10 Best Practices for Creating an Engaging and Impactful Employee Training Program

Posted on
April 3, 2024
Billy Mike
from myQuest

There are tons of things you can ignore as a business owner, but training your employees is definitely not one.

And the reason is simple. Employees make up the core of every business. The better they are at what they do, the more it benefits your company. You know what happens the other way round.

Besides, 94% of employees use a company’s training and development plans to decide whether to snitch or stitch. So you’re not the only one interested in their growth – they, too, are.

But randomly putting together a 10-hour classroom program won’t get the job done. If you’re going to help your employees refine their skills or gain another one, then you’ve got to do it well.

In this article, we will share the ten proven practices to create an engaging and impactful training program.

1. Evaluate Employees’ Skill Gaps

Skill gap is the difference between the skills or expertise you expect your employees to possess and what they actually have. 

Now, that’s surprising because there’s no way you’d have hired an underskilled job applicant in the first place.

So, it’s safe to say skill gap is not a problem with your recruitment process but mostly an issue that pops up when:

  • There is a change in tasks assigned to your employees.
  • You’re switching into another market.
  • There is a shift in strategy due to dynamic company objectives.
  • You’re adopting new technologies – especially the AI-powered ones.

In some cases, it might be because your employees have a poor performance report or the entire team is underdelivering despite recording a good sheet in the past.

You must first analyze these gaps to create a training program that will put your team at the top of their game.

Start by rolling out a survey for employees with questions such as:

  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how confident do you feel in performing the tasks required for your role?
  • Are there any specific skills or competencies required for your role that you currently lack?
  • How often do you participate in training or professional development activities related to your role?
  • What types of training or development opportunities would you like to see offered within the organization?

The next step is to combine their feedback with a performance review from your database and create a skill gap spreadsheet containing three columns – expected skills, required level, and current proficiency, as shown below.

Source: Workable

From the table above, this employee needs a training program focused on using Excel and CRM compared to Negotiation skills.

You can also use the same process to evaluate an entire team and see which skills they lack as a group. Then, tailor your training programs around these deficiencies.

Most importantly, skill gap analysis should give you a clear view of which competency to prioritize, help you save resources that could have been wasted on creating the wrong program, and ensure your employees are trained for what they need best.

2. Break Training Into Short Modules

Once you've figured out the competencies you need to fix, go ahead and create a 10-hour long video… Nah, just kidding. If you do that, you’ll probably be the only one to participate in the training.

Overly long training programs are boring. You don’t need a degree to know that. 

If you’re going to create something that’s engaging and impactful, make it short. And when we say “short”, we mean:

  • Maximum 5-10 minutes video per lesson.
  • Not more than 4-6 paragraphs of written content.
  • Maximum 2-3 minutes worth of infographics per section.

The training program should be delivered in bite-sized pieces, using microlearning to ensure people stay engaged and interested. Overwhelming learners with too much content is a recipe for a failed training initiative.

3. Use Interactive Videos And Creative Images

Do you know the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text? Most likely faster than it would take Barry Allen, the Flash, to go around your hometown. Uhmm, yeah, something like that.

Let’s not also forget that videos have a higher retention rate than most other types of media material. This is because our brain loves to connect dots between scenes, especially when the video is in HD.

So, when creating your training modules, use pre-recorded videos instead of a dozen lines of textual blocks. Also, integrate infographics, art-rendered, and humor-filled graphics for sessions that require textual content.

4. Incorporate AR And VR

Augmented and Virtual reality technology has been gaining a lot of hype recently. In fact, over 171 million people already use VR in one way or another, far more than a couple of years ago. And that’s because of its application for various use cases, including enjoying an immersive online experience.

When it comes to building an engaging training program, you can do it better with AR and VR integration. For instance, employees can upgrade their customer onboarding skills faster by living in an immersive walkthrough environment created with VR technology. 

They can even interact with virtual structures to get a real feel or listen to the presenting coach as though it were live. The latter aspect fits perfectly for remote workers who can not attend physical sessions or are unable to flow with the traditional video conferencing training approach.

Of course, you might need to provide remote employee equipment, such as AR and VR kits, for employees. That’s a bit of a cost on your end, but it is worth the effort.

5. Allow Flexible Learning

69% of GenZs and 76% of Millennials prefer a flexible work option. But it’s not only work that can be flexible. Your training programs too, can.

In this era where flexibility holds the helm at workplaces, you must ensure your training program is not on the opposite pole. Your program should consider variability in optimum timings of learning and assimilation by each employee. 

For instance, some people learn to work faster and assimilate better early in the morning, some at night, while others are jack of all time (not trade). 

Another approach is to create a hybrid learning style which combines both traditional workplace learning and virtual training. That means employees can have short, one-off training sessions in a week while they spend the rest of their week taking virtual classes at a convenient time. This is effective for partly remote, partly office employees.

And if possible, you should add offline training materials for self-development. Your employees can go over these resources over the weekend in their free time or even during the weekdays in less busy times.

What matters is ensuring the training goes at a smooth pace that benefits your workers and keeps up with the expected completion time.

6. Create Training Cohorts

The process of upskilling and reskilling is strenuous and can be tiring sometimes. Talk about the lack of drive or motivation, having to refresh your brain with new information, and adapting to new curricula.

When the stress level builds up, your employees might want to breeze through the course as soon as possible. And that will only leave them with a fraction of the training’s value. A total waste of effort and resources.

To ensure that doesn’t happen, create a training cohort. Cohorts are groups with similar goals coming together to interact, collaborate on tasks, and achieve certain time-bound deadlines. 

In the case of your training program, it includes a group of employees who have similar deficiencies and a need for upgrade. 

For instance, two employees want to reskill in sales prospecting, four need to learn sales-closing skills, and three need to improve their client onboarding skills. Group them together based on these needs and provide a platform for each cohort to interact.

When person A slacks off, others will serve as a source of motivation and ooze that “vibe” necessary to continue. The cycle continues, helping your employees enjoy the whole moment without feeling like they’re back to college.

Of course, you might need to ask each employee if they’d like to join a cohort. The reason is because cohort-based training can reduce learning flexibility since everyone involved is deadline-bound and technically committed to the same pace of growth.

Person A needs to keep up with the rest of the group, and that can be tiring, leading to a counterproductive result. Remember that over 58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace.

7. Integrate On-The-Job Training And Live Coaching

Your choice of delivery for the program also affects its levels of engagement.

An on-the-job training program is more effective if you’re introducing a new technology into your workflow. This grants your employees practical exposure, allowing them to combine theories with real-life actions. And that explains why 68% of employees prefer learning on the job.

A perfect scenario is if you just got a new AI-powered marketing automation tool that handles everything from content to strategy creation. For a team that initially handled everything mundanely, adapting to this tool will definitely take a lot of work. Providing video modules won’t help much, either.

Instead, they should be granted access to the software and let an experienced tutor guide them through practical examples.

The same approach works for training customer support teams, sales members, and remote roles like virtual assistants.

Another helpful tip is to incorporate live virtual coaching sessions in addition to the pre-recorded video materials and audios. This creates an interactive environment where employees can ask questions and get their answers immediately.

8. Employ Gamification For Maximum Participation

We all love rewards. In fact, our brain is configured to do better when rewarded. And that’s why gamification is essential for every success-oriented training program. 

Some gamification tools, like myQuest, help you create a healthy but competitive environment that encourages each employee to do their best at learning. This is usually done through a point system where each action during the program is awarded some points. 

For instance, when an employee completes a module of the training program, they earn X number of points. Other tasks like submitting the required assignment give them another amount. The total points can then be used to unlock consecutive training modules or even tangible monetary rewards if the company makes a budget for it.

You can also create a public dashboard to display top employees by the number of points they’ve accrued. This encourages the active participants and motivates those who are lagging behind to put in more effort. 

9. Incorporate Engaging Assessments 

Most people dread assessments. Maybe because it reminds us of high school algebra calculations or because we just don’t like to be tested. However, it is an effective way for employees to gauge their progress and decide if they’re ready for the next step.

As a rule of thumb, each short module should have a brief assessment, usually four to five questions. Some questions might be as much as ten, depending on the context. Anything beyond that is excessive and usually comes off as overwhelming.

To make each assessment engaging, don’t just be theoretical; add case scenarios. 

Let’s say your in-house tech developer is upgrading his/her Python programming skills. Bring practical case scenarios or questions requiring writing one or two lines of code. 

Let your salesperson get on a call with an imaginary or AI-generated client. Connect your customer support lead with a feigned customer. Don’t wait until they return to the office before handling practical but real-life situations.

10. Collect Feedback And Improve

Most employee training programs are flawed due to various reasons such as employee-program incompatibility, limited resources, lack of active participation, ineffective instructional approach.  It’s okay, we’re not expecting you to be 100% right away. 

Once you’ve rolled out your first training program, collect employee feedback at the early, middle, and late stages. Waiting for employees to finish everything before asking for their thoughts is not advisable as they are most likely going to forget the minor errors encountered and possible suggestions for improvement.

You should also ask for their feedback after completing the program.

  • How satisfied are you with the training program overall?
  • Did the training content align with your job responsibilities?
  • What new skills or knowledge did you gain?
  • How do you plan to apply what you learned in your work?
  • Were the training methods effective for your learning?
  • Any suggestions for future training programs or improvements?

Then combine their feedback with visible performance reports at work to produce a more impactful training program.


One of the best ways to build a goal-oriented team is by training the employees you already have instead of sourcing for new talents. That’s cost-effective. Moreover, you won’t have to spend unnecessary time onboarding. With so many benefits at hand, you must ensure your training program exceeds the engagement benchmark.

For a quick recap, evaluate your employees’ skill gap and see what they need to learn or improve on. Break your training into short modules to allow flexible learning. You can also create training cohorts and integrate gamification to encourage active participation.

Other steps include using interactive media, adding practical assessments, and incorporating AR/VR technology for immersive learning. Lastly, collect feedback and improve subsequent programs.

Book a call with us for support in engaging and developing your team effectively!

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