Did you know that many organizations are opting to create training programs for employees that are more personalized rather than generic or role-based? These training plans take into account not only the role the individual is training for but also the individual’s future goals and any gaps in that person’s skill set.
This trend is made possible because of technology. Today, there are dozens of online platforms that can handle every aspect of training, including:
- Assessing individual skill levels through testing;
- Outlining what training courses are needed for each role (and each individual) throughout the organization;
- Tracking which courses have been completed by each individual employee;
- Monitoring compliance for any training session that is legally mandated;
- Showing employees what training sessions are available within the organization;
- Storing actual training documents, such as presentations, handouts, and more;
- Testing learner knowledge after a training session through posttests to ensure the session was effective;
- Allowing individuals to search for specific types of training and other resources;
- Allowing individuals to take training courses in the format they prefer (in some instances), whether that be in-person, online, or even on a mobile device;
- Providing immediate access to online training and informal resources;
- Allowing employees to comment on content and interact with one another and with trainers;
- Providing training certificates for course completions; and
- Providing reports with any of the above information, plus much more.
Technology enables all of these actions; it is up to the organization to decide which aspects to focus on and utilize as they set up their system.
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Why Create Personalized Training Plans?
You may be thinking that this sounds like a lot of effort and expense—and if it’s done haphazardly, it could be. But if personalized training plans are implemented as part of a larger focus on training and productivity improvements, there’s no reason they cannot be a win-win for both employers and employees.
Here are a few of the benefits for employers:
- Fewer skills shortages, because employees get trained in what they need;
- More satisfied employees who feel that their employer is investing in their development, which leads to increased morale and retention;
- Increased productivity from employees who are properly trained for their roles and who are brought up to speed more quickly;
- Less wasted time for unnecessary training (i.e., when employees are put through training simply because it’s required, not because they need it);
- Higher customer satisfaction, because employees are well-trained in how to serve the customer best; and
- Better employee retention of training materials, because employees can take training in smaller chunks at their own discretion—the learning is reinforced more frequently over time.
Here are three more benefits for organizations and employees:
- The organization can be more competitive with employees who have skill sets closely aligned with their roles;
- The organization can gain a reputation as an employer that cares about employee development, which can lead to better-qualified applicants; and
- More employees will benefit from training if they have the option to take it in a format that is best suited to their learning style. The training has the potential to be more effective when personalized, even if the same content is covered across all employees.
How Do You Implement Personalized Employee Training Plans?
Even if you’re already on board with the idea of implementing personalized training plans for employees, it can be daunting to think about how to implement it in practice. There are quite a few ways to do it, so individual employers can opt to customize their implementation in a way that works best for them.
Here are just a few examples:
- Incorporate training and employee development into the performance management system so that it can be paired with employee goals.
- Convert some training to online versions to allow employees to take additional training sessions as their time allows. Obviously, this is not possible for every type of training, but it can be useful in many cases and can often be used for portions of courses even when it cannot be used for the full course. For example, if an employee needs to attend a live training session on a particular topic, online options could still be used to provide prereading, handouts, and pretests to assess skill levels in advance of the session.
- Implement a learning management system (LMS) that will assist in tracking training needs. This could also allow employees to pick and choose optional training sessions to attend, especially if some of those options are available online rather than only through live courses.
Has your organization begun to implement more personalized training options? What methods did you use? What are your next steps?
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Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments, including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.
This article first appeared in our sister publication, HR Daily Advisor.