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6 Refresher Courses Every Employee Should Take Each Year Reduce workplace conflicts and business liability by training your staff.

By John Boitnott Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Businesses face a variety of challenges managing employees. With so many different personalities in one place, conflicts and issues will inevitably arise. Often one of the best ways to minimize friction is to train each worker on appropriate and safe behavior. Whether it's avoiding a security issue or preventing a costly lawsuit, an investment in training can make a big difference.

Some lessons merit more than a one-time session, however. A brief refresher course each year could keep employers safe without requiring employees to sit through a full training class again. Best of all, many of these classes can now be taken online, from the comfort of an employee's cubicle. Here are six courses that are well worth annual re-training.

Related: How Investing in Employee Training Benefits Your Business

1. Workplace safety.

If your business operates in dangerous conditions, safety training is a crucial investment. Look for online courses specific to your industry, but these courses from the National Safety Council could be a good place to start. Employers can reduce liability by putting processes in place that include regular safety training. In addition to requiring employees to take these courses once a year, businesses should also consider training supervisors so that they can help keep workers safe.

2. Workplace harassment.

When an employee creates a hostile work environment, a business finds itself at risk. With workplace harassment training, a business reduces its liability by ensuring every employee has been properly trained. In addition to sexual harassment training, workplace harassment courses focus on behaviors such as bullying and stereotyping. NAVEX Global's Workplace Harassment Training Online features one-hour and 30-minute courses for employees and one- and two-hour trainings for managers.

Related: Lust and Love in the Workplace

3. Title VI.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 directly addresses discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin. There are multiple training resources available for managers and employees, including this training from the U.S. Department of Justice. Once employees have completed basic training, you can focus on more specific areas such as hiring diverse candidates. Annual trainings will prevent employers from singling out problem employees, since everyone will receive the same training.

4. Cybersecurity.

Employees need proper training to keep a business's technology systems safe. Businesses can start with basic training from the Department of Homeland Security, then choose more specific training on a yearly basis. A course on password security training could be beneficial one year, with a course on mobile device safety required of employees the next year.

5. Regulatory compliance.

Different businesses have regulations specific to the work they do. Whether governed by laws or industry standards, compliance often requires that every employee be trained. If you collect healthcare information on patients, credit card data from customers or some other specific type of regulated data, you'll likely find a course that fits. Once everyone has completed the initial training, check with your governing body to determine if new trainings are available to catch employees up on any changes.

Related: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Compliance

6. Customer service skills.

Whether your employees deal with customers or clients, the ability to gracefully handle every interaction is essential to your business's growth. Fortunately, there are numerous customer service training options available to businesses. This gives you the option of offering different courses depending on the unique challenges your business is facing during a specific period of time.

Alison.com offers free customer service courses and Dale Carnegie Training provides a series of live courses on specific topics. Whenever issues seem to plague your customer service efforts, you'll likely be able to find a course that matches.

Employee training is a handy way to keep a work environment conflict free while also reducing liability. With so many online training opportunities available, businesses can sign employees up for a course that they can take at their desks whenever they have time. Once a business has identified its training needs, finding a course that fills those needs is usually as easy as an internet search.

John Boitnott

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Journalist, Digital Media Consultant and Investor

John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant and journalist living in San Francisco. He's written for Venturebeat, USA Today and FastCompany.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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