Types of employee training
Training & Learning

7 Types Of Employee Training, and When to Implement Each

Employee training is a must at any organization. But employee training is often viewed as a necessary evil—something dreaded by employees and mandated by employers. Even worse, a lot of training misses the mark. In fact, 70% of employees feel they don’t have the right skills for the job, and our recent survey found employers still have many blind spots when it comes to L&D training. This doesn’t have to be the case.

employee engagement survey

We surveyed 600 learners. This is what they said.


There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to training. There are numerous types of employee training, each one suited for different situations. Using the right type of employee training at the right time can result in a more engaging, effective learning process for your team and better overall business outcomes.

1. Leadership training

Leadership training is a type of soft skill training that focuses on interpersonal abilities, but with an emphasis on leadership qualities and skills that directly influence leading others. Leadership training, and manager training, are often overlooked, but have a trickle-down effect: A bad manager often results in a bad experience for everyone.

Leadership training typically builds on foundational skills, helping employees hone communication skills, project management, strategy, and, of course, leadership itself. Leadership training may also build on other types of skills, like crisis management, or any kind of technical knowledge required to use management-specific software or tools.

It’s worth pointing out that leadership training isn’t a replacement for career coaching, but can be supplemented by this valuable type of ongoing training. Career coaching helps employees get the most out of their time as working professionals, regardless of role or aspirations. If someone’s interested in leadership, coaching can definitely play a role in guiding them to that role.

When to implement leadership training

Because leadership training typically builds on foundational skills, it’s best to offer this training to employees who are on track to become a manager, or those recently promoted into a leadership position.

If you’re regularly conducting one-on-ones with your team, ask them about their career goals. If anyone’s interested in a leadership position, it’s a good idea to meet with the rest of the leadership team and discuss whether leadership training is right for that person at this time.

2. Compliance training

Compliance training is any kind of training every employee must undergo. This kind of training can range from safety to security to technical and beyond.

Compliance training should cover anything your employees must know, either for legal reasons or to ensure the company runs efficiently. This means compliance training can vary a great deal from company to company. (A restaurant will have drastically different compliance training than a tech startup.)

Often, compliance training not only covers responsibilities directly tied to the job, but additional matters like safety and security. For example, anything that pertains to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines needs to be covered in compliance training for legal reasons. If your company has specific rules around locking up the office at night, using certain printers, and so on, that should be covered in compliance as well.

If you’re unsure what to cover in compliance training, speak with your employees and ask about their biggest struggles and what information they wish they had sooner. Anything repeatedly brought up is likely compliance training material.

When to implement compliance training

You should roll out compliance training any time core tools are updated, new harassment policies are put into place, security measures change, and so on. If new information or responsibilities impact your company’s ability to function, both efficiently and legally, it’s time for compliance training—plain and simple.

3. Onboarding training

Onboarding training covers any topics essential to starting out at your company. While similar to compliance training, onboarding training is specifically tailored around the new employee experience.

Onboarding training should cover the essentials all new employees need to know: introductions to tools or software, communication practices, support resources, who to contact about particular issues, and so on. If a piece of knowledge or a tool is necessary for an employee’s first days and weeks at your company, it’s onboarding training material.

While onboarding training needs to cover essential info, it’s important this type of employee training isn’t overwhelming. Cover only what employees need to know to get started, then map out the rest of their learning experience. Too much information at once could lead to employee panic and drive away new talent.

Lastly, onboarding training needs to include resources that your employees may refer to later as needed. Consider creating a company wiki or something similar to keep internal information handy.

When to implement onboarding training

Onboarding training should only be implemented during the onboarding of new employees. As soon as employees start with your company, have onboarding training ready to go. The training should walk them through only what they need to know during their early weeks, adding more information as time goes on.

4. Technical training

Technical training focuses on the use of any technology or tools at a company. If a position requires certain software or use of a particular printing device, technical training should cover that.

Technical training can vary in length depending on the tool or software covered. In some cases, technical training can be a quick, one-time course or presentation. But, it’s also possible technical training is much longer and more involved.

When to implement technical training

Technical training isn’t always mandatory, as some positions may require minimal or no knowledge of company tools. So, it’s possible that not everyone at your company will need technical training. Like onboarding training, you want to avoid overwhelming employees. If technical training isn’t required for a role, don’t impose it.

Technical training should be revisited yearly to ensure your team isn’t forgetting any valuable information. It’s also important you revisit this type of employee training whenever there’s an update to the tools or software. This would then fall under mandatory training.

5. Product training

Product training covers any products or services you offer, while briefly touching on the selling points of each. Product training is typically given to salespeople, customer service reps, and anyone working on the product team.

Product or service training teaches employees about the features of each product or service. Product training is different from technical training, as employees aren’t taught only how to use the product or tool. Instead, employees are taught about the unique selling proposition for each product or service offered by the company.

Product training generally covers the specifics of the product, like its many features, warranty, and commonly asked questions. The goal of product training is to ensure employees understand what their company offers, both for internal and customer-facing purposes. This type of employee training isn’t a direct replacement for sales training, as the emphasis isn’t about selling the product.

When to implement product training

Product training should be implemented for any employees who interact with your products or services, or those in customer-facing roles. If someone’s going to assist customers in their role, product training is especially important. In the event someone will work with customers, product training should be a part of onboarding training for that role.

If an employee won’t interact with customers in their role, product training could potentially be left for after onboarding. Again, this depends on whether product knowledge is required for them to do their job.

6. Sales training

Sales training is similar to product training, but goes a step further and emphasizes the selling points rather than the granular product details.

Unlike product training, sales training focuses on how employees can effectively advocate for the product, navigate difficult customer questions, and promote unique features. Ultimately, sales training should equip your team with the knowledge they need to actively market and sell the product.

Sales training often utilizes role-playing to help employees see firsthand how they can sell the products or services. This involves employees pretending to be salespeople engaged with customers, going back and forth with questions and answers.

When to implement sales training

Sales training should be incorporated into onboarding training for salespeople, as it’s essential for them to do their jobs. If an employee won’t regularly interact with customers in their role but could benefit from this type of employee training, you might be safe saving the training for after the onboarding process.

7. Anti-bias and diversity training

Anti-bias and diversity training teaches employees how to respectfully work with and around people from various backgrounds. Anti-bias and diversity training is a type of soft skill, but is nuanced enough to fall under its own category.

Anti-bias and diversity training helps employees understand the many backgrounds people come from and how to be respectful. For example, anti-bias and diversity training might cover how to advocate for those around you, how to report workplace harassment or be an ally, and how to react if you witness any kind of discrimination taking place.

Anti-bias and diversity training often uses scenarios to show how certain phrases can be offensive to people of different backgrounds, then how those situations could have been handled better. Anti-bias and diversity training should also present employees with interactive quizzes to ensure they’re learning the material, as this type of training is essential to creating a safe, healthy workspace for all people.

When to implement anti-bias and diversity training

Anti-bias and diversity training is essential and should be incorporated in onboarding training, and made mandatory when new trainings are rolled out. Your company will likely have numerous types of employee training that fall under this category, especially as different situations arise in both the workplace and the world.

The right platform for the right types of employee training

Knowing which type of employee training to use and when is important to creating a culture of growth and positive morale. But the right learning platform is also important.

With 360Learning, you can adapt to your growing and changing workforce by quickly offering the right training for the right people. This can lead to a more educated, engaged workforce that feels properly equipped for their job. Your employees don’t have to be a part of the 70% who feel they lack the right skills.

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