Every business understands the value of a high-quality training program. It’s universally accepted that employee training can create greater efficiencies, lower costs, and better profit margins. But there’s a big difference between an average staff training and development plan and one that will actually work.
Your average training scheme runs employees through the process quickly and churns them out as rapidly as possible. Get ‘em in, train ‘em up, and churn ‘em out.
But that’s not all that training should be. A good eLearning initiative is more thorough. It is well-thought-out, executed with care, and reviewed for improvements.
How to build an effective employee training plan
Creating effective training is not easy, but with the right plan, execution, and follow-through, you can build eLearning that truly is a valuable asset to your business.
1. Identify clear, specific goals
Somehow, when managers and HR professionals create a new employee training plan, they often neglect the important task of identifying and communicating the specific goal. They may create broad, vague, or even unstated goals, such as “we want smarter and better employees,” but this doesn’t directly help the company, nor does it identify the purpose of training.
You can start by identifying the business objectives. Whether it’s to increase productivity, improve sales conversion rates, or reduce expenses, knowing the business objectives can help you mold the goal of training.
In the end, you want a goal that looks like this:
“The goal of this training is to ensure that 75% of the staff understands how to use SharePoint.”
When you identify the specific goal of your training program, you give your employees better direction and understanding from the very beginning.
2. Prepare the training materials and make a schedule
Now that you and your employees understand where all of these efforts are headed, you can begin formulating the training materials and developing a schedule. For a business training plan, it helps to give yourself at least a couple of days (or more depending on needs) to hash it all out.
During this step, think about what your training will include, what software you’ll use, and what the schedule will be. Will employees be training for an hour every day, for example, or for two full days?
It really does help to be thorough and patient when designing a corporate eLearning course, as proper planning will help make your training as smooth as possible. Besides, employees certainly don’t want to feel like their time is being wasted on ill-prepared, fast-tracked training.
3. Develop training courses
Now that you have the goals and outlines for training materials, you can start to develop your employee training plan. This is the phase where you get to work creating the actual courses and learning paths that will help your learners acquire knowledge and skills.
If you have trouble creating your online training plan, you could consider hiring an outside partner. There are companies that specialize in creating staff training plan templates and building resources like posters, cards, and even videos. Their assistance can create quality resources that increase employee engagement. Also, ready-made courses can save you both time and money.
As a final step before bringing in the employees, give notice to your team (including supervisors) that there will be new training and certain people will attend. Be sure to send this message well in advance so busy employees have time to coordinate their schedules.
4. Implement your training program
This is the phase when you finally put the employee training plan in action.
Throughout training, you may need to slightly differentiate the actual implementation. For example, you could introduce gamification features to motivate learners or add instructor-led training and video conferencing sessions to make sure employees retain new knowledge.
Likewise, you might notice that employees complete their training faster or more slowly than you had originally planned. This means you should adjust the training schedule based on your learners’ needs.
At this point, don’t underestimate the importance of break time throughout the day. Numerous studies emphasize that downtime is not just good for morale, it actually helps the brain absorb more information. When you are implementing your corporate training, be sure to allow a few 5 or 10-minute breaks throughout the day to allow team members to maintain effective learning potential.
5. Revise, rework, and repeat
The United States Army has a review system called the AAR, for “After-Action Review.” This is a formal procedure used after any operation, project, or event. From Army engineers who built a bridge to elite troops who performed a covert operation, the AAR remains an important part of enhancing the military’s effectiveness.
No matter who uses it, the point remains the same: to identify what happened, why it happened, and what can be done to improve outcomes.
You can use the principle of an AAR to improve your training procedures.
The post-training assessment should be done at a few different times, starting immediately after the employee training plan has been completed. During this assessment, you can look at factors like
- How was the training received? Did team members seem eager to participate? Did enthusiasm seem to grow or decline?
- How did employees perform in testing and quizzes?
A month or two down the line, you can ask questions like:
- Have employees implemented the skills learned during training?
- Has there been a quantifiable business result?
- Have the initial goals been met? Are we closer to meeting our goals?
After every training round, and at certain intervals, take the time to assess your program and make appropriate changes. With practice, patience, and honest feedback, you can create a training plan that enhances your business and brings greater success to you and your team members.
3 extra tips for a successful staff training plan
While the way you build and apply an employee training plan could differ based on your company needs, here are three tips that will help you make your learning program a success:
1. Use newly-acquired skills immediately
Your employees have a lot to remember, and forgetting information or losing skills is all too common if those skills aren’t applied. Don’t wait a week or even a day to implement the skills learned during a training program. Whenever possible, use them right away — as in today.
The very moment that someone returns from a training program, give them a real assignment or task that directly uses their new skills or knowledge. If possible, you may even want to delay tasks that require the new skills until training is complete. This will give the employee a real-world situation immediately after training.
2. Submerge your employees
No, we don’t mean dunk their heads in cold water! You should, though, at some point during training, allow your employees to work directly in a real situation (or as close as possible) with whatever training you are implementing.
No one has ever learned to swim by watching videos. Eventually, they need to jump in; they need to be submerged in the tools or techniques you want them to implement.
For tech tools, this is easy. Just give employees time to use and experiment with the software. For skills like sales techniques, it may require role-playing or other creative solutions.
3. Conduct a post-training survey
As part of your post-training assessment, consider creating a survey that allows team members to share their thoughts and feedback on training. This information will help improve your training plan template for employees in the future.
Make this one of your permanent steps in developing a training program and you’ll eventually have a world-class eLearning initiative and a world-class team.
Create a world-class training plan with the right tech
Use these steps and tips to create the right kind of training for your business. A quality staff training plan template can be increasingly valuable to the long-term success of your organization, so keep these tips in mind and you’ll position your company as a leader in your industry.
Make sure that you use a feature-rich LMS where you can quickly create different kinds of training content, and get useful insights about how learners engage with training. This way, you can leave all the admin work to your LMS, and you can focus on improving your employee training plan.