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Running a successful business involves a lot of moving parts. One of the most important—and often overlooked—parts of running a profitable company is training and employee development. In fact, a study by The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics found that companies with fewer than 100 employees gave only 12 minutes of manager training every six months. Organizations with 100–500 employees provided just six minutes. So, what does that mean? A lot of organizations aren’t taking into consideration the long-term impact that a comprehensive training program has on their company. To have a successful team, you need to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge that allows them to be more productive. A successful training program can also help employees feel greater job satisfaction and engagement which means less turnover for the company.
While it can be a bit time consuming to initially set up, employee training is worth the investment. Here are five steps to implementing a successful training program.
1. Identify Goals
What are the organization’s goals? What are the employees’ goals? What you are trying to achieve when it comes to your training program? The best place to start is the leadership team. Understanding the vision of leadership and what knowledge, skill, and ability gaps they see is a strong starting point. Then, ask the employees. They often have a different perspective and can identify other gaps that may go overlooked. Your program is sure to provide a greater impact by focusing on the end goals of both your company and employees.
2. Curating Resources
Whether you have onsite training staff or not, a lack of resources shouldn’t be a roadblock to creating a successful training program. There are more resources available than ever before and many allow you to customize and create the perfect training solutions for your company. Get creative. Libraries, online and print publications, and sites like YouTube are great sources. If you are building out content around a specific function or industry, look to the associations or governing agencies for inspiration.
3. Create a Plan
After you have collected information from employees, leadership, and research, it is time to put together your plan. Identify your objectives. What do you need the learner to understand, perform, or administer? What behavior are you trying to change? These objectives become the framework for the program and make development of curriculum more manageable.
While developing and executing your plan, keep the needs of the learner in mind. Learning too much at one time may be counterproductive to the objectives you are trying to achieve. A 24X7 Learning survey revealed that only 12% of learners say they apply the skills from the training they receive to their job. This suggests that learner needs aren't being determined effectively before developing a program. In addition, make learning efficient and engaging. Consider breaking longer sessions into smaller ones. Build in interaction and activities that reinforce the learning. All of these things contribute to learner retention which directly corresponds to the success of the learning.
4. Provide Clear Communication
How you communicate before a training is just as important as how you communicate during the training. Getting the buy in of leadership and the employees is key. Circle back with leadership and share how the training program is aligned with the business goals. When communicating with employees, explain what they will gain from participating—tying it back to their feedback when possible. Set expectations. Provide employees an accurate description of the class and topics to be covered (your course objectives are helpful during this step). It’s also a good idea to let employees know that they can reach out to you beforehand should they have any questions or concerns about the training session.
5. Evaluate and Revise As Needed
It’s important to continuously monitor and revise your training program to ensure that it meets the needs of both your employees and the business. There are a number of ways to track the results of your training. One is asking for feedback from your employees. This shouldn’t just be done once—it should be done multiple times. Ask for feedback immediately, 30 days, and 90 days after the training’s completion. Collecting feedback over time allows you to measure employees’ immediate satisfaction with the experience, their intent to apply, and the application. Once you receive feedback, you can analyze the responses and decide what tweaks need to be made to maximize the potential of your program. Remember, whenever possible, share with employees specific improvements you have made as a result of their feedback! This helps keep them invested and reinforces your commitment to their needs.
Creating and running an effective training program helps employee performance and contributes to the organization’s success. By providing the tools and information that employees need to perform their jobs better, you’ll see increased efficiencies, higher productivity, and a boost in morale among your staff. It’s easy to see why a successful training program makes good business sense for new and seasoned employees.
Want to learn more about improving your business? Download our tip sheet "How to Establish Company Culture" to learn the 5 steps for creating an environment where employees can thrive.
Mandy Smith is Vice President of Training and Employee Development and is responsible for providing SWBC employees with learning and development opportunities which enable them to be more effi cient, eff ective, and engaged. In 2016, she was named a Learning! Champion High Performer by Enterprise Learning! Mandy is a member of the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) and is active in the local chapter. She currently sits on the Chief Learning Officers Business Intelligence Board.