How to Make Sure Employee Training Works

boss training employees

In the quest to make training more meaningful, researchers (Tews & Tracey, 2008) evaluated how supplemental training materials affected employee progress. Supplemental training materials are those given out after the usual training session is complete. 


Managers learning interpersonal skills were put into one of four quasi-experimental groups. While some received no follow-up to the standard training session, others were given upward feedback (i.e. notes from their subordinates on their progress), a workbook of self-coaching follow-up activities, or both.

Results demonstrated that participants in the follow-up groups showed more progress with the training. Also, having both supplemental materials was better than having just self-coaching materials, although those with both or with just feedback had the same level of performance. 


This study is pretty good news for trainers, as it shows that there are scientifically-backed ways to make a training message stick a little longer. It means some extra work past training time, but it may benefit organizations to keep an eye on the progress of trainees, giving feedback, and providing supplements aimed at helping them achieve their goals.

Tews, M. J., & Tracey, J. B. (2008) An empirical examination of posttraining on-the-job supplements for enhancing the effectiveness of interpersonal skills training. Personnel Psychology, 61, 375-401.