Benefits of training and development programs
Of course, there is a cost to develop these programs. In addition to the financial investment, training takes employees away from the normal course of business. But many organizations find that developing these programs is worth the cost. Consider these benefits:
- Increased productivity and adherence to quality standards. A trained, knowledgeable workforce is essential to achieving high productivity, consistency and increased efficiency.
- Eliminating weaknesses before they become big problems. A solid training program helps employees strengthen their skills and identify weak areas that have the potential to disrupt productivity.
- Improved employee satisfaction, performance and retention. Training programs show employees that their companies value them and are willing to invest in their future, so employees feel appreciated. Also, enhancing their knowledge base and skill set boosts confidence.
- Staying innovative and competitive. Having effective training and development programs keeps companies vibrant, creative and forward-thinking. They also are an excellent recruiting tool – people want to work at companies that promise to teach new ideas and offer opportunities for growth.
Creating an effective employee training and development program
Planning is critical in setting up an effective training program for your employees. Here are five steps you can take to plan for and implement a program to help ensure that you will get a solid return on your investment:
- Perform an assessment: The first step is to assess where gaps are in areas such as productivity, quality assurance and employee satisfaction. Conduct interviews with, and surveys of, supervisors and workers. Find out if new employees are taking a long time to find their stride, or if bottlenecks are affecting your bottom line,? Is your competition offering more effective training programs? Do employees feel that there are areas in which they need more support?
- Consult with experts: If you don’t have in-house training experts, consider consulting with outside professionals who can help you put together an employee training plan and produce appropriate materials. You could hire an instructional designer or work with a local public school or community college. You could also partner with a governmental agency that already provides just the kind of training you’re looking for.
- Develop a targeted training and development plan: Your training and development plan should specify learning objectives that aim to strengthen weak points. The plan should include an analysis of problem areas and how the program will address each one. It should describe what the programs will entail – for example, whether they are classes to be offered on-site or individual online learning sessions – a budget that shows all expenses, what kind of awards or certifications trainees will receive after completing the program, and how results will be measured.
- Conduct a test program: Once your plan is approved, but before you set it into motion, conduct a pilot training session to see what works well and which areas need tweaking. It’s much easier to identify and work out bugs at this stage than when the full program is underway. You should have the participants fill out a survey to evaluate what parts they feel worked well and where they feel improvements are needed.
- Measure training results: Measuring the results of the program is likely the most important step. Interview and survey supervisors and workers to find out whether the desired changes are coming to fruition. Are managers seeing improved behaviours? Are employees feeling more successful? Ask participants to quantitatively express those changes. For example, are workers putting in less overtime due to improved productivity? Do the numbers tell you that productivity has increased in the way you had expected?
Companies of all sizes can benefit from implementing well thought out employee training and development programs. They help organizations remain innovative and competitive, while increasing employee motivation and satisfaction.