One of the great advantages of training as a tool for motivating employees is that it creates multiple benefits for both employee and employer. In addition to the employee feeling more engaged and thus more motivated, that employee also gains new skills. At the same time, the employer benefits not just from a more motivated employee but also from one who is now better equipped to perform their duties.

However, in order to be truly effective as a motivational tool, training must be done right. Here are five tips to ensure that training results in employees that have enhanced skills as well as being more motivated.

Contextualize your staff’s work

Depending on the type of work employees do, some may feel as though their day-to-day duties are far removed from the overall mission statement of the company. An employee may feel unimportant as an individual and that the job could be done by anyone. Training presents an opportunity to demonstrate each employee’s value and to show where their good work is of benefit to the company overall.

Use training to improve workflow

Most people who have been in the workforce long enough have had the experience of integrating new systems or ways of doing things that actually impeded productivity. While all new processes present a learning curve and may temporarily make employees less efficient, the ultimate aim of training should be to improve workflow. Managers who keep open communication with employees will have a good sense of where workflow could be improved and how training can help with this.

Identify employee strengths

Training can be a terrific opportunity for an employee whose manager has identified specific skills that can be enhanced. For example, an employee who is particularly good at written communication or with numbers might be given the opportunity to develop those skills further in training. The corollary to this is that employees should be offered training that is interesting and relevant to their work.

Strengthening employee bonds

Training that includes components in which employees work together to problem solve and develop solutions can strengthen bonds between employees more effectively than bonding exercises designed exclusively to promote team-building because the training has a bigger real world component to it.

Employees can work on a common goal during training that will have a positive effect on their day-to-day work life, and they may return to their daily routine with a new appreciation for their colleagues’ strengths and contributions.

Enhance long-term career development

Employers can demonstrate their commitment to employees and enhance employee motivation by showing that they care about employees’ careers over the long term. This type of development can be approached by working with employees to map out their goals and work on training that can help them achieve these goals.

This may range from short-term training sessions during the workday to paying for an employee’s formal education such as masters’ degrees in engineering or business.

One key to using training effectively is good communication between employees and their managers. A manager who understands employees’ frustrations, strengths and longer-term goals can better assist in identifying the type of training that will motivate employees.

Employees who have the opportunity to pursue training that teaches them skills that are useful at work in the short and the long term will be more engaged and have a greater sense of loyalty toward their employer.