Employee training isn’t one size fits all and the most successful companies appreciate that training isn’t just an event, but an ongoing process. The importance of having a solid, tried and tested training program to a business’ success is evident, however the idea of building a reliable training plan can be daunting for any L&D professional. There isn’t a simple formula or magic template, but after working so closely with our clients helping them put together their training plans, we have discovered a few things that are consistent in the most successful ones.
A training plan begins with one person. This person will most likely be working in the L&D or HR team in your business and will be responsible for the planning, management and execution of the training program. They will be open-minded, motivated and inquisitive and will possess good organisational and problem-solving skills. Without a strong person in this role, the whole training program will lack sustainability and may lose momentum.
In order to get started, the Program Manager will need to be able to clearly identify the training needs of the business. This usually takes the form of a discussion between a member of staff and their manager during mid-year and annual appraisals. A training needs analysis can also be identified through research, interviews and internal surveys. It is important to correctly and accurately identify who needs training and in what skill or subject in order to put together a successful training program.
The average learner today is distracted, busy and often does not have much time to spare for training. It is important to ensure that all learners are engaged, and this starts with relevant content. You will not get the results you are looking for if you organise training as a tick box exercise. The training you present to employees needs to be applicable to each individual role and needs to provide them with quick takeaways that they can immediately apply to their day to day roles.
Learning and Development has always been an area of a business that is difficult to quantify and visibly recognize a return on investment however, when you can determine organisational needs that are in line with the business goals, quantifying the training becomes a lot easier. When setting goals, make sure to use metrics such as quantity, quality, time, cost and effectiveness (through delegate feedback). You will need to evaluate progress towards your set goals and schedule time to monitor and analyse it on a regular basis. By doing this you will become agile and be able to shift strategy if needed.
Having top leadership support is possibly the most important key to a successful training program. It will help you to emphasise the importance of the training and establish the appropriate expectations. Obtaining leadership support is much easier when you have identified the vital training needs of the organisation and aligned them with key business goals and metrics.
Getting the word out about the training program is an integral part of your implementation. This not only includes initial launch activities but will also require ongoing efforts throughout the program. As you build your communication plan, keep the goals and metrics in mind so that you can tie the activities into these goals. Any communication that goes out to employees needs to outline the ‘Why’ behind the training and include what’s in it for them, not only what they should expect from the training itself but also the skills they will learn and take away with them. It would also be beneficial to suggest ways they can apply the skills they will learn to their day to day roles.
Research shows that companies are spending thousands of pounds on training every year only to discover that employees are not retaining the skills learnt or applying new concepts to their day to day roles. In order for training to be a worthwhile investment, it is crucial to implement post training support. This can take the form of small lessons, activities or maybe a support helpdesk. By giving the opportunity for staff to remember and by continuing to teach following the initial training, they are more likely to be able to apply their new skills to their everyday roles.
We hope that you found this article useful and can apply these key points to your next training program. Our expert team are on hand to support you by not only delivering off-the-shelf courses but also with pre-course skills assessments and post course training support. We can also assist you with building your own bespoke training programs from start to finish and if you need training administration support, we can help with that too! Think of us as an extension to your L&D team, on hand to support you when you need us.
Give us a call on 0333 344 6630 or drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to one of our friendly team members.