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6 Steps to develop the perfect employee training program

23 Mar 2021 | Lesson Desk Team7 min read

Nearly every organisation from every industry recognises the value of effective employees in today's workplace. But how do you get an effective workforce that is highly motivated to perform and increase your company’s revenue? Well, through employee training, of course!

Employee training - what is it, and why is it important?

You might be asking, "what is employee training?" Well, employee training is defined as the education that a company provides to improve employee performance and their skills relating to their current jobs and to boost overall productivity in the workplace.

Employee training is essential for a number of reasons. There are many benefits of employee training and development, including motivating employees and making them more engaged, satisfied, and happier. Additionally, employee training increases production levels, increases earnings and also overall strengthens employee retention.

Therefore, regardless of company size, perfecting the most effective training programs is an absolute must, as an ill-planned one is a time-consuming and costly exercise that can negatively impact reaching your business goals or solving pesky problems.

Additionally, poor quality employee training programs can harm the learning culture within your organisation, possibly leading to a lower level of employee engagement for future programs.

Developing the perfect employee training program that is designed to meet their needs

Developing a well-planned employee training strategy can make it more streamlined, which can make achieving your company goals easier. While setting up a well-defined employee development program is important, it can sometimes be overwhelming. But lucky for you, we are here to help with your succession planning! We’ve mapped out the six following steps to ensure that you develop a strategy that will benefit your employees and organisation:

1. Analyse the training and development needs of your employees

Before training managers start planning, it is essential that you determine the "what" and "why". Many organisations tend to skip this step, causing them to fall short as they don’t take the time to determine what is needed for their employees, establishment and customers. It is important that organisations only provide skills training when it is required, e.g., when it fulfils compliance requirements, or when it directly supports a business goal. This way, when conducting a full analysis before planning your employee training strategy, you'll have a much clearer idea of the “what's” and the “why's”. So, what should your analysis entail?

To determine what employee development is needed, you should first pinpoint what tools, resources or learning materials are currently being used in your existing employee training and development programs. By speaking to them, you can identify common skills and knowledge gaps that might hinder their working processes. Additionally, when deciding to train employees, it is important to evaluate their current skills to determine what employees need performance improvement.

2. Set up a plan to fulfil your employee training and development needs

Once you have determined your employees’ skills and knowledge gaps, you can move on to the next step, which is to start planning how to fill these employee training and development gaps. By doing this, you can easily set up skills training goals and outline specific types of employee training for talent development.

Please note that you cannot solve every problem or provide talent development and training courses for every single employee training need from the get-go. Instead, you should focus on prioritising what is a necessity within your organisation and then get back to filling the rest of these gaps at a later stage.

For example, if you notice that your new employees are left to their own devices or if there seems to be a pattern of poor onboarding and employee orientation, focus on improving this. If you see that there is a need to deliver company-wide leadership development, push it up the priority list. Thereafter you can concentrate on tackling other employee training needs by pulling from the top of your list. However, what is determined as a top priority or not depends on your organisation's culture, values and long-term goals.

An important aspect to consider when planning how to fill these training needs gaps is your finances. Your business leaders and training officers need to ensure that you have the finances required to support your employee development initiatives.

During this process, you should also consider the way in which you would like your workplace training to be conducted. This consideration will depend highly on the make-up of your employees and the set-up of your workplace. If your company consists of a lot of remote workers or employees that do not have much time on their hands to upskill, then a digital approach using online courses and new tools is definitely the way to go. Other methods include instructor-led, online (e-learning), just-in-time, classroom and a blended-learning approach. For a more hands-on learning approach, companies can also offer job rotation opportunities where employees are exposed to various assignments or jobs at regular intervals of time in order to expand their skill set for further talent development.

3. Invest in effective tools and resources

A major step when planning your employee training programs is critical thinking and making the call for what is the best way and types of employee training to meet your needs. By investing in the right tools, you can ensure that you deliver impactful employee training. This step is crucial because it enables you to find the appropriate resources according to your budget, the needs of your employees, your company size and type, your location, your available time frame, as well as your company's goals in order to plan and develop different types of learning content, manage employee data, deliver and schedule training in an effortless manner, as well as track your employees' progress on an ongoing basis. Well, this is where new technologies, like learning management systems (LMS), have their time to shine!

Based on your analysis and planning, you should be able to develop a good sense of what you would like from your LMS to begin your research. Aiming to implement an LMS that is comprehensive, encourages learner engagement, is affordable and has multiple features all in one place will not only play a big role in making this process easier but will save you a ton of time – something everyone would appreciate in their lives.

When searching for the right LMS, it is imperative that you do not only think about how it will benefit the needs of the company in the present moment but also how it can promote employee growth and prepare them for future career development opportunities.

4. Develop custom employee training content

One of the costly mistakes that businesses often tend to make is underestimating the required time and skills it takes to create powerful learning material. Employees want to learn new skills and gain knowledge with training content that is specific to their needs and day-to-day workplace experiences, as this drives engagement, motivation, and higher levels of knowledge retention, which will improve job performance and job satisfaction.

Instead of having your employees learn about generic scenarios that are not relevant, use new technology such as online resources and training solutions to create bespoke training content that integrates scenarios that occur in the modern workplace. By providing employees with this type of training, you enable employees to have a better employee experience and feel more engaged in the training process. Ultimately, by doing this, you are allowing employees to improve in their current roles, which will also help them to progress to a new role in the future.

For example, if new employees from a local coffee shop are being trained in customer service, it will be challenging for the employees to fully comprehend and immerse themselves if the customer service training is placed in the context of a fast-food restaurant. Incorporating personalised scenarios creates a greater identification with the topic, which will help in better understanding the information presented to them. It is also crucial to provide guidance and focus training efforts on topics that can really maximise your employees' potential as well as add value to their skillset.

We know that if you're starting off with content development from scratch, creating customised learning material can seem like quite a bit of effort and time. But no need to worry! Rather than taking on the responsibility yourself, collaborate with training content specialists (www.magiclantern.co.za) and learn which formats your job training should be in, how your learning material should be structured, how employee performance can be assessed, how much information should be in each course or lesson, and how the content in its entirety can solve problems, fulfil a training gap or help achieve business goals. By doing so, you can easily eliminate any confusion or critical knowledge gaps with your training content and will also make the content creation process as easy as pie.

5. Implement an engaging employee learning experience

With the right LMS on your side and valuable training material developed, you can finally assign your employees to their training courses, right? Well, not just yet! For optimal training implementation and to ensure that your employees' learning experiences are successful, there are some guidelines that you should follow.

We know that you are excited to introduce your workforce to all the courses at once, but this is not always the best plan of action. Doing so may be overwhelming to your employees as it is important to remember that they too have deadlines to meet and social lives to attend to. Instead, if your LMS has a scheduling feature, make use of it and roll your training out slowly and with purpose.

Additionally, microlearning is a great tool to use when you are implementing quick and convenient amounts of training information due to its bite-sized and accessible nature. This approach allows learners to easily consume small volumes of information from the training material without the added pressure, and this is guaranteed to increase their engagement levels.

To keep things exciting and to maintain a high employee engagement, you might want to also consider combining various training methods. As mentioned before, some of the popular employee training methods that you can switch between includes online training (e-learning), classroom training, instructor-led training, just-in-time learning and a blended-learning experience.

6. Measure and adapt your training program and training types

The real secret and final step to implementing successful professional development programs is to take the time to reflect and think of ways to improve it. There are two ways to measure the success of your employee training program.

You can assess whether employees have retained the specific knowledge they have learned by testing them using theoretical or practical assessments. You can do this through interactive assessments or after training has been delivered.

Additionally, by giving employees a heads up regarding these assessments prior to training, you can in keeping them attentive. This way, you can see if skill gaps are being adhered to in an impactful way. Alternatively, you can make use of comprehensive LMS features such as reports and surveys to help you identify where your training is succeeding and if there are areas that need more working on, in which case you can create further talent development opportunities.

If you find that you have made some errors along the way, like misjudging employee training needs, misidentifying specific learning objectives, or providing too much or too little information during training, you can simply go back and make your training programs even more valuable and successful the next time. Based on this feedback, you can continuously adapt, tweak, and optimise your employee training and development program for years to come, allowing you to put your organisation and employees on the path to success.

And there you have it! By following our six steps listed above, you are sure to develop training programs that will be much more effective, lead to a happier workforce, attain business goals and increase ROI.

For further assistance on how to effectively define your employee training and development objectives, and outcomes and develop even more successful employee training programs, you can get into contact with our Learning and Development Specialists. They will also be able to keep you up-to-date on the latest trends and interactive elements needed to create the perfect training program to create top talent employees for your business.

For more information, please contact our Learning and Development Specialists at learn@lesssondesk.com or visit our website. Additionally, you can also sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive communications about our suite of training applications, readily available online courses, new releases and any discounts or promotions that we offer.