Why Training Matters

Employee training is critical to the success of your journal. The continued training and development of your team can ensure not only success for your journal, but the development of your team’s skills. Because your team needs guidance, it’s important for you to know what you want your team to know and why. But you also want to make sure that you’re open to the possibility of ensuring that employee training is an ongoing process.

While you could just perform a simple training period—a sink or swim approach—and then keep “good employees” and get rid of “bad ones”, there are two critical issues with this approach. First, it’s an awful way of determining good and bad employees. Second, there aren’t really good and bad employees (more on this later though).

How to train employees

Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to training. And training every employee in a different way can be extremely costly (both in regards to time and money). But this doesn’t mean you can’t make exceptions and have approaches that incorporate more than one style. Some companies still use traditional classroom approaches. While standing at the front of a group and delivering a PowerPoint presentation has a time and a place, training in this way might feel stilted. Employees might be afraid to ask important questions for fear of being embarrassed. It also might not be a great method to engage with your team on a personal level. Much like running a journal, there are different approaches that you can take to training your team.

The first thing to do is to understand what it is that you want your team to learn. Generally speaking, having some sort of reference manual is a good idea. In this day and age, we no longer need paper manuals, and having searchable guides can help and answer most basic questions. But there are a lot of different approaches that one could take to training. Here are a few examples:

  1. Online courses and tests;
  2. Training periods;
  3. Mentoring/mirroring;
  4. Email/PowerPoint training
  5. Personalized training.

Each of these methods can be useful, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are useful in all cases. Knowing when and where to apply different methods can make your training programs very effective.

Online courses and tests

This is a very common method of training your team. Employees create an account in a system, watch a series of training videos and participate in activities, and then complete a test at the end to demonstrate that they’ve learned the materials. These tests often have a high requirements for passing, but because of the format, can also be done with notes, helping to increase the pass rate.

One of the major benefits of this form of training, is that it can be done without any required supervision. These also often result in high information retention for the staff. Further to this, additional courses can be added to the list as necessary, and you can ensure that your team is constantly up to date on anything they need to know.

Training periods

Granted, this is less of a “training method” and more of a general position that most companies have. Sometimes these are called probationary periods (a term that many people dislike), but the intention is the same. It’s a period of time, often between 3 and 6 months, where employees are considered to be “new”. During this period of time, employees have less protections and can be dismissed more easily. Some companies might take the approach that this period of time is for training employees. But there are others that believe that training should be ongoing. Depending on your journal’s approach to training staff, you might want to simply avoid using the term “training period” or “probationary period” and simply treat training as part of the job as a whole.

Critically, however, this period of time can help you to determine how well a new employee learns best and handles criticism.


Training using a mentoring or mirroring approach is a very highly engaging form of training that increases knowledge retention. This relies less on textbooks, and more on your existing staff’s expertise. It’s also more dynamic as no two employees will train in the same way. This can be both good and bad. If one trainer is ignoring critical items, this can result in a poorly trained employee (by no fault of their own).

When using a mentoring approach, where the new employee can see how the experienced employee tackles the job, it’s important to make sure that there is a list of priorities to teach. For example, you might need to ensure an employee knows all the steps of the peer review process. How to tackle the individual steps might not be as important as knowing them all. Make sure that the expectations for your mentors is clear so that they know what to do.

Email/PowerPoint training

While above we’ve said that this is an older style of training (and it is), there is a time and a place for this sort of method. Usually, it’s most suitable for amendments that are made to the way things are generally done. It’s not usually worth setting up programs and tests for minor changes to processes. In these cases, it can be much easier to gather 50 employees together for a quick 15-20-minute training session than it is to individually train people. However, this form of training is very impersonal. It can also be challenging to ensure that a large group remains focused on important information, especially in large groups.

Personalized training

While debatably the most costly form of training, it almost certainly is the best way to train staff. With personalized methods, you start the education process by asking staff members how they learn best. Then you provide materials to cater to their learning styles. These sorts of personalized approaches often result in a more effective learning period. Staff generally has a greater retention of knowledge, and they require less follow-ups. The primary issue here is that there is a significant investment of time and money into the training period.

There is a strong case to make that investing in your employees is a good way to grow your business, so it’s important to consider what you want to accomplish.

Simplifying the process with a journal management system

The complexity of any kind of training program often depends on the complexity of what needs to be taught. If you have complex processes, the methods you need to teach might also be complicated. Sometimes, one of the best things to do for your bottom line is to make sure that you have tools that help to simplify your journal’s processes. By using a journal management system to make your workflows more efficient, you can ensure that you don’t need to invest significant amounts of time and money into training your staff for some parts of your business.

Knowing how these sorts of systems can simplify your workloads can be a great benefit. Because they can make crucial aspects of your journal more effective, they can be excellent tools to add to your business.

Problematic employees

Unfortunately, not all employees will be matches for your company. There are any number of possible reasons why, but it’s important to understand that this is not always the employee’s fault (and it’s not yours). Sometimes things just don’t work out. In these cases, it’s important to still make the effort to train your staff, but it is also why the training period is critical. Usually, you can tell quite quickly if employees will not be a good match for your company.

Making sure that you take advantage of the training period to find the best staff for your journal can help propel your journal into success.

D.J. McPhee
24 April 2024Posted inTeam Management
Post authorD.J. McPhee