Tools, Tips, and Tricks: Training in the Government Sector

April 27, 2023 | What's Hot | 4 min read

Federal agencies have traditionally faced challenges in acquiring, developing, and retaining talent. These issues are often attributed to a long hiring process (averaging 98 days), a lack of workforce planning (reactionary hiring), and ineffective recruiting practices.

One of the most important ways to address this obstacle is through training and employee development. However, developing training programs that are effective across all federal agencies takes some effort and coordination – as you might imagine.

How to establish an effective Federal Training Program

Federal agencies that take a strategic approach to training and employee development have a higher probability of driving efficiencies, reducing risk, and keeping employees safe – yielding a greater opportunity to further their mission.


A well-planned strategy can help government agencies drive efficiency in many ways, such as:

  • Enhancing their image and reputation
  • Attracting high-caliber employees who want to work for an agency with a reputation and culture they can be proud of
  • Driving positive business impact: motivated employees are more productive and make decisions that benefit the organization and their fellow employees

Improved compliance may lead to fewer safety issues, reducing claims, fines, penalties, injuries, or death. Agencies that adequately manage workplace safety and health perform better than those that do not, according to a study by Harvard Business School.


Keeping employees safe reduces lost time incidents (LTI). Improved safety records may result in reducing the economic impact of workers’ compensation and related expenses, lost production time, employee absenteeism, job accommodations, and restricted work efficiency.

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Mandated Training: Key Questions for the Federal Government to Consider

A common mistake from agencies planning their mandated training programs is that they spend too much time and money on training that does not support their mission. Compliance training for low-priority goals should be minimized.

Here are two key questions to consider:

What do your employees need to know, and when?

Your mandatory training program needs to target the right job roles for each training format. Nothing will turn employees off faster than wasting time taking a training course that is of no help to them in their role.

Are we streamlining access to training?

It’s imperative that employees in various positions throughout the federal government receive standardized training and information – no matter where they are located. This ensures that everyone is on the same page about how to mitigate risk in the federal workplace.

That said, there is still a requirement for customization. A good example of this is training around The No FEAR Act, which requires that federal agencies be accountable for violations of anti-discrimination and whistleblower protection laws.

Skillsoft’s course on The No FEAR Act enables configuration. Your agency can tailor course materials to align with its unique objectives. Adapt courses for specific audiences — including your own policies, videos, and other resources.

How to achieve Results through your Federal Mandated Training Program

When done thoughtfully, aligning your training program to support key agency objectives can become standard operating procedure for your agency. Here are some tips to help achieve results:

Get Leadership Buy-in:

Your compliance journey must start with commitment from the leadership team to achieve behavioral change. Executives need to define and own the risk management process.

Identify Risks:

Risks to the organization should be identified and prioritized. High-risk issues will require the greatest commitment to training and to achieve behavioral change. Low-risk issues should receive minimal attention.

Be Ethical:

Many compliance training programs overlook the emotional aspect of training. Emotional training messages help team members feel that the organization is looking out for the safety and well-being of the employee, their co-workers, and even their families and loved ones. With pride in working for an ethical organization, employees will stay longer and work harder to support your mission.

Consider Psychological Safety:

Training is one of the most impactful ways to encourage ethical leaders within a federal agency environment. While most of us are familiar with physical workplace safety training, psychological safety is a newer concept. Psychological safety involves the feeling of being accepted and respected – believing you can present your true self at work without fear of negative consequences to your self-image, status, or career. When there’s a high level of psychological safety, there is a culture of inclusion. People feel safe to speak up, to offer ideas, and to ask questions.

Develop Metrics:

Meaningful metrics for the compliance program should be established at the onset and aligned around your organization’s mission. Ensure that data for the metrics can be easily collected and reported. Targets for the metrics should be realistic and achievable. Because, when targets are unachievable, people are not motivated to reach them.

Stay Up-To-Date:

Federal regulations are constantly evolving – especially with respect to mandatory training. Skillsoft maintains and develops training courses that are relevant, up-to-date, and accurate. That means you don’t have to.

Top Skillsoft Courses taken by Federal Government Employees Last Year

As the federal government continues to operate in a hybrid work environment, training topics related to ethical leadership, psychological safety, remote work best practices, cybersecurity, and others will become increasingly popular.

Some of the top courses completed by learners in the government sector in FY23 reflect this change. From Understanding Unconscious Bias to Preventing Bullying and Violence, it is clear that the federal government is interested in reducing workplace harassment across the board.

Other top courses across government clients included everything from Telework for Government Employees and Contributing as a Virtual Team Member, to Network Security Threats and Their Impact, and more.

Other topics that our federal customers have shown interest in include Embracing Equity and Cybersecurity training to reduce risk.

Learn about other courses for federal government compliance training here.

Curious about the training that your agency needs to more fully embrace hybrid work?