How To Plan Your Employee Training Program In 5 Steps
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The 5 Key Steps To Effective Employee Training Program Planning

Organizations turn to employee training and development to prepare for the future. Training helps them refresh their workforce, adopt new technologies, and enter new markets. A badly planned or wrongly executed corporate training plan, however, can sabotage these efforts and hold a company back, costing it millions in lost revenue.

In this article, we'll walk you through the 5 crucial steps in developing a training program, and explore the do’s and don’ts of creating a comprehensive employee training plan.

1. Find Out What You Need To Teach

Before you start working on your training plan, you need to develop a clear understanding of your company’s training needs.

Those needs will generally fall into one of three categories:

  • Skills that your current employees have and you need to teach to new hires
  • Skills that your workforce must gain to improve its existing workflows
  • Skills that your employees need to support a new product or market

Pre-employment training, onboarding and new employee training usually cater to the first category, whereas regular employee training tackles the second and third one. Depending on where your organization currently stands and what its goals are, you might be called to handle some or all of the above in your training.

Don’t try to guess what your company’s employee training needs are, especially if your company is above a certain size. Engage with your company’s decision-makers to learn about the company’s plans, and talk with regular employees to gain an understanding of their current skills and training needs. Don’t expect either group to spell a full training curriculum out for you. Use the information you’ve gathered during your inquiry. Combine it with your intuition to align training goals with business incentives. You might get it wrong at first - don’t worry, everybody does.

2. Take Inventory Of Your Training Resources

You need more than a list of training needs to build an employee training plan. You also need to know what resources you have available, what your budget is, and how much organizational support you can look forward to in implementing your staff training and development plan.

Here’s a training resource checklist you can use:

  • Are there existing training materials that you can reuse (Word documents, presentations, videos, and so on)?
  • Do you have the in-house knowledge and resources (content creators, video equipment, etc) required to build your training content?
  • Do you have the budget to hire training experts to create custom training content for your company?
  • Do you have access to classroom space for in-person training sessions?
  • Are there commercial courses available that cover some of your training needs?
  • Can you leverage the tons of freely available training resources online and offline?

If you want to properly organize your employee training program, you’ll need the answers to these questions. This will also help you plan for content creation more effectively. Employee and company time is also a finite resource.

Ask employees how much time they can devote to their studying, and take their answers into consideration when designing your curriculum. Work employee shifts, time zone differences, and peak business hours in your training timetables. Those are especially important when scheduling in-person training sessions that require real-time attendance.

3. Get Help From Management

Employees have a lot on their plates already. The last thing they need is another distraction, which is how training appears to them. Left to themselves, they’ll ignore it and focus on their everyday workflows and responsibilities.

To get employees to take their learning seriously, you’ll need help from their managers and team leaders. Management should emphasize how important the employee training program is to the company, and encourage employees to participate. Buy-in from management is also necessary to secure the funding to cover the software, equipment, instructors, and content required for your employee training plan.

For this, you’ll need a well-thought-out pitch covering the overall training and development process, with convincing arguments for why it's necessary, what needs it addresses, and what its ROI will be. Involve management in the design and implementation of your plan early on. This will get them invested in it, and help get your vision approved more easily. With management on your side, you’ll be able to bypass company bureaucracy and move forward faster.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget those managers once your training program is up and running. Use your LMS’s reporting system to keep them in the loop. You’ll need their cooperation when it's time to change the curriculum or update your training plan.

4. Integrate Feedback Mechanisms

No training program is perfect from the get-go, so don’t treat your training plan like it was written in stone. Have the courage and flexibility to change things when necessary. To identify problems in your employee development program early on, you should be constantly tracking its progress and gathering feedback from learners and stakeholders.

Here’s what will help you in this process:

  • Monitor test scores and reports for problematic courses (e.g., the hardest, more unpopular, or less engaging ones)
  • Run surveys for learners to evaluate their courses and instructors
  • Ask instructors to criticize the content and suggest improvements
  • Ask managers to evaluate employee post-training performance

Re-evaluate your training curriculum as your company grows and its goals change. Get rid of outdated content, add new courses, and revisit existing ones to train employees in new skills and workflows.

5. Create A Detailed Employee Training Plan

The final step, of course, is to write down your plan.

But don’t just jot down a high-level description and call it a day. Take the time to create a complete blueprint of your staff training plan.

This should include:

  • A detailed breakdown of your curriculum
  • Which content creation tools you need (e.g., video cameras)
  • A content creation, reuse, and acquisition plan
  • How many, and which, instructors you need to assign or hire
  • How many, and which, physical classrooms or training spaces you’ll need
  • A general schedule for the overall training
  • Precise dates and times of in-person training sessions (webinar or classroom-based)
  • Which training software you need to buy/subscribe to
  • The kind of IT support that you’ll need (e.g., for LMS installation)
  • Scheduled sessions to inform employees about their upcoming training
  • Evaluation criteria and performance metrics for the effectiveness of your training

...plus any other information you’ll need to put your staff development training in action.

In companies with many stakeholders, training logistics are harder and red tape slows things down. A detailed blueprint of your employee training plan will give you a headstart and spare you from trouble and head-scratching later on.

Conclusion

Designing a training program for employees needs careful planning and a lot of thought. But by following these steps, your process will become much easier.

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