  • Track registration to identify trends in skills and formats.
  • Tag content for life-cycle maintenance.
  • Link different resources to encourage continuous learning by employees.
  • Capture employee and leadership requests for additional training and topics. 

The LMS is also a tool for leaders and employees to use as part of professional development. For example, an LMS allows leaders to select and assign specific training to their teams or to an employee to help prepare for role transitions or progressions. The LMS also enables employees to seek training to support professional development to advance within their current role or train for a new position.

There are different platforms and LMS types; some function as standalone online portals and others fit within cloud-based Human Resources systems. Irrespective of what LMS a company uses, it is important to understand its functionality and incorporate it into the corporate training environment.

What is the importance of corporate training?

Employees consider training an integral part of their work lives; a LinkedIn survey shows 94% of employees would stay at a company if it invested in their learning needs. Corporate training and professional development are beneficial and can be part of an employee’s reason to stay with a company longer. At the same time, corporate training of all types and topics helps employees perform their roles while promoting the corporate culture. It can be a win-win-win for employees, leaders, and companies.

For employees | relevant and marketable skills

Training for in-demand corporate skills helps the employee remain relevant in their current role and better prepared for future job possibilities.

For employees | strong engagement within a learning culture

Learning alongside peers fosters community and builds a shared appreciation for working at the company. In addition, being connected and engaged leads to a more positive and productive work environment.

For leaders | resource assignment efficiencies

When all your employees have completed the same training and gained the same knowledge, there is an inherent consistency of terminology and process across the organization leading to more efficiency.

For leaders | increased adaptability

Consistent training in processes, knowledge, best practices, and standards enables more flexibility in staffing across departments within a company.

For teams | peer support

When an employee cohort completes corporate training together, it can help reinforce new skills and knowledge. During the class or program, employees can share examples from their daily work with each other to enhance the learning experience. Additionally, after the training, the employees have a peer group to seek guidance and support when applying their new skills back on the job.

For company | increased efficiency and productivity

Employees that need more skills to perform their current job or future roles are less productive by default because they cannot apply a skill they do not have. Employee morale needs critical corporate training because the company is not enabling them to do their best work.

For company | employee buy-in and retention

Corporate organizations that lack the training to build an understanding of how company areas connect or for general business skills, or lack employee training for job growth, are at risk for lower productivity and reduced talent retention.

The short-term benefit of a well-trained workforce is the ability to meet immediate needs for current work. The long-term benefits of quality corporate training come from building a culture of continuous learning in which the priority placed on employee satisfaction and development is clear, and there is support for all employees’ career opportunities.

Does your company need a corporate training strategy?

A discussion of corporate training is only complete by addressing the importance of having a corporate training strategy. Developing a corporate training strategy is necessary to ensure that the separate classes, sessions, and programs offered to employees all fit into an overarching plan with a shared foundation of goals that support the business’s mission. In addition, a corporate learning strategy should enable and create an effective learning environment that allows employees to reach their maximum potential, developing curriculum and educational materials to match the desired outcome and providing rewards or recognition for those who demonstrate excellence in their training.

Summary

Corporate training and development catalyze employee success, which, in turn, means the business or organization’s success. The benefits of corporate training are many, for example:

  • Improves cost-efficiency
  • Increases morale and motivation
  • Increases employee retention
  • Minimizes skill gaps and eliminated weaknesses
  • Establishes a culture of learning

Corporate training should fulfill specific and measurable business needs, whether to prepare employees for new responsibilities or hone skills needed for their current roles. Regardless of delivery format, all corporate training should have clear learning objectives to guide content development and align with business goals. The best corporate training fulfills the immediate business need regarding the skills to do the work. In addition, it contributes to a work environment where employees are engaged, loyal, and productive.

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