Training of managers and employees is necessary for a variety of legal and practical reasons. Regardless of the content of the training, manager and employee training programs need at least the following basic elements to be successful.

1. Mandatory

All employees and managers need to have certain basic training. Certain topics should not be optional and left to an individual's discretion. For example, everyone should be trained on safe work habits or special safety requirements as well as the employer's policies against harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

2. Practical

Managers and employees have difficulty relating to overly-academic training. Training needs to impart actual real-world skills and knowledge that will have a positive impact on performance, efficiency, compliance or other important employer goals.

3. Engaging

To increase the likelihood that attendees will retain the knowledge and skills covered in particular training, the sessions must engage them. Interactive learning is much more effective than passive learning. Some may even say that in today's world of excessive stimulation, attendees need to be entertained.

At a minimum, the training should not be boring to attendees if they are to retain the information covered by the training. The training should also take into account that different people learn in different ways and that a variety of materials may be necessary for effective learning.

4. Regular

Training should occur on a regularly-scheduled basis that is appropriate for the organization. Attendees should come to expect training on a predicable basis. Over time, the regularity of training will impress upon attendees the importance that the employer places on training. It will also condition attendees to be more accepting and engaged with the process.

5. Programmed or systematic

In addition to being regular and predictable, training on individual topics should be integrated or organized into an overall system of training. As such, synergy will result from the training, and the sum of the individual parts of the training program will have greater value than the individual sessions.

Not only will attendees learn about specific topics, they will feel their employer is committed to their advancement and engagement and there will be positive incidental effects of the training. They will believe their employer is organized and forward-looking and come to realize the employer expects the same attributes from them in the performance of their jobs.

6. Comprehensive

Employees and managers need training on all sorts of legal, technical and managerial skills. One-off classes may be beneficial on specific topics, but there needs to be an overall training curriculum where attendees learn about a broad range of topics.

Such a comprehensive program will give them perspective, wisdom and judgment that transcends the content of the individual sessions.

7. Documented

All training needs to be documented. Attendees need certain documents to reinforce the in-person training.

Where training is required by a particular law or regulation, documentation of attendance is important to "prove" the training was actually provided. Moreover, even where not "required," documentation will help prove the employer's compliance efforts in the event it is ever challenged.


These are just a few of the essential elements of any training program, and others may apply to different employers. However, training that encompasses these basic elements will be more likely to be successful.