“One size fits all” does not apply to employee training. Just as different generations have different learning strengths and challenges, each industry has unique needs for employee training. Our team wanted to find out if any particular training method works best in a given industry. We chose some of the biggest industries in the United States, analyzed their challenges and needs, and devised the best training format for each.
(Note: Unless otherwise specified or sourced, all statistics reflect 2017 data)
Manufacturing (All Sectors)
Percentage of the GDP: 12% ($1.73 trillion)
Total employment: 4.74 million individuals
Industry Challenges: Skilled labor shortage, technological advances, international competition, fluctuating safety regulations
Training Solutions: Mentorship is invaluable to skilled labor–that’s why apprenticeships have remained such a fundamental part of this trade. Begin training sessions with a facilitator in a classroom or on the job, then transition to learner-led practical applications of the lessons. Have veteran workers lead small groups of their newer coworkers. Safety and compliance training should be presented in a flexible format, given that these regulations can change quickly. Augmenting face-to-face training with eLearning materials might be the way to go.
Percentage of the GDP: 5% ($658 billion)
Total employment: 12% of total employment in the United States
Industry Challenges: Employee stress levels, changes in insurance and payments, reporting requirements, aging customer demographics, shortage of clinicians for some specialties
Training Solutions: Healthcare is an ever-evolving industry notorious for high rates of employee stress. People who work in healthcare, especially those who are directly involved in patient care, have neither the time nor the energy for long training sessions. Mobile learning might be a great option for busy healthcare providers. The convenience offered by mobile learning is unparalleled. These hard-working caregivers won’t have to stay late after their shifts to complete training materials; they can work on their training modules at their convenience at home or during a break. The key with training for healthcare is giving the learners freedom and access. Let them work on the modules at their own pace, or risk burnout.
Retail and Wholesale Trade
Percentage of the GDP: 12% ($1.75 trillion)
Total employment: 20.7 million individuals (Retail alone accounts for 10% of the total employment in the United States)
Industry Challenges: High employee turnover, public perception of industry as a job instead of a career, changing trade regulations and agreements
Training Solutions: It’s a simple fact: few people choose to work in retail as their permanent careers. There are a myriad of reasons for this (low pay, difficult customers, limited opportunities for promotion), but training professionals can only address the symptoms rather than the root problems. The key for training pros who work with retail employees is to deal with the current issue and streamline the onboarding process. Retail trainers need to develop easily understood training materials that can impart the basics of the job in as little time as possible.
Finance and Insurance
Percentage of the GDP: 8% ($1.159 trillion)
Total employment: 6.15 million individuals
Industry Challenges: An aging workforce, increased corporate consolidation, issues with public image, new federal regulations
Training Solutions: Onboarding and compliance training will be key in this industry. The aging workforce will soon retire, but they’ll still need to understand changes in regulations before they do. This will mean tailoring some of your training materials for older learners. The older generations do best with instructor-led training and face-to-face training. As for the new crop of employees around the bend, trainers should focus on developing a thorough onboarding program that caters to the learning strengths of Millennials and Gen-Y individuals. This means embracing mobile learning solutions along with eLearning.
Percentage of the GDP: 4% ($646 billion)
Total employment: 2.7 million individuals
Industry Challenges: Cybersecurity and privacy issues, public image, continuous innovation, impact of artificial intelligence
Training Solutions: If any industry is ideal for eLearning, it should be information technology, right? Maybe. While eLearning solutions are great for the younger generation of workers in this field, they might also appreciate some human interaction. Face-to-face training could be perfect for shaking up the monotony of a working life spent in front of a computer screen.
In the end, we found that every industry is able to benefit from each type of training. The best trait for employee education professionals in any industry is flexibility. Your training methods should adapt to the individual needs of your learners. As we said in the beginning, one size does not fit all!