Anyone reading this post already agrees with the notion that training and development for employees is extremely important. But the devil is really in the details, and no detail is more important than understanding exactly what your training requires.
Do they need to be better at customer service? Which elements of customer service? Do they need to learn how to be more competitive in the industry? What skills do they need to be more competitive?
Many companies spend tremendous amounts of time, money, and effort teaching skills, knowledge, and processes that aren’t really needed or aren’t as important as other gaps. Let’s look at a process for identifying a company’s training needs.
Document Your Objectives
What is it that your organization is trying to achieve? This has many layers. At the highest level, you want to be successful. But, does this mean attaining greater market share? Becoming a quality leader? The low-price leader?
Define Your Expectations for Your Staff
Given your business objectives, think carefully with your management and HR teams about the key qualifications and expectations of the job functions within the business. What would the ideal person in Position X look like? What skills would he or she have? What knowledge would he or she possess?
Evaluate Where You Are Now
Develop or adopt some metrics to gauge where your employees fall on key skill and knowledge components. Do they perform poorly on customer service surveys? Do they lack knowledge of major industry trends?
Do a Gap Analysis
The gap analysis is really the difference between Steps 2 and 3. The gap in your employee development is the space between your ideal employees and your current employees. This is a big chunk of where you should be focusing your training efforts.
It’s important to get employees’ buy-in and feedback on your training initiatives. It doesn’t mean they have veto power over the training they’re required to perform or even that they help define it directly. But employees themselves often have a good idea of where they feel they are lacking in their jobs or what skills they wish they had.
Buying into the need for employee training and development is a crucial first step for any organization. But for any training program to become truly effective, you also need to make sure you’re training for the right outcomes.