Benefits and Compensation

Training & Development Survey Results–How Do You Compare?

  • Top compliance training topics for employees are new hire orientation (79%), sexual harassment (75%), and discrimination (69%).
  • For professional development training for employees, job-related skills leads the list (73%), followed by communication (66%), customer service skills (59%), team building (49%), computer skills (46%), and time management (36%).

The survey also covered:

  • HR’s Role in Training
  • Harassment and Discrimination Training
  • Training Topics, Methods, and Products

Here are the detailed survey results. How does your organization measure up?


Compensation.BLR.com, now thoroughly revamped with easier navigation and more complete compensation information, will tell you what’s being paid right in your state—or even metropolitan area—for hundreds of jobs. Try it at no cost and get a complimentary special report. Read more.


HR’s Role in Training

HR wears multiple hats when it comes to implementing training programs. For example, HR evaluates training materials/options for 59% of our survey participants and purchases the materials for 47%. HR schedules training sessions (64%) and conducts the training (57%).

Additionally, HR not only fulfills supervisor/management requests for training (59%) but also helps supervisors provide individual training for employees as needed (51%). Of the survey participants who answered this question, however, 7% do not currently conduct training.

Other training duties handled by HR include:

  • Developing training materials
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of training
  • Maintaining training records
  • Supporting the training department

When asked who makes decisions about training, 70% of the participants in our survey indicate that it’s executive management. HR management is involved in making those decisions for 67%. In-house counsel is involved in the decision-making process for 8%, and training/development staff is involved for 39% of survey participants.

Harassment Training

Training in preventing workplace harassment is required by city or state law for 48%, with sexual harassment complaints leading the field as a problem or concern for 46% and gender harassment coming in next at 36%. Age and race/color harassment complaints tie as a concern for 31% each, and disability harassment complaints are a problem for 20%. National origin harassment complaints are an issue for 19%, and religious harassment complaints are a concern for 15%.

Though 18% of survey participants have no problems or concerns about harassment in their organizations, 11% have other types of harassment complaint problems that include:

  • Bullying
  • Education level/qualifications
  • Hostile work environment
  • Sexual preference
  • Socio-economic background
  • Weight

Discrimination Training

Training in preventing workplace discrimination is required by either city or state law for 35%. Age discrimination is a problem or concern for 41% of our survey participants, and gender discrimination is an issue for 36%. Race/color discrimination is a problem or concern for 38%, and disability discrimination complaints are a problem for 26%. National origin discrimination complaints are an issue for 20%, and religious discrimination complaints are a concern for 14%.

Twenty percent of survey participants have no issues regarding discrimination in their organizations, while 5% have other types of discrimination complaint problems that include:

  • Preferential treatment/favoritism
  • Socio-economic background
  • Transgender/sexual orientation

How Long Should a Training Session Be?

A half-hour is the preferred session length for legal compliance training of employees for 24% of survey participants and it’s 1 hour for 28%. At 10%, 2 hours of training is the third most selected, and 8% believe 45 minutes is the best length of time for training. All-day training is preferred by 4%, and another 4% prefer half-day sessions.

When Should Training Occur?

Compliance training is conducted when employees are first hired for 64% of survey participants and yearly for 45%. Monthly compliance training is the norm for 7%, and 55% conduct compliance training as needed. The “other” category for this question in our survey included:

  • Biannually
  • No training
  • Quarterly
  • When laws or regulations change

The picture is a little different when it comes to legal compliance training for supervisors. Sessions are conducted as needed for 60% of survey participants and yearly for 40%. Training is also conducted when supervisors are first hired or promoted for 36%. 

Compliance training for HR staff is conducted as needed for 63% of survey participants who answered this question and yearly for 16%. This training is conducted when new HR team members join the department for 8%. The “other” category for this question in our survey included:

  • Biannually
  • No training
  • Ongoing
  • When laws or regulations change

Training Topics

The leading topics for compliance training for employees are:

  • New hire orientation (79%)
  • Sexual harassment (75%)
  • Discrimination ( 69%)

Other compliance training topics for employees mentioned by survey participants include ADA compliance, code of conduct, confidentiality, diversity, HIPAA, security, wage/labor, workers’ compensation, and workplace violence.

The leading compliance topics for training supervisors are:

  • Discipline/documentation (75%)
  • Sexual harassment (74%)
  • Performance evaluations (70%)
  • Discrimination (68%)

Compliance topics for training HR staff were:

Sexual harassment

66%

Discipline

64%

Performance evaluations

62%.

Discrimination

61%

Documentation

61%

ADA

60%.

Employee handbooks

59%

Firing/termination

59%

Recruiting/hiring/interviewing

59%

Professional Development Training for Employees

Provided by 73%, job-related skills leads the list of professional development training for employees. Communication and customer service skills, at 66% and 59%, respectively, come in second and third in our survey. Team building (49%), computer skills (46%), and time management (36%) round out the field.

Other professional development training offered by survey participants includes:

  • Business/email etiquette
  • Change management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Cultural competence
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Ethics
  • Good manners and behavior
  • Leadership/supervision
  • Performance assessment/management
  • Presentation
  • Professional certification

Supervisor Training

Leadership/management is the professional development topic covered most (75%) when training supervisors, with communication and dealing with problem employees, both at 72%, following closely. Coming in next is team building at 58%, and mentoring/coaching is right on its heels at 57%. Employee retention and motivation is a must-have for 51%. Other professional training topics for supervisors include:

  • Change management
  • Conflict management
  • Critical thinking
  • Delegation
  • Decision making
  • Documentation
  • E-mail and teleconference etiquette
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Interviewing skills
  • Performance assessment/management
  • Problem solving
  • Strategic thinking and planning
  • Time management
  • Understanding your leadership style

Training HR Staff

The leading professional development topics for training HR staff are:

Job analysis/job descriptions

54%.

Compensation/benefits programs/practices

52%

Employee/labor relations

51%

Benefits selection/management

 47%.

Leadership

45%

Communication/presentation

45%.

Other professional development training topics for HR staff include:

  • Business writing
  • Finance and accounting for HR
  • HR audits
  • HR metrics
  • Organizational development
  • Risk management
  • Strategic planning
  • Succession planning
  • Talent management
  • Workforce planning

Training Methods

Our survey shows that the leading method (58%) for training employees is in-person presentations by HR departments, followed closely (53%) by in-person sessions presented by experts from outside the company. Outside conferences are effective for 38% of survey participants, and printed or online materials created in-house are effective for 36%. Purchased video-based or DVD-based materials (34%) and online training through an outside learning management systems (34%) are also effective methods.

The most effective methods for training supervisors differs only slightly from the methods for training employees, with in-person presentations by HR departments at 61% and in-person sessions presented by experts from outside the company at 55%. Outside conferences are effective for 34% of survey participants, and printed or online materials created in-house are effective for 28%. Purchased video-based or DVD-based materials are effective for 24%, and online training through learning management systems from outside vendors are effective methods for 27%.

The top three most effective training methods for HR staff are outside conferences or training by other organizations (53%), in-person presentations by experts from outside the company (46%), and in-person presentations by in-house HR department (40%).

Training Products and Services

It is difficult to find good training products/services for 42% of survey participants. Budget constraint is the problem for 79% of them, and finding qualified vendors is an issue for 31%.

Cost is the number one factor survey participants consider when evaluating training products/services. Quality of the materials is rated as the second factor. Time required for training and adaptability to participant needs are the third and fourth factors most considered.

The top three problems survey participants have encountered with the training materials/services they’ve purchased are cost (57%), can’t meet or adapt to specific needs (48%), and inability to hold employees’ attention.

The number one go-to source for packaged training courses and seminars is SHRM at 58%. Coming in second and third are HR.BLR.com (35%) and the U.S. Department of Labor (34%), respectively. Fourth and fifth are OSHA (31%) and state departments of labor (30%).

SHRM leads the field (58%) when it comes to finding tools and/or information to help survey participants develop training materials in-house. The U.S. Department of Labor comes in second at 41%, and state departments of labor come in at 32%. Rounding out the top five is OSHA at 31% and HR.BLR.com at 30%.

Participants in the Survey

Of the participants responding to our survey, 48% have a workforce that is one-fifth or less exempt employees. Another 32% have a workforce that is more than one-fifth but less than one-half exempt, and 20% have a workforce with more than one-half exempt employees. Unions represent employees at 24% of our survey participant employers.

Company size of respondent companies:

Up to 250 employees

64%

251 to 1,000 employees

26%

1,001 to 10,000 employees

17%

More than 10,000 employees

3%

Privately owned organizations are represented by 54% of survey participants and nonprofits account for 17%. Public corporations make up 11% and governments are represented by 11%.

Industries of responding companies include:

Manufacturing

15%

Health care and social assistance

13%

Finance and insurance

9%

Professional, technical, and scientific services

9%

Educational services

7%

Retail trade

3%. 

Job titles of 700 survey participants are:

HR VPs or above

8%

HR Directors

22%

HR Managers

25%

HR Generalists

 8%

HR Coordinators

7%

HR Specialists

4%

Other areas with HR responsibilities

26%

Other

30%

Thanks to all who participated in the survey!

Upcoming survey topics include:

  • Performance Management
  • Pay Budget
  • Policies
  • HR Department