In “Aligning Employee Training With Company Objectives,” we discussed the importance of aligning employee training with broader business goals and corporate strategy. Training with a focus on company strategy and goals ensures staff are best prepared to carry out that strategy on a tactical, day-to-day level and ensures they are focused on those goals.
In this post, we’ll discuss some concrete steps for how to achieve that alignment in practice. We reviewed a number of articles on this subject, including those by John Laskaris for Talent LMS, Nikos Andriotis for efront, and Suresh DN for eLearning Industry. All of these articles suggested steps to align training with corporate strategy. We’ve pulled a bit from each to put together our own seven steps.
Be Clear on the Goals
The first step is to simply understand what the company’s strategic goals are. It’s surprising how many employees—even those in leadership roles—are not clear on this basic information. Training departments should work with company leaders to ensure clarity on those goals.
Identifying the gaps in achieving company goals is similar to a project road map. You know where you are now, and you know where you want to be. The difference is in the gaps. It could be a lack of name recognition in the market, production inefficiencies, poor customer service, etc.
Define Skills Needed to Close Those Gaps
Once a company knows what its gaps are, it can more clearly define the skills needed to close those gaps. For example, a company that has a problem with the quality of its end products might need to develop greater skills in process improvement and quality control.
Develop a Training Program
Once the needed skills are identified, it should be fairly straightforward to develop a training program to help employees learn required skills. Chances are other organizations have already conducted such training; there’s likely to be plenty of existing material to review and draw from.
This isn’t necessarily as straightforward as it sounds. Effective delivery includes identifying those who will get the training and making sure those staff attend and are engaged in the training initiative. Today, it also involves offering training in various formats to meet individual learner needs and preferences.
After sufficient time has passed, measure to see how employees have improved in the skills being trained. Quantifying and communicating training results are good ways to justify the costs—in terms of both time and money—for creating and conducting training efforts.
Iterate and Repeat
Finally, understand that companies will rarely get things 100% right on the first try. Based on measured results, make any necessary modifications to the training material and process and repeat. Iterate and repeat.
Training for training’s sake is almost always a waste of time and resources. Instead, companies need to focus their training efforts on skills and knowledge that will help them achieve their objectives in the future. The steps above can provide a road map for how to make that alignment happen.