Employee training and development programs have picked up in recent years. According to a study, 69% of Learning and Development professionals say it’s the main priority of every organization. But quite often, organisations conflate L&D strategies with training programs. In a VUCA-braced environment, L&D owes itself, and its workforce, to be much more than that. Let’s analyse the fundamentals of what should make an L&D strategy successful.
Why is your organization training its employees?
Usually, it’s done to keep up to date with industry standards, speed up new hires, train the interns to use a coffee machine and the list goes on.
It also has a huge impact on employee performance, increases engagement, improves employee retention and growth, and addresses internal weaknesses within the organization.
A chain is as strong as its weakest link.
Now back to the main topic we’re focusing on. What constitutes a successful employee training program? Industry specialists will tell you to tailor-make a plan for your employees based on what you require and what’s best for your employees. Effective training programs are difficult to execute. Usual training challenges include engaging employees, providing consistent training, tracking progress, Return on Investment, and measuring training effectiveness.
HERE’S HOW TO SET UP A SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYEE TRAINING PROGRAM
Identifying Skill Gaps
Skill sets can be taught to anyone. The challenge is to identify the gaps. Most training requests start with an issue. Maybe it’s a process that needs a little improvement. Maybe a new manager is having a hard time dealing with the conflicts within his team.
Top-tier training programs not only address current semantics and issues at hand but also predict future organizational needs.
Employees are the best source of information when it comes to identifying and developing training and performance gaps. Seeking input from the team before drafting training goals can be very helpful as they have first-hand knowledge of the work, processes, and procedures that can provide valuable feedback.
Selecting the right training methods
The training method, that is, the mode in which the employees learn affects their retention and ability to use those learned skills. Budget, location, number of employees, the type of training, and your goals are some criteria for choosing training methods. Here are some popular training methods:
INSTRUCTOR-LED TRAINING: Being the most used and effective training method, it enables instructors to directly answer specific and particular questions and offer mentorship to individuals.
ONLINE LIVE CLASSES: The current situation of Covid-19 around the world has made this method of training quite popular in recent times. Instructors hold live classes via online meeting platforms. Employees can easily interact with their mentors and trainers and can also engage in peer to peer learning.
ONLINE COURSES: Pre-recorded classes, lessons, and materials are given to Employees in a bundle that lets them learn at their own pace. Online exams and quizzes are held to monitor the progress the employee has made.
HANDS-ON TRAINING: It is directly conducted in the organization. This training method is entirely based on the individual needs of the employee and the required development of skills.
Although it is an exhausting and time-consuming method of training, it can be extremely effective and useful if the required resources are available.
ROLE PLAYING: Used in scenarios where employees can work a potential job subjectively. The purpose of this method is to observe how different employees react differently when put in different situations. This method trains employees in real-life practices.
Measuring results can be difficult if clear cut goals are not set in the beginning. To demonstrate the value of the employee training and development program, we can use training Return on Investment.
Once the goals are set and training methods are in place, employees are analysed before and after the training program to see if the training program has helped the employees in any way.
Did the course improve the efficiency of a particular employee? The results, in turn, help the organization’s Human Resource Department to make important decisions in hiring, further training of employees, and employee engagement, and so on.
Training ROI helps to understand the value and impact of training programs.
FOLLOWING THROUGH ON ACTION ITEMS
The success of a training program depends on regular cross-examination of employees to see what they have learned from the courses. After the training sessions, quizzes and MCQs should be held to make sure employees take time to process what they have learned. Employees should also be encouraged to ask questions and clear their doubts.
This step ensures that the employees use and apply what they’ve learned in their everyday jobs.
MAKING TRAINING A PART OF THE ORGANISATION’S CULTURE
Developing training programs isn’t exactly rocket science but it can be seen as very complex, time-consuming, and exhausting. This can prevent managers from pursuing training and development programs for their teams. Weaving training programs into the company’s fabric would involve consistent training programs and courses for every level in the organization. Employee training should be documented in the employee handbook and should be made a company value. This would encourage employees to voice their opinion when they find better opportunities.