5 tips for an effective employee training program

by L&D31 Oct 2016
Organisations spent a lot of money hiring new employees, which is why it’s important that you get the most out of their investment.

Providing ongoing training and ensuring that the skills your new employee receives are relevant to their position are only a couple of considerations you need to take on board as a manager.

An effective employee training program can mean the difference between a rewarding investment and a waste of valuable time and money, so if your business is growing, this should be a priority.

An article recently published in the Huffington Post compiled five basic tips that have helped countless other growing businesses develop and perfect their programs:

1. Identify clear goals and outcomes

Any good program starts with clear and definable goals. Training merely for the purpose of having it is futile. You need concrete outcomes in order to stand any chance of deploying materials and a curriculum that add value to your firm.

2. Establish a consistent schedule
Effective training is all about consistency. Instead of trying to cram all of your company’s required training into a three-day period at the end of the calendar year, try spreading things out and commit to a couple hours of training every week or month.

This kind of consistency not only lessens the burden on your company, but it also raises the probability that your employees will become committed to ongoing learning. (They’ll also retain more information this way.)

3. Give employees a say in the curriculum
Though you’ll have the final say over which curriculum your organisation uses for its training programs, don’t deny your employees the opportunity to get involved. Ask them about concepts and topics they feel would help them grow as employees, leaders, etc. There’s a lot of potential value in getting their input, and you may stumble across some ideas you hadn’t previously considered.

4. Bridge the gap between knowledge and action
One of the biggest mistakes organisations too often make is failing to bridge the gap between knowledge and action. In other words, they expend generous amounts of time and money on training, but don’t give employees a timely opportunity to transfer the knowledge they’ve acquired into action.

Employee training expert Julie Winkle Giulioni believes in developing an action plan: “Organisations, leaders and individuals invest heavily in training and development through traditional classroom-based workshops, e-learning, webinars, apps, mentoring, experiences, and more,” Giulioni explains.

“But formal and informal learning efforts fall short of the full range of possible outcomes if we don’t metaphorically cross the finish line by bringing the learning to life. Action planning is what does this, bridging insights and intentions to results.”

You can increase the odds that your employees will convert knowledge into action by setting them up for success. Always enable employees to debrief before they leave any training session.
Ask questions like “What will you do differently now that you know X?” Host follow-up meetings with your team to see what progress they’re making. Simple things like these can have a significant impact.

5. Make an Investment in Your Future
Employee training is designed to equip your employees with the skills and knowledge needed to become better professionals in their own careers. But it ultimately benefits your business more than any other party.

An investment in a robust training program is an investment in your future. Is that an investment you’re willing to make? This is a situation where the benefits can far outweigh the costs.