It seems that many people this time of year are all in on their personal and professional goals. But as the year progresses, many people get off track.
This can be a major hindrance when training new employees no matter the time of year. Having a proper training plan in place ensures that employees understand their job scope, have the right skill sets to do their jobs, and are set up for success. (Which in the end sets up the company for success.)
Now is the right time to set up or review your company’s training program to make sure it’s still meeting everyone’s needs from the company as a whole to individuals.
Developing a Training Program
Before you dive into planning a large program, you need to differentiate between what you think people want or need to learn about and what other managers, employees, and others know needs to be taught.
It’s why a needs assessment is the first step. We talk so often about communication within your organization, and this is another area that comes to the forefront. Assessing where problem areas or deficiencies exist can be done through surveys, small group meetings, interviews, and other ways in which you can meet people where they feel comfortable talking. Listening to both managers and employees is critical to get a full understanding of what works and what doesn’t to prioritize needs.
There are many ways you can use technology to make this information gathering step easier. Utilizing surveys to gather information and show commonalities can help make identifying program objectives easier.
Which is the second step.
To identify program objectives, take the areas for improvement and outline the skills, behaviors, knowledge, and attitudes you and others want employees to learn. Building a program includes laying out what people likely already know (or would know in the future) and what you’d like to change.
Those answers are the objectives for the training program.
From there, it’s time to design the program—and utilizing technology here is important. Based on your objectives, determine the content for the program, activities to complete the learning, and how it will be taught.
Will these training sessions be in person or online? Videos or written materials? A mixture or variations based on departments or situations could be the right solution as there are benefits and drawbacks to each style. Finding the right instructor also is important—and it doesn’t have to be the department head. Find the person who understands the processes best and who employees will listen and respond to.
And don’t forget how to follow up on the training to reinforce knowledge and skills learned through take-away materials, refresher courses, etc.
A Note on Technology and Pay
Technology can make all of this easier on you, your team, and those in training, especially to create a consistent learning environment.
Employers are incorporating e-learning, online coaching, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and learning management systems (LMSs) to train and develop their workforce, regardless of location. Of those, e-learning and an LMS can go hand-in-hand and can supplement online coaching.
Compared to other options, an LMS is a more affordable and attainable option—and the software can be used by most employers to improve efficiencies and help effectively facilitate learning and development efforts in and out of the workplace.
An LMS can increase accessibility and ensure all employees have equal onboarding and learning opportunities. Also, an LMS keeps schedule availability, location, and learning styles from holding back employees from growing professionally.
Beyond technology, proper compensation for training is a must as well to ensure equal experiences. Our new resource, Compensating Employees for Time in Lectures, Meetings and Training Under the FLSA, is a must-read companion piece to this blog.
Benefits of a Training Program
Building and implementing a training program is a lot of work, but there are a number of benefits for the company overall to implement one.
Tax implications – On-the-job training is generally considered a working condition fringe benefit for employees, so the fair market value of such training is excludable from the employees’ taxable income (assuming that the costs of training would be deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense had the employees paid for the training themselves). For you as an employer, companies can deduct training and education costs as a business expense. (Perhaps another reason to consider an LMS, but consult your accountant first.)
Increased productivity – Investing in employees not only boosts efficiency, but increases employee morale. Studies have shown that retention rates are higher for employees who have completed thorough training programs, both when hired and later on, than for employees who have not.
Reduced churn and related costs – Unintended benefits of creating a training program also include longer employee tenure and the ability to promote from within, lessening employee turnover, and boosting morale and efficiency.
Implementing a training program is just a start. Getting feedback from employees and leaders on its effectiveness is important, too. To make that easier on you, we have a simple checklist that helps you judge the quality and effectiveness of your training. Download it for free now.