Common Methods Used to Develop Employees’ Skills

Employee skills development can be implemented in different ways by both employees and companies. The main aim is to improve a wide range of employee capabilities such as flexibility, organizational skills, creativity, communication, and leadership.


There are many methods and ways of developing employees’ skills, but of course, some will be more effective than others. There are some methods that are more effective than others and these are:


This strategy develops employee skills through a combination of lectures, practical exercises, videos, podcasts, simulations and individual/group projects.

It includes both formal (classroom, tutor-led, e-learning courses) and informal (self-learning, watching YouTube videos, studying educational blogs and posts on peer-group sites such as LinkedIn or chat rooms) approaches to skills development. Instructor-led training may be the best option for learning the detailed process.

Many recruiters offer training and development programs for both employers and employees. Many companies hire these recruitment agencies and outsource the training programs.

Each choice will be tailored to the organization’s requirements and the specific topic.

For example, hands-on training with an instructor may be ideal for teaching a detailed procedure or skill, such as a complex production process or the preparation of a restaurant’s signature dish. These very specific tasks cannot be taught through YouTube or studios, which can serve basic topics such as building codes or IT support problems.


Staff can voluntarily rotate roles with colleagues on a shift or in a team to use their new skills. Employers can also encourage job rotation as a way for employees who have expressed an interest in gaining practical experience to learn new skills.

The idea is to change roles and responsibilities so that everyone can learn something new or put what they have already learned into practice.


When discussing different strategies for developing employees and their benefits, we cannot overemphasize the need for coaching to improve people’s capabilities.

In this skills development approach, senior staff often work individually with less experienced staff. This can accelerate the employee’s understanding of different topics, but bear in mind that this approach can be time-consuming (consuming the resources of experienced/valuable staff) and can lead to cloned knowledge of a topic – as opposed to the employee learning a topic on their own or with input from a diverse group of colleagues and mentors.


Senior managers/leadership take lower-level employees under their wing to help them develop essential skills that the mentored employee may lack.

More formal mentoring programs are often used in the workplaces of senior managers/leaders, although less formal systems may be used for younger managers.

Consider the time resources, as well as the even smaller funnel provided by an individual teaching style, as would be the case with coaching.


These are approaches that allow employees to connect with colleagues and peers both inside and outside the company.

The advantage is that you have a lot of access to both similar (internal) and different (external) colleagues.

This diverse set of perspectives and knowledge can help to generate new ideas, troubleshoot problems, and share best practices. It is great for improving communication and collaboration but can be used for everything.


Simulations are becoming increasingly popular because they are fun and effective.

Simulations can be as simple as role-playing customer service contacts, for example learning how to fend off a disgruntled and hostile customer face-to-face, or as complex as responding to an emergency crisis, for example, simulating first aid scenarios.

At the most advanced level, simulations can involve entirely virtual worlds, such as firefighting or flight training, where staff can learn the necessary skills in a non-threatening environment.

This is very useful for bringing conceptual or textbook information into the real world, providing the knowledge as well as the interaction and convenience for the staff member to perform such duties.


Conferences, like workshops and committees, are an excellent method for networking and learning about a diverse knowledge base in both interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary fields.

Special sessions are usually organized to raise awareness and provide training on relevant issues, often picking and choosing what might be of interest/use to particular sub-groups within the organization.


On-the-job training is often a fantastic way for staff who have received basic training in technical skills (be it operating new equipment or learning new methods of financial analysis).

It is essentially, learning by doing and is usually done immediately after the briefing. On-the-job training is primarily aimed at providing everything the employee needs to learn on the job. By performing certain tasks, employees learn how to use something or apply approaches.

This is a common method of employee development as most companies do not have the time to teach every employee every skill, especially if the skill does not require specific/advanced knowledge.


This can be done in a variety of ways outside working hours, e.g. reading/research, attending classes, etc.

It is not necessarily about the skills that the company needs, but rather about something new that they think will help them perform better.

Although self-learning time is not directly rewarded, if an employee purchases a course that could improve their performance, the company should reimburse them by paying for the course.

The advantage is that the employee can choose what interests him and learn it himself. On the other hand, it is sometimes difficult to motivate employees to devote time outside work to work-related activities.


Although this strategy is often considered “employer-driven” – where HR decides which employee will take which position – it is not!

Employees can also start career planning meetings with their managers/supervisors, suggesting future/alternative career choices.

Employers can identify current capabilities that need to be improved across the organization, or anticipated new skills that the business needs to acquire, based on a study of business objectives and an assessment of the organization’s workforce.