Employee training programs are a fundamental element of any successful company. All companies need to have the best professionals, support them in their development, and equip them with the tools and skills necessary to perform their jobs better. This is especially so in the current times of technological transformation that we are experiencing.
The benefits of launching staff training programs are numerous. Contrarily, it is reasonable to attack deficiencies within the organization, achieving better results (more sales, more customers, higher productivity, better customer service, fewer expenses) for the company. They also improve management styles, overall.
On the other hand, having good staff training programs is one way to attract and retain employees, improve the work environment, and ensure that your employees continue to progress in their careers. This must translate not only into a happier workforce but also more effective onboarding processes and lower dropout rates.
Developing a good employee training program is not easy. To help you in this mission, we have prepared this guide in which we explain step by step how to do it successfully:
Identify The Needs Of Your Company
First, it is essential that you identify a need in your company or a business objective to which you want to contribute. This should be the beginning and end of your entire staff training program; Whatever happens, never forget that your utmost priority is to respond to that need and support the achievement of those business goals.
In this sense, you must be able to achieve the maximum (if possible with a metric that the company has had for a long time) the goal that you have set for yourself. This can be an increase in benefits, greater efficiency, a reduction in costs, a deep knowledge of a new product, etc.
In this initial phase, it is important that you talk to the management committee, the CEO himself, and the senior managers of the departments involved. The more you learn about the real needs of the company, the easier it will be for you to design a program that helps workers do their jobs better. In addition, having the support of management can be a great help in communicating and involving the entire workforce.
Define The Pedagogical Objectives Of Your Employee Training Program
Once you know what you want to get out of it, now you must identify how to do it. You should make an analysis of what kind of tasks can be done better and what are the knowledge, skills, or attitudes that employees must acquire to improve the results of the company. This element is often called the performance gap, and your mission will be precisely to close that gap.
Sometimes the gap may be mastering new technology or software, developing leadership skills, or transferring knowledge about new legislation or a new product. If, for example, the sector of your company is experiencing changes in the type of contracts signed or in the type of client to be convinced, it is probably a good idea to improve the negotiation skills of the commercial team so that they can make facing this new challenge.
- To help you define the pedagogical objectives of your staff training program, we recommend that you follow the SMART model:
- Specific ( specific ). The knowledge, skills, or attitudes of employees must be precisely defined, specific, and understandable by all parties.
- Measurable ( measurable ). The only way to evaluate the effectiveness of a training program is to measure it. Make sure that, from the beginning, you have a way to measure the results of the training and the achievement of the pedagogical objectives.
- Achievable (achievable) . Your workforce must realistically achieve the goals defined in the staff training program. Don’t create too high expectations because they will only produce frustration. Keep it real.
- Relevant ( relevant ). The pedagogical objectives must be important for the company, but also for the job that the employee develops.
Period of time (time-sensitive) . You must establish a deadline in which employees must be able to acquire the established pedagogical objectives.
Identify To Whom The Employee Training Program Is Directed
After having resolved the two previous points, the time has come to select the people to whom the training will be directed.
The most important thing is that you select those people (or departments) that would be gear up to achieving the company’s objectives (defined in step number 1). Remember that your mission is to positively impact the company, so identify the teams who are most aligned with those objectives.
Select or develop the most suitable employee training program
This is one of the most delicate steps and where you will probably invest the most time. Once you have identified the company objectives you want to contribute to, the pedagogical objectives, and the workforce that will carry out the training, you need to find the courses and content that will achieve all the above.
Here there are hundreds or thousands of options that you should analyze based on the characteristics of your company and your workers. Regardless of the particularities of each company, the following general tips can help you plan:
- Think about the format. One of the most important decisions has to do with the type of training you are going to offer. It can be face-to-face (through masterclasses, workshops, workshops, group discussions) or online (tutorial videos, PowerPoint presentations, video games, readings, practical documents, chats). Make sure you choose the one that best suits your pedagogical objectives and your audience.
- Use blended learning. If you can, combine different formats. You will be able to take advantage of the best of the world online and offline, and you will make sure of the effectiveness of the courses and of being able to reach the entire staff.
- Encourage learning by doing. As much as possible, it makes practice easier. It is scientifically proven that the brain is stimulated more when we learn by doing. Include the most practical exercises and use simulators to increase the impact of your staff training programs.
- Facilitates feedback and interaction. Forget about the boring classes where students only listen to sitting in their chairs for hours. If you really want your employees to learn, encourage interaction with content and teachers, always leave room for questions and make sure that all students’ questions are answered. This should also apply to online training.
- Divide the contents and dose the training. Regardless of the complexity of your training program, try to divide the pedagogical content into small pieces (or in well-defined time periods). This will allow employees to better organize their time and give them time to internalize and digest knowledge.
- Give your employees freedom. On many occasions, the best way to guarantee training is by giving students complete freedom. The more autonomous and freer they are, the more responsible they will feel with the results. To do this, offer them various training opportunities from which they can choose, suggest that they find their own courses related to the company’s goals, or even give them a money bag so they can use it in the training courses they consider appropriate.
- Bet on gamification and video games. To fight boredom and lack of engagement, feel free to incorporate gamification techniques or video games into your training programs. You will awaken the interest of the employees, motivate them, and above all, improve the pedagogical effectiveness of the training.
All this data should not only serve you to evaluate the employee training program that you have carried out but also so that all that feedback becomes an employee experience that will help you make improvements in the future.
It, therefore, includes qualitative and open-ended questions in surveys and interviews where employees (and the senior management team, CEO, or senior managers) can contribute ideas and advice for upcoming training programs, such as an income-driven repayment plan for all your loans and such.