How to Build a Successful Employee Training and Development Program
Employee training and development programs are on the rise. In fact, 69 percent of learning and development professionals say it’s the top priority at their organization.
But developing talent is easier said than done. Your program must equip employees with the necessary skills while demonstrating business value and a measurable return on investment (ROI).
Here's how to build an employee training and development program that accomplishes your organizational goals.
What Is Employee Training and Development?
Employee training and development is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of industries, skill sets and training. It includes the hard, technical skills needed to perform specific tasks such as administering a SQL database infrastructure or deploying a Microsoft Exchange server.
The overarching goal for employee training and development is to boost performance, knowledge and organization around a chosen topic. This type of training is usually geared toward learning new skills with minimal prior experience.
Talent development also includes softer skills, such as personal development or leadership skills that focus on employee growth and performance, from making decisions under pressure to constructive conflict management.
Also known as Human Capital Management, this sector of training focuses heavily on nurturing skills that are already present within an individual. This training method is popular with those who want to increase their salary in a competitive industry or transitioning into a new position.
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What Makes an Effective Employee Training Program?
Successful employee training and development programs go beyond the standard new hire orientation. They aren’t sporadic courses that employees occasionally take as needed. It’s taking a strategic, organized, systematic approach to training that aligns individual growth with business goals.
According to LinkedIn’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report, the primary objectives of training are the following:
Develop managers and leaders
Help employees develop technical skills
Train all employees globally in one cohesive way
Support career development for employees
The benefits of continued education compound with time. It’s through long-term employee training and development programs that companies reap the most significant return.
Why Is Employee Training and Development Important?
Training employees is a win-win for both employees and the organizations they work for. Here are a few benefits of employee training and development.
Boost Employee Retention
Recruiting and onboarding talent takes significant time and money. Losing employees costs even more. The cost of employee turnover (hiring, onboarding, training, ramp up time, etc.) ranges from tens of thousands to double their salary — and that figure increases depending on experience and seniority.
Introducing an employee training and development program helps you cultivate, retain and attract top talent, reducing turnover and hiring costs. When team members feel your company is investing in their careers, they are more likely to stay.
Develop a Strong Leadership Pipeline
Training and developing talent also touches senior leadership.
Effective leadership is a major concern for organizations. In the 2016 Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report, 89 percent of executives rated the need to strengthen, re-engineer and improve organizational leadership as an important priority (and more than half said their organizations weren’t ready to meet current leadership needs).
Training helps grow employees from within and develop strong future leaders who are invested in the company. It nurtures succession pipelines so that companies can cultivate and promote exceptional talent from within the organization.
Learning new technology and skills sparks innovation and new ideas. Although spending varies by industry, across the board, high-performing companies spend more on training. Training can also help employees perform their current jobs more efficiently, improving productivity and performance.
By offering a training development program, you show your employees that you’re invested in their wellbeing and internal success. Training development programs are a great way to bring people together within a company or organization.
Typically, those who share a similar skill set feel more comfortable working together and sharing new ideas. Specific training courses can also create job fulfillment or spark innovation and drive.
Consistency creates quality and accurate work. Mundane tasks and duties often lose their high quality over time as processes become outdated.
Having access to a training development program keeps everyone on the same page and creates an overarching process that everyone can adhere to.
Employee training and development programs are also helpful for creating consistent onboarding and new hire practices and processes.
Enhance Company Reputation
Developing a reputable brand from the start is imperative to attracting the right employees. While many factors determine a company’s reputation, training programs are a natural starting point.
Some of the best recruits naturally look for companies that offer training programs to ensure the company is up-to-date with industry standards.
How to Create an Employee Training and Development Program
Effective training programs are difficult to implement. You may already have a training program in place but aren’t seeing results. Common training challenges include engaging employees, delivering consistent training, tracking skills and ROI and quantifying training effectiveness.
Here's how to set up a results-driven employee training and development program in your organization.
1. Identify Skill Gaps
Most training requests start with a problem. Maybe it’s a process that needs to be improved. Maybe a new manager is struggling to handle conflicts within his/her team.
To implement a successful training and development program, identify organizational and employee training needs, such as:
The best training programs address current processes and issues and also anticipate for future company needs.
Your employees are your best source of information when it comes to identifying training and performance gaps. They have firsthand knowledge of the work, processes, procedures and issues involved and can provide valuable feedback and ideas you hadn’t considered. Seek input from your team before documenting training goals.
2. Select the Right Training Methods
When rolling out an employee training program, the subject matter isn’t the only item to consider. The training method — the mode in which employees learn — also affects their retention and ability to implement those newfound skills.
Budget, location, the number of students, the type of training and your goals all impact the learning method you choose. Here are some popular training methods to evaluate:
Instructor-led training: Instructor-led training is one of the most popular and effective learning styles. This method allows instructors to directly answer specific questions and offer guidance to individuals.
Online LIVE classes: Instructors hold classes live online in a virtual classroom. Students can easily interact with their instructor and other students.
Online On-Demand courses: Pre-recorded classes, lessons and quizzes that let you go at your own pace.
Learning-as-a-Service: This new training method combines online training, mentored learning and on-demand resources to equip staff with the tools and guidance to address new challenges as they arise.
Hands-on-Training: Conducted directly on the spot, this method of training is based on the individual needs of the employee and implements real-life practices. Although this is a tedious and time-consuming approach, it can be incredibly useful if the correct resources are available.
Role-Playing: Best for more complex roles, role-playing is used in scenarios where employees can work through a potential job subjectively. The purpose of role-playing is to see how each employee reacts to different circumstances and the decisions that they would have made.
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3. Measure the Results
The best way to demonstrate the value of an employee training and development program is to show training ROI.
Once you’ve determined the goals and training method, take measurements before and after training sessions.
Did the course improve efficiency? Reduce the need to hire new employees? Determining training ROI demonstrates the value and business impact of training.
Learn how to measure training ROI here.
4. Follow Through on Action Items
The success of your training program hinges on the debrief.
After every training session, make sure employees take time to process what they’ve learned. What are the takeaways? What questions do they have? What are the action items they’re going to implement as a result?
This step ensures employees follow through and apply what they’ve learned.
5. Make Training a Part of Company Culture
Employee training and development programs go further than offering a few classes — you should weave it into your company culture.
Involve every level in the organization — from coordinators to upper management. Document training opportunities in the employee handbook, make it a company value and encourage employees to speak up when they find new educational opportunities.
Training With New Horizons
The complexity involved in rolling out an employee training and development program can prevent managers from pursuing learning opportunities for their teams.
As the world’s largest independent IT training company, New Horizons offers custom corporate training programs and course to fit every business need, from executive training to advanced technical skills.
Whether you’re looking to add a few classes to your current training repertoire or build a training program from scratch, we can help you find the right courses and training methods to achieve your organizational goals.
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