3 Key Attributes of Effective Training Instructors

These features set up an environment for learning and are crucial to train new employees effectively.

Tim Neubauer, President and Owner

December 15, 2023

1 Min Read
Simon Turner / Alamy Stock Photo

The role of training instructor isn’t merely to provide information but to create an effective environment for learning. This is especially important in hands-on fields such as construction, where a difference in training across a company can lead to variable outcomes. 

Here are three ways for instructors to be effective while training new employees or apprentices. 

Strike a balance

To be effective, instructors must strike a balance between showcasing their expertise and remaining objective. This means setting aside personal preferences or habits and following the training guidelines of their company and industry. Remaining neutral is particularly important when providing training, and failure to do so undermines the ultimate goal of any training program—real-world application and long-term retention of skills. 

Make use of your soft skills 

An instructor’s skill is not determined just by their grasp of the subject matter or their teaching skill. Personal attributes like enthusiasm, patience, empathy and the ability to communicate ideas in an accessible manner are often what set great instructors apart from good ones. These soft skills create a learning environment where employees feel encouraged, valued and understood. Additionally, a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health identified qualities such as empathy and mental alertness as essential traits for trainers in high-risk environments.  

Account for your audience

Without a comprehensive understanding of who is being trained, even the most skilled instructor and well-designed course can fail. Additionally, understanding and adapting to different cultural, linguistic and generational needs is key. For example, younger generations may prefer digital, interactive learning platforms, while other employees may be more comfortable with traditional, in-person formats. An instructor’s awareness of these preferences, along with the flexibility to adapt to them, can maximize engagement and retention. 


About the Author(s)

Tim Neubauer

President and Owner, Exceed Safety

Tim Neubauer is president and owner of Exceed Safety in Raleigh, North Carolina. His experience spans three decades in the application of safety principles while in the field. Neubauer holds a master's in occupational safety and health and is a certified safety professional with knowledge in a wide range industries, specializing in construction health and safety. He has worked with the National Safety Council and their affiliates for more than 20 years and has facilitated Advanced Safety Certificate courses as an instructor. Neubaue was also an OSHA OTI Level 500 instructor in Region 5 and a certified National Center for Construction Education and Research instructor.

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