Employee training is an essential function for many businesses and most large businesses have a formal training function in place. Those that don’t would be well advised to consider one; in fact, even smaller organizations can benefit. Where do you start?
Training not only helps boost the efficiency of employees—and thereby productivity and revenue—it also helps boost employee morale, which can drive increased productivity and reduce turnover. Employees who receive training that is designed to help them meet personal and professional goals tend to feel more valued. “If my employer is willing to spend the time and money to train me, they must believe there is a place for me here long term,” they think. In addition, the training they receive can help put them in a position to vie for another, high-paying job or promotion.
But, if your organization has never had a training program or you, yourself, have never developed one, where do you start? There should be sufficient thought and planning put into your training program to make it worth the time of both the trainer and the employees. Canadian human resources company Go2HR offers some basic steps any company can follow when putting together a training strategy.
Analyze Your Needs
The first step in putting together a training strategy is to look at the needs of your business. What are the types of skills, knowledge, and expertise that the employees of a successful company in your industry need to have? What are your company’s business goals and strategies? What knowledge, skills, and abilities do employees need to achieve those strategies?
Identify Skill Gaps
Next, take a look at the gaps that may exist between needed knowledge, skills, and abilities, and employee competencies. Which of the critical skills you identified do employees have? Which are they lacking? This analysis can be done on both an individual employee basis and companywide.
Ideally, your training program will imbue your employees with all the skills needed to make your company a strong competitor in your industry. But, in reality, you are going to be faced with finite resources—time and money—and there are likely some skills that are more important than others. Your prioritization should, again, be based on your company’s strategic initiatives as well as potential bottom-line impact (related to reducing costs or increasing revenue) and impacts on risk.
Plan and Deliver the Training
The final step in developing a training function is execution. The best strategy will be useless if it isn’t executed properly, so it’s important to spent sufficient time dedicated to execution once the strategy is crafted.
Training is a key element to a successful company; a formal training function can benefit most. Keep in mind, though, that “some training” is not, necessarily, better than no training. Poor training can have significant negative consequences, so it is essential that adequate thought and planning go into the development of a training strategy.