In an effort to engage employees in training, companies often focus on making their courses fun and interactive and forget about the essence. That is, they forget to align training objectives with business objectives.
From teamwork skills to COI compliance, training should first and foremost serve your business goals. What do you want to accomplish? How can employee training get you there? When you put pen down to paper to write your training goals, remember one phrase: eyes on the prize.
It’s not always clear how you can align training goals with business objectives; let alone create engaging training at the same time. That’s why we’ve created this 7-step strategy to help you stay on the right track. The secrets to perfect training, with concrete training goals examples, are revealed right below.
The 7-step strategy to align training goals with business objectives
Aligning training to business needs has a positive impact on the organization. And the better the organization does, the more its employees benefit from a stable job, year-end bonuses, and career advancement opportunities. Fortunately, all of this can be accomplished with a 7-step, rinse-and-repeat strategy. Almost as easy as 1-2-3!
1: Define the future
2: Find the gaps
3: Set strategic training and development objectives
4: Communicate training purpose and objectives
5: Deliver the perfect training
6: Support continuous learning in the workplace
7: Measure and repeat
Let’s look at them one by one.
Step 1: Define the future
The past is the past, but what about the future? Oh, the future is something that you have control over. This strategy begins by focusing on the vision, mission, and goals that make the future of your business an exciting one.
Are you aiming to halve your production time? Double your customer base? Or maybe you want to expand operations to at least two more cities before year-end? Whatever your business goals, make sure to define them clearly and SMARTly. The SMART goals definition is simple: aim for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
Step 2: Find the gaps
Next, you’ll want to find out how well (or not so well) your employees are performing against these business goals. This process is often referred to as a training needs analysis (TNA).
Do employees have the right knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA’s) to achieve the organization’s vision? If not, what are they missing? And how appropriate have existing training programs been in developing the KSA’s required to reach business goals?
Step 3: Set strategic training and development objectives
This step is all about setting objectives of training and development to fill the gaps identified in Step 2. Here, the focus should be on developing training objectives that will help employees get the KSA’s they need to achieve the business vision.
So if your business objective is to reduce production time, your training goals should be to upskill employees to use machinery more efficiently and manage their time more effectively.
Step 4: Communicate training purpose and objectives
It’s not enough to align training goals with business objectives. It might be obvious to you how training will help employees reach business goals. But does this mean that employees can make the connection between training and business goals? Not unless you clearly communicate the purpose of training.
Employees need to understand how completing training helps the business to reach its objectives for learning and development, and how that moves the organization closer to its longer-term vision.
Every new skill they learn improves their performance on the job and brings the organization closer to its mission. When employees understand the purpose of training, they will be more committed to it.
Step 5: Deliver the perfect training
Start the drum roll, because the time has arrived to deliver training that you can be confident will benefit both employees and the business. But this is still not the time to relax. Because your training needs to be engaging, accessible, convenient, and suited to your target audience if it’s going to be effective.
Depending on who you’re training, and what skills and knowledge they need to learn, you might consider eLearning. With the help of a powerful Learning Management System (LMS), you can tailor learning content, design, and delivery to suit your learners.
Build your online training courses in minutes with TalentLMS
The learning management system that’s easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to customize.
Step 6: Support continuous learning in the workplace
Once training is complete, your employees are going to be excited to test-drive their newfound knowledge and skills in the workplace. But if their colleagues and managers don’t support these new behaviors, then you can be sure that employees will return to the old way of doing things.
So, for training to have a lasting impact on achieving learning and development goals, create a workplace culture that supports continuous learning. From leadership levels and down, there should be active encouragement for employees to practice their skills in the workplace.
Step 7: Measure and repeat
Benjamin Franklin, a strong believer in lifelong learning, once said that “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. So how do you measure that interest?
Measuring the return on training investment involves a number of criteria, like training completion rates, learner feedback, performance in training. But tracking employee training progress is linked to the learning itself.
Take measurement a step further by returning to those SMART business goals and employee performance objectives. Evaluate the change or improvement in employee performance, and how much closer the business is to achieving its strategic goals. Then, with areas for improvement in mind, return to Step 1!
If you’ve still got some questions about setting training goals that support business objectives, have a look at these additional resources:
What’s the point? The main objectives of training and development in an organization
Different training programs need to accomplish different outcomes, and will often have different types of learning objectives, like:
- Affective, and
Understanding the reasons behind your training will help you to better communicate your development objectives in Step 4 of your strategy. The main training objectives examples include:
- To gain new knowledge or information that helps employees to do a job well
- To learn physical skills, like using physical machinery quickly and efficiently
- To influence employee attitudes and perceptions toward learning or organizational change
- To develop social skills, like leadership or teamwork abilities
Whatever the reason behind your training, it’s important that you set training goals that are easy to measure, relevant to your business objectives, and realistic to achieve. If you need some extra help on setting realistic training objectives, check out this article that offers 5 easy tips.
Training goals and objectives examples
We mentioned earlier that business goals should be SMART. That’s specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Well, the training goals that you set in Step 3 of your strategy should be SMART, too. If they’re not, your training isn’t going to be perfect.
We know that showing is often better than telling, so here are some SMART training goals examples that align with the hypothetical business objective to halve production time.
- Upskill the operations manager to increase production line efficiencies and reduce production time by 25% within the next 6 months.
- Train the production team in machinery handling and operating to reduce production time by 25% within the next 6 months.
Both of these training goals are specific (production line efficiencies and machinery handling), measurable (25%), attainable (possible to action through training), relevant (they support the business objective), and time-bound (6 months).
Ready to create the perfect training? Let us know of any additional tips in the comments below!