Workplace training, learning, and development are essential for any business. Whether it is to meet compliance requirements in a regulated industry, nurture future leaders or engage and encourage employees to improve retention. Whatever the motivation, employee training is a necessity, but developing an effective employee training program can be a challenge.
Identifying training opportunities, designing successful training programs, promoting training and encouraging participation can all present obstacles. Fortunately, employee training and development is our specialty. We’ve helped companies from every industry including council authorities deliver better staff training. We have considerable experience in this field and hence, we have put together this easy step-by-step guide:
The first step in any employee training and development program is identifying what your needs are or if there are any learning opportunities. If you operate in a regulated industry, then you have a need for training courses as a way to ensure employees understand the industry and meet compliance requirements. You may also notice that there are some areas or teams in your business that aren’t as productive or efficient as other areas and therefore aren’t meeting the needs of your business. Training programs for employee skills and growth can be a great way to fill this performance gap.
Alternatively, employee training programs might just help improve the work experience for employees and therefore improve retention. Career training and soft skills training can help employees develop as individuals and future leaders, which can not only save you money on recruitment but is also a number one reason for employees choosing and staying with a company.
After you have looked at compliance needs, performance gaps and career development opportunities as inspiration for training, you then need to make sure that each training program proposal has a clear business objective. For example, will training help ensure your business is compliant with regulations and therefore avoid fines, make employees more productive or efficient to improve ROI, or reduce recruitment costs by encouraging internal development succession?
Next, you’ll need to outline the main objective and subsequent targets of the employee training program. The overall main objective should be aligned with your business objectives to ensure that every learning opportunity is helping to achieve business needs. Your objective and subsequent targets or goals should be SMART. This means they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound.
Once you have an overall objective, you can then break it down into the individual targets or goals. These targets might be a skill that the employee needs to learn and be able to demonstrate, a concept or knowledge they need to show understanding of or even a physical work task they need to perform and show evidence of. This is similar to the KSA concept, or Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude, which you can also use to guide your targets. This will form the rough structure of your course.
Once you have your objectives and rough structure decided, you can begin to design the training course. Today, the easiest and most versatile way to deliver training is – Online. While you can find third-party course providers that can teach the skills or knowledge involved in classrooms or even on-site, a learning management system can provide complete control and flexibility with workplace training. A superior LMS can deliver courses that employees can access from any device and at any point to complete training when it’s most convenient for them.
However you decide to design the staff training and development courses, you’ll need to think about all the available media and material types that can be utilised to help teach employees and engage them better. Video, for example, can be an extremely effective learning tool along with guides and manuals while more in-depth courses that require extra study may benefit from peer-to-peer learning or mentorship.
Quizzes can be handy to help employees retain knowledge at each stage, but you’ll also need to think about how staff will need to demonstrate that they have successfully completed the course. For example with a formal written exam, a certificate simply to say they have read through the relevant material or even a practical assessment.
Top tip: Keep adult learning principles in mind when designing your courses. These principles are based on how adults learn best and following them could help deliver more effective training programs. They suggest that adult learners:
Once you’ve designed how you want your course to look and work you can begin to develop it. Again, third-party course-providers could help with this or, if you have a good development team, you could try to develop everything yourself. Again, this is where a good LMS comes in handy. The best employee training software will also provide a range of material and media types to design more engaging courses such as step-by-step sliders for easy how-to guides and much more. Your HR team or team leaders can easily create and add training material and courses in a range of formats.
For training materials that you have developed, make sure that creatives, copywriters and others involved in putting together PDF guides, manuals, and other formats are all fully briefed on the learning objectives and any compliance needs.
A training program is only as useful as its participation. After you have designed and developed your course, you’ll want to promote it to employees and implement it accordingly. If it’s regulated compliance training, for example, it’s likely a mandatory course that will need automatic enrollment of employees and should be carefully monitored.
Alternatively, soft skills training, such as leadership development programs, may only be voluntary but their benefit to your business could be extremely high. These courses could help employees become more efficient, more productive and ultimately more valuable to your company. They may even help employees become your future leaders and significantly reduce recruitment costs. This means you’ll need to invest some time and energy into encouraging good participation levels in these courses.
Utilise any communication tools you have such as employee portals, internal email, company social networks and more to promote any new training courses. Also, make sure to keep the management staff informed about new courses and encourage them to recommend members of their team to take the course. Again, an LMS with an integrated HRIS could help with these tasks.
Developing an effective employee training program is much easier when you already have an idea of what works and what doesn’t. To improve the chances of success, make sure you monitor the performance of new and ongoing courses. This includes participation rates, completion rates, and any trends between the course and overall employee performance.
You may notice that some courses underperform in certain areas and can be optimised to improve the engagement or enrollment numbers. Other courses may simply prove to be unsuccessful with little impact on employee performance, so these should be removed. Successful courses, on the other hand, can provide a blueprint for future staff training programs.
When it comes to employee learning and development, the work is never done. Continue to review the success of your learning activities in line with employee and business performance to see what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to change your strategy if it doesn’t seem to be working.
This is where workplace analytics and performance tracking can really come in handy. Combined with a powerful learning management system, you can easily spot trends and monitor ongoing performance so that you can make quick data-driven changes. To learn about getting a superior LMS of your own contact us today, or book a demo of SuccessFactors and see how their incredible HR modules combine to deliver the ultimate employee and HR experience.
Why not take a look at how we helped Central Bedfordshire council transform their training and development with superior online learning to get an idea of how you could benefit.