Group Training

Tanner Pierce, PHR
Every company needs to train their employees, and no one wants to waste time and money delivering education ineffectively. This article is a guide to group training in the workplace when it is appropriate, and the best way to go about it.

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What Is Group Training?

Group training is the instruction that takes place in groups of people—typically five or more. It may be for groups of new hires, or for large groups of employees who perform the same job duties, or for compliance training (safety, harassment, etc.) of an entire workforce.

Should You Train Employees in Groups?

Whether or not you should train employees in groups depends on many factors. Here are a few pros and cons of group training.

Advantages of Group Training

Some of the advantages of group training include standardized training, cost-effectiveness, and ease of tracking progress.

  • Standardized training. One of the biggest advantages of group training is that you can make your training consistent: each employee is getting the same training. Additionally, you can approve the training outline the instructor will follow and be certain of its accuracy and thoroughness.
  • Cost-effectiveness. Instead of spending more time and money by training each employee individually, group training allows you to train multiple employees at a time. This can be very beneficial for companies that constantly hire new employees or train frequently.
  • Tracking progress. Standardized training also means you can have automated metrics in place to track employees’ progress. You can monitor the entire group’s progress at the same time, as opposed to needing to check on each employee.

The Disadvantages of Group Training

It’s also important to be aware of the disadvantages that come with group training. Some of those disadvantages include impersonality, ineffective learning, and less interaction.

  • Impersonality. Every employee has different needs, and different people learn differently. Standardized training is efficient, but it cannot deliver information designed for individual learners. An employee may feel like the training is not for them, or they may not learn something the way it is taught. This lack of personal attention decreases the effectiveness of group training.
  • Ineffective learning. Group settings can decrease the quality of training. Employees may be less likely to ask clarifying questions. They may fall into the trap of groupthink instead of thinking critically about the topic.
  • Less interaction. Some employees thrive in a group setting, as they are more willing to talk and share with others. However, others are prone to less interaction and learn better in one-to-one environments.

What Kinds of Things Are Best Learned in a Group Setting?

Training that is easily standardized is best for group settings. This could include safety training, sexual harassment training, or training new employees for jobs that are rigid in processes and responsibilities, such as a customer service rep in a call center.

How to Organize a Group Training

Prior to starting a group training, be sure you have a clear outline. You need clarity on what, who, and how often you will be training.

Step 1: Prepare the Training

Once you know your topic and target audience, you need to decide the most effective way to train. Consider the needs of the employees you are training, and decide how you can gear the training towards them as much as possible. After that, create training content.

Step 2: Schedule

How long will it take to effectively cover the material? Is it best covered in one section or broken into segments?  Where will you be training the new employees, and what does the space need to offer in terms of equipment or internet access?

Step 3: Invite and Train

People learn best if they are comfortable and unstressed. Inviting employees in a positive tone, offering refreshments, rewarding attendance with giveaways or raffles, and other acts of hospitality make training more palatable.

Step 4: Evaluation

The last step is to evaluate and review for effectiveness. Follow up with employees to see if the training was useful and how it could be improved. This can be done through a follow-up survey or in person. Check with managers to see if the knowledge or skills gained are evident in work, or test for comprehension. Apply this information to improve future trainings.

Other Tips for Leading an Engaging Group Training

Leading a group can be daunting. Consider ways to engage the group and guarantee they get the most out of it.

Be Real

As the leader of the training, be authentic and show the employees you have a genuine interest in the training and in their learning. Employees will be able to see if you care about the training topic or not.

Engage the Employees

This seems like a simple tip, but in order to lead an engaging group training, you need to engage with the group! Encourage as much participation as possible. Talk with the group, not just to them. One way to be engaging is to use different activities to appeal to different learning styles. Rather than only delivering content through lecture, include discussion, video, and written content. Use large group, small group, or partner activities as well as individual reflection time.

Have Fun

Training can be something that people don’t look forward to, where they only show up because they have to. This can include the trainer of the group. The best way to lead an engaging group training is to have fun yourself. You can make it enjoyable while still being professional and presenting the information in the best way possible. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new things in order to bring more energy to the group. This can happen through icebreakers, quizzes, funny videos, etc.

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Questions You’ve Asked Us About Group Training

How long should a group training be?
Length varies depending on the training topic. No one should sit in a meeting for longer than an hour. If more time is needed for training, make sure there are breaks every hour or so, or spread the training out to shorter segments on multiple days.
What is an example of group training?
One example of group training is when new call-center employees are put into groups to learn the training material prior to being put on the call center floor to work on their own.
Tanner Pierce, PHR

Tanner has over 4 years of HR professional experience in various fields of HR. He has experience in hiring, recruiting, employment law, unemployment, onboarding, outboarding, and training to name a few. Most of his experience comes from working in the Professional Employer and Staffing Industries. He has a passion for putting people in the best position to succeed and really tries to understand the different backgrounds people come from.

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