Do you plan to implement a formalized employee development program? It is an investment that is likely to pay off. Organizations with a career development program in place benefit from up to 250% more productivity. And the benefits don’t stop there. Reduced turnoverhigher employee contract levels, increased innovation and better risk management are some of the added benefits companies realize when they implement a formal training and career development program. Training doubles as a recruiting tool – you’re more likely to attract and retain good employees if you provide them with development opportunities.
If your company doesn’t have a training and development program in place, it can seem daunting to get started. But it doesn’t have to. Here are five basic things to keep in mind as you work to implement an effective and efficient employee training and development solution in your organization.
1. Think of it as an investment
Business owners and leaders tend to view employee training as an optional expense – and that mindset can prove very costly to your organization in the long run. When you view employee development and training as just another expense, you neglect it. Instead, think of it as an investment that can prove extremely valuable to the success and long-term growth of your organization.
2. Remember you are planning a program, not an event
A training program is more than just a series of unrelated courses or workshops. It should reflect the goals of your organization, as well as the needs of your staff. What is important is that your staff training program has a purpose behind its structure. A series of stand-alone presentations or activities may have some value, but they will not benefit the staff or the organization as much as a training program that forms a cohesive whole. Take the time to define and expand your course offering, aligning it with your business needs and goals. Document the desired outcomes of each course and determine how you will measure and track those outcomes.
3. Involve your staff
Be sure to involve staff members in the planning and implementation of your training program. The people actually doing the work are usually in the best position to determine what their needs are. Ask questions, gather feedback, and structure training opportunities that meet employees where they are and take them where they want or need to go. Training breeds engagement and engaged employees are happier and more productive.
4. Incorporate the basics – but don’t stop there
Companies often decide to implement a training program to address compliance issues (think OSHA or the Department of Labor), manage risk ((think sexual harassment and diversity training) and/or or professional certification or credential tracking (think nurses, teachers or commercial truck drivers) – and these are certainly areas that benefit from a formalized approach to training. job is another common (and laudable) goal of an employee training program.
When planning your training program, consider expanding it into a full-fledged employee development program. Think of training as a retention tool, helping to retain and engage employees. One idea would be to offer career development courses, allowing employees to prepare for promotion. Staff are more likely to stay if you provide them with ways to learn and grow within your company. Don’t give them a reason to move on by letting them stagnate once they’ve mastered the initial tasks.
5. Take advantage of technology
A training and development initiative will not succeed if it is not easy to sustain. Companies often rely on spreadsheets, Word documents, and calendar reminders to track employee training. Usually these programs were started when the company was much smaller or trained fewer people. A disjointed system like this forces administrators to enter data in multiple places, making reporting, analyzing, and sharing data nearly impossible. While this may work when your training needs are minimal, as you grow this system becomes too laborious.
Employee training, with the myriad of details to track, is an ideal candidate for automation. Not so long ago, learning management software was only within the financial reach of the biggest companies. But now there are affordable learning management solutions available to small and medium businesses. Give your initiative the best chance of success by setting up an easy-to-manage infrastructure that is both scalable and accessible.
Interested in more? Check out my company’s best practice guide –