HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Role-Specific Training
Creating a training program to serve all employees regardless of role is like throwing glitter at fly paper. Some will stick, some will be swept up and the rest you’ll be cleaning up for months. If you want to avoid finding glitter in strange places the rest of your career, role-specific is the perfect place to start.

What Is Role-Specific Training?

Role-specific training is a training plan geared specifically toward equipping an employee with the resources and skills needed for a specific position. While general training certainly has its place, an employee needs to be equipped with relevant, applicable information specific to their role responsibilities to reach their full potential.
48% of employees say training opportunities were a factor in choosing their current job
Learning and Development Statistics

Why Is Role-Specific Training Beneficial?

A comprehensive training program will include the logistics surrounding a role’s responsibilities. This is where role-specific training comes in.
  • Direct and personalized. This type of training equips the employee with the core knowledge and skills that pertain directly to the role they will be filling.
  • Saves time and money. When building a broad training, extensive research must be done to find topics that pertain to multiple positions. This not only takes extensive time and labor costs, but the training can become overwhelming and less efficient.
  • Avoids over-training. More traditional, broad training programs can unintentionally overload new employees with information that might not even be relevant to their new role. This can make it harder for the employee to pick out and retain information that pertains to them.
  • Improves learning curve. Additionally, role-specific training can be geared towards an individual’s learning style and personality which can help with retention. This contributes to a sharper and more efficient learning curve.
83% of HR managers believe training is beneficial to attracting talent
Learning and Development Statistics

Tips for Role-Specific Training

Once a new hire’s role responsibilities are defined, a specific training program can be developed. Here’s what to keep in mind.

Tip 1: Customize

There is no one-size-fits-all training method. Utilize many different methods to best suit your new hire. By using a combination of interactive learning strategies, the learner can pick up and immediately apply the information in practical ways which helps increase retention.

Tip 2: Keep it Practical

With role-specific training, provide the most applicable understanding of regularly needed skills to take on this new role. Avoid including information that does not directly apply to the specific position the new hire will be filling.

Tip 3: Invest Now (So You Don’t Have to Later)

Put aside plenty of time, ensure the material is interactive and customize the training program to best fit the new hire. This may seem like overkill, but don’t be fooled. Investing in your new hire right off the bat improves retention rates and employee engagement. Putting your best foot forward with every new employee sends the message that they are valued by the company and sets the expectations for the rest of their employment.

How to Implement Role-Specific Training

Preparation is the key to implementation. Know who to involve and when. Here are some steps to take:

Step 1: Know Your Learner

In order to make this training the most efficient, understanding your new hire’s learning style is an excellent place to start. Understanding your learning style can be challenging, so it may be wise to assign a learning style assessment to your new employee prior to their first day. Having this information on hand makes designing the training program much more intuitive as the methods and activities will hinge upon what is deemed most effective for the learner.

Step 2: Design the Learning Program and Involve Management

Depending on the position being filled, invite applicable management and team members to help design the learning program. Together, compile a list of responsibilities this new role will cover. Get specific. Invite anyone with an understanding of these processes to help break down the responsibilities. Select which employees will be involved in training the new hire directly. When completing this step, keep the new hire’s learning style in mind and encourage others to do the same. When all is said and done, the ultimate goal is to make the training most conducive to your learner’s retention. Therefore, select learning-style specific methods to incorporate the way the new hire learns.

Step 3: Set the Schedule

In collaboration with your training team and new hire, brainstorm what a realistic learning timeline would look like. Take into account the learning curve, amount of information being presented, time to apply knowledge, and lots of breaks.

Step 4: Follow Through and Follow Up

Follow through with the predetermined training schedule. Set follow-up times with your new hire to check in on their progress and adjust the timeline as needed. This is when your new hire will be able to vocalize any concerns they have regarding the responsibilities, training methods, etc.

Examples of Role-Specific Training Activities

The goal of role-specific training is to provide information applicable to a position. This opens the doors to different methods that are easily digestible to the learner. Some common methods include:


Role-playing learning strategy entails participants acting out fictitious scenarios they might encounter on the job. These scenarios are realistic enough to help equip the learner with the skills and thinking needed to confront similar situations on the job. For example, participants may act out an interaction between a customer and an employee. These roles are interchangeable. The trainer may be the customer in one instance and the employee in the next. This allows them to cover difficult scenarios from every angle.


Shadowing is when the new hire is assigned to follow another employee on the job and observe as they perform their duties as normal. The new hire is encouraged to ask questions about their processes and take notes.

Supervised Application (On-the-Job Training)

Supervised application is the opposite of shadowing, when the experienced staff member acts as the new hire's shadow as the new hire completes tasks without step-by-step instruction. The employee of tenure is close enough to prevent any detrimental errors from occuring, step in when needed and answer any clarifying questions the trainee may come across. An example of this would be a new employee running a cash register for the first time while being closely watched by a trusted cashier.

Classroom Training

If you have multiple employees filling the same role, you can still implement role-specific learning strategies in a group setting. The key is to keep it succinct, applicable, and interactive.
Kayla Farber

Kayla Farber

Kayla is the Chief Innovation Officer at Hero Culture, where the passion is to create company cultures of retention using the power of personality.
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Frequently asked questions
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