7 Steps to Develop an Effective Employee Training Program
Operating a business with employees who have the skills and knowledge to stay productive is dependent upon a few factors. One of the biggest is developing and implementing a successful training program that nurtures employees and capitalizes on their talents.
Here are seven tips and guidelines to create an efficient workforce and keep your business functioning at a high level.
1. Identify goals.
It’s hard to be successful without knowing exactly what you’re trying to achieve. That’s why brainstorming sessions to determine your business’s needs are important. In one industry, employees may need to learn the fundamentals of customer service. In another, they might need to know how to operate different types of machinery and how an assembly line operates. Regardless of the details, knowing your goals will dictate how you approach program development.
2. Acquire training resources.
Unless there is immediate access to all training materials, you will need to purchase them from the appropriate vendors. This might include computer software, an online course, or books. In some cases, the provided materials will cover every aspect of the training process where no customization is necessary. Other times, you may need to customize certain things so that the materials address the specifics of your company.
3. Create a schedule.
Depending on the length and complexity of a training program, it might take a few days to several weeks to complete. Figure out roughly how long it will take and create a schedule. You may want to have employees attend the program together to streamline it, or break it down into smaller groups if necessary. Be sure to take into account any potential setbacks and try not to overwhelm team members with excessive information in a short period of time. Learning new skills is a process, and training should be done gradually so employees can fully digest one lesson before moving on to the next.
4. Find a trainer.
Recruit an experienced professional to guide team members throughout their orientation to keep things running smoothly. You may want to use an in-house manager who has direct experience in your business, or you can hire a professional trainer. This individual will lead trainees, give lectures, answer questions, provide feedback, and do anything else that’s required to educate employees.
5. Communicate effectively.
It’s smart to hold a meeting before begininng where you can provide a brief rundown on what the program will entail and what employees can expect. You should also explain what the expectations of everyone are and that the course should be taken seriously. Finally, it’s a good time to respond to any concerns that employees may have and clarify any issues.
6. Track progress.
Have metrics in place to monitor what’s been completed. Break the program down into sections so you will know how far employees have come and what’s left. You may want to utilize a tool like a spreadsheet on which each employee’s name is placed on the left side in rows and course sections are placed on top in columns. This will create a matrix in which you can reference when necessary and conveniently track the program every step of the way.
7. Encourage feedback.
Upon completion, you should have your HR department meet with employees to obtain feedback. This is the time when employees can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the program, what they learned, and their overall experience. Meeting one on one is ideal because you’re likely to get more honest and unbiased feedback. From there, your HR department can spot patterns and know if anything needs to be addressed. This information should help to fine tune your program in the future.
An effective training program is one of the best ways to prepare employees for success. By equipping them with the tools and knowledge to perform their jobs, you can expect better performance and a more cohesive unit. The long-term effects are often higher productivity, better company culture, and increased sales.