A training program that results in wiser, happier, more loyal employees might be considered successful, right? But what if those employees successfully learned a bunch of skills that contribute nothing toward their productivity or the organization’s strategic goals? What if they’re wiser and happier, but not any better equipped to move the organization closer to its vision?
Here’s the thing. The perfect training is not just about the employee. It’s about the organization’s needs, too. Perfect training is where training goals meet business objectives in a win-win kind of situation. So, how do you create the perfect training?
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 Development Objectives
4: Communicate training purpose and objectives
5: Deliver the perfect training
6: Support new 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 the future? Oh, the future is something that you have power 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 less ambiguous they are, the easier they’ll be to measure.
Step 2: Find the Gaps
Next, you’ll want to find out how well (or not so well) your employees are performing according to these business goals. This process is often referred to as a training needs analysis (TNA).
Do employees have the right skills, knowledge, 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 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 lead employees to learn the KSA’s they need to achieve the business vision.
So if your business objective is to reduce production time, your learning and development goals would probably relate to upskilling staff to use machinery more efficiently and manage their time more effectively.
Step 4: Communicate training purpose and objectives
By now you fully understand the purpose of training, and how completing it will help employees to achieve the business’ goals and vision. The question is, do they?
Studies have found that only 12% of employees actually apply their new skills from training to the workplace. There’s a good chance that the other 88% don’t apply their new skills because they don’t understand how they will contribute to the organization’s goals.
That’s why it’s so important to clearly communicate the purpose of training, 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.
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.
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Step 6: Support new learning in the workplace
Once training is complete, your employees are going to be excited to test drive their new found 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
It’s been said that Benjamin Franklin was a strong believer in lifelong learning, and 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 these are all 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, how much closer the business is to achieving their 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 learning and development 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!