What kinds of training do you offer for your employees? If you’re like most companies, you already require orientation, onboarding, and job skills training in some form. Maybe you use an online training library, or maybe you offer classroom training for certain skills.
But what if you could design a training program that not only prepares employees to do their jobs more effectively, but also keeps them engaged and persuades them to stay with your company longer?
Results like that are not as far out of reach as you might think.
Employee Training Is Good For Hiring and Retention
According to a recent LinkedIn Learning survey, nine out of ten workers say they would stay longer with an employer who invested in their career. More than half said they would take a course if their manager suggested it.
People want to know that their work matters. They feel valuable to your organization when you teach them to do their jobs well. That’s why your employees will tend to stay with you longer if you invest in their training and professional development. And that’s not just true for new hires.
When you provide ongoing opportunities for employees to learn new skills, earn certifications, or pursue advanced degrees, you communicate that you value their personal success as well as their contributions.
But how do you create a training program that both serves your employees well and pays for itself in terms of business value?
5 Steps to Building a Successful Training Program
Any successful program has to be built on a solid strategy that incorporates where you’re starting, where you’re headed, and how you’re going to get from here to there.
These five steps will help you answer all three of those questions.
- Get clear on your why.
If you don’t have a strong business case for your training program, you won’t be able to justify investment over the long term. Understanding your business objectives will also help you choose the right skills and the right types of training. Ask questions like these:
- What skills does an employee need to be successful (both technical and soft skills)?
- What are our department goals?
- How can training help us achieve them?
- What do new employees need to know to ramp up quickly?
- How can training help current employees be more productive or efficient?
- Know your critical skills and skills gaps.
Expanding on the questions you asked in the previous step, conduct a skills gap analysis to nail down the most important skills your employees need. Then, identify where your gaps are by interviewing team members, conducting a survey, or looking at performance reviews. Gaps may appear in individual abilities or across teams and should include skills for various levels, roles, and needs. For example, your list might include: management, leadership, safety, quality assurance, professional/certifications, soft
skills, technical skills, onboarding, product knowledge, and compliance.
- Prioritize your training program based on need.
Due to budget and time constraints, you may not be able to fill every training need right away. Focus on the most urgent needs and structure your training opportunities to fill critical gaps. Bottom-line impact (cost savings or revenue generation) should also influence which skills and training needs you address first.
- Assess training styles.
Different learning styles, budgets, and organizational objectives will determine the style of training that works best for your employees. Aim to incorporate a variety of training styles for greatest impact. Here are a few of the options to consider:
- Classroom style – Classroom training requires fewer initial resources and can be used to train a large number of employees simultaneously. It is a common style for orientation or technical skills and certifications.
- Online – Online learning libraries such as LinkedIn Learning or your own internal learning management system (LMS) can be great tools for expanding individual knowledge on key topics. This is usually a great fit for areas like technical skills, leadership theory, and compliance guidelines.
- Microlearning – Microlearning is growing in popularity because it can be integrated seamlessly into the employee’s experience. With microlearning assets, you can provide in-the-moment learning that takes less than ten minutes for the employee to absorb. For example, you could create an app that provides product overviews for salespeople to use on the sales floor, or you could create a one-page infographic to walk new employees through onboarding expectations.
- Workshops and seminars – Workshops, seminars, and conferences provide opportunities to supplement existing knowledge with current trends, new technology advances, and cutting-edge theory. You can use them to address niche topics or to present information that will be relevant to a large number of your employees.
- Mentorships – One-on-one learning can be tailored to the specific needs of the individual and also provides the greatest flexibility. It’s a great option for bringing new employees up to speed with a team, training hard skills, or teaching hands-on management and leadership practices.
- Personalize training opportunities.
Employees will respond differently to various training styles and media. Personality assessments can help you evaluate a person’s learning style and personalize their training resources, and managers can also shed light on which styles will be most useful for their teams. By personalizing training opportunities, you can support all of your team members as they work toward growing their knowledge and skills.
Training is a direct contributor to employee satisfaction and engagement because it helps people feel that their work is making a difference. As you begin to see improvements in efficiency and productivity, you’ll be able to correlate the ROI from your training program with improved employee morale and stronger retention.