Training is an integral part of employee development and organizational growth, but it’s not without risks. In Part 1 of this two-part series, we outlined several different training mistakes that employers will want to avoid.
- Don’t “set it and forget it.” When it comes to effective training programs, there are a lot of steps involved in following up and ensuring the training was effective. Just because an employee was marked as “present” for a training session doesn’t mean he or she actually retained anything as a result. Consider implementing means of measuring employee knowledge about the training topic before and after the training is completed. This acts as a way to ensure that the lessons are being learned. For example, one option for skills training would be pre- and post-tests or informal surveys. These can gauge employee understanding of a skill and can be a concrete means to see how effective the training was.
- Don’t forget to have concrete goals in mind when creating a training program. Know why you’re conducting the training and what you (and the employees) will get out of it. Have a way to measure the outcomes and see how effective the training is.
- Don’t forget to fully vet the trainer. If your trainer is in-house, be sure that person is already well-trained on the topic. Be sure he or she has a positive attitude and is ready to answer questions and not get frustrated. If the trainer is a third party, you’ll also want to check references, ensure he or she is an expert in the field, and confirm that he or she understands your industry well enough to apply the concepts to your specific situation.
- Don’t forget that the training should be customized to the audience. Even when the same materials are being presented, different audiences will have different requirements. The training must take into consideration different skill and experience levels, and it must have examples that are relevant for the current audience. It should also take into account the end use of the training for that audience. In order to keep the training specific to the audience, this may mean training is separated into several training sessions among similarly situated groups.
- Don’t try to do too much at once. Most people cannot retain extreme amounts of information. The training will be ineffective if presented in a way that does not allow retention. Don’t pack too much into a short period or cram too much into one session.
- Don’t provide training without having any way to document who received it. Depending on the topic at hand, documentation of training may be a matter of legal compliance, which is one reason it’s important to have a way to monitor attendance and other critical information. For any training, however, the organization will want to have a way to keep track of who has and has not attended.
- Don’t forget to incorporate any training into an employee’s development plan. Training should be a part of a comprehensive employee development plan, and the organization should have a way to know who has been trained (and who needs to be trained) on any given topic. This can be accomplished in many different ways, including software options that can track employee training. Ideally, each role would have a list of required and optional training to pursue, and each employee would have a development plan that incorporates training along the way.
Take a look at Part 1 of this series and let us know what other training lessons you have learned along the way.