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What it takes to maintain competitive advantage has occupied the C-suite for decades. Sure, unique products and customer success can sustain your edge.
But what about outpacing and breaking away from the pack of competitors?
Today, the way to outsmart competition is by focusing on employee growth and development. That’s why close to half of companies (49 percent) increased their learning and development (L&D) budget in 2022, according to a Capterra survey of 300 HR leaders.
Most organizations understand the importance of developing an employee training program, but many need help to create an effective one.
Discover how to prioritize employee development and create a training program to set your team members up for success.
How to develop an employee training program
Identify employee training needs
The first step to developing an effective employee training program is identifying employees’ training needs. Start by assessing team members’ skills and knowledge and compare them with the skills and knowledge required for their jobs.
You can uncover skill gaps through employee performance reviews, surveys, and direct observation.
Training gap analysis
A training gap analysis puts your L&D resources to good use. It determines the gap between current and desired behaviors and whether your training is closing that skill gap.
The key steps to conduct an effective training gap analysis are:
- Define your training objectives. Identify the problem or pain point you want to address and why prioritizing this training goal will help your organization. For example, teams should understand how automation impacts their roles if you’re adding AI into your software testing process.
- Identify the current skill level of employees. Use a mix of interviews, surveys, and observations to understand employees’ skill sets.
- Compare the current skill level to the desired skill level. List the expected behaviors of a particular role or level. Determine if employees have the skill sets to meet these behaviors.
- Develop a plan to address identified training needs. Consult with managers and subject matter experts to create a plan to resolve the skills gap.
- Implement the plan. Present your plan to stakeholders to get budget and approval. Then implement it for the individuals who need it.
Once you have identified employees’ specific training needs, you can develop a program to address those needs.
Business objective alignment
Every employee training program must align with strategic business objectives. Changing marketplaces and workplace roles require your program to be agile and prioritize skills that add value.
Training often aligns with the following business objectives:
- Increase revenue
- Expand operations
- Improve productivity
- Increase regulatory compliance
- Reduce expenses
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to developing business goals. Instead, it depends on where you see your organization in the future.
Keep adult learning principles top-of-mind
The “art and science of teaching adults,” or andragogy, as coined by educator Malcolm Knowles, states that older people do not process or retain information the same way as kids.
L&D teams must consider adult and individual learning styles to create effective programs.
Consider the following principles for developing your employee training program:
- Adults prefer self-directed learning. They prefer working at their own pace in their own way.
- They can draw on life experience to assist with learning.
- They have the willingness to learn when transitioning into new roles. Adults are more eager to learn when it involves a career change or if a promotion hinges on learning a new skill.
- They focus on immediately applying new knowledge to real-life situations and problems.
- They tend to be internally motivated rather than externally. Career success, the prestige of certification, or a better salary are all reasons for adults to learn.
Keep these principles in mind as you develop your employee training program to ensure that it’s effective and engaging for team members.
Identify and develop learning objectives
The purpose of learning is rooted in change. You must understand your training program objectives, whether changing a process or how people think.
This helps L&D teams understand:
- What learners should do with the information
- How to measure program success
Here are the steps to define a learning objective, with an example:
- Decide who you want to train
- Account Executives
- Determine the highest level of learning the audience must achieve
- AE must be at a IV Analyzing level (or whichever level system you use for your organization)
- Identify what the audience needs to do with training
- Compare and contrast between our product and competitor A
- Define 1 to 3 measurable ways for the audience to retain the knowledge
- Be able to explain three kill shots
- Combine the above information to craft your learning objective
- Distinguish our product from Competitor A by showcasing three key features that give us an advantage
Learning objectives can be powerful motivators for your audience when done right. They also provide structure for your training.
Need help defining objectives for your program? Check out this workbook to develop and frame effective learning objectives.
Design the training
Designing your employee training program is the next step. This involves defining the program’s structure and content and choosing how it will be delivered. During this phase, you will decide on learning activities, exercises, assessments, visualizations, and interfaces.
Consider your employees’ learning styles and needs when designing your training program. Some best practices to follow are:
- Make courses accessible from anywhere. Be flexible in place and time. When running a virtual workshop, schedule a reasonable time for everyone and offer a recorded version
- Create self-directed courses. Adult learners prefer to learn on their own time
- Build collaborative learning experiences. Ninety-one percent of L&D pros feel that teams that learn new skills together are more successful. Include social learning opportunities in training programs to facilitate peer-to-peer learning
- Provide blended learning opportunities. To retain knowledge, offer various delivery options, like self-paced, collaborative, trainer-supported, or virtual classroom teaching.
Read more: Instructional Design Basics & Best Practices
Create training materials
After designing your employee training program, it’s time to develop learning materials. eLearning content can include:
- PowerPoint presentations
- Instructor guides
- Video modules
- Dialogue simulation
💡Pro Tip: Keep training content short and sweet. It’s easier to comprehend and engage with content chunked into smaller pieces.
Keep lessons between 3 to 5 minutes max and add interactive elements to keep learners engaged.
Read more: Make eLearning Engaging in 7 Steps
Your training materials are ready to go. Employees are ready to learn. Now it’s time for the fun part: pushing your training live.
Break up the monotony with creative breakout sessions. For example, you can schedule an icebreaker where learners can meet each other. Immersive activities help participants build connections and stay engaged.
Other ideas to make training more fun include:
- AR/VR experiences
- Adding game-like elements to courses
- Networking events
- Wellness breaks
Content delivery matters when you’re creating online training. Virtual learning can be more accessible and engaging with a learning management system (LMS).
With an LMS, you can create immersive experiences that improve learning and knowledge retention, which makes your training programs more effective.
Once training is live, how can you tell if it works? The best way is to run an analysis to test program efficiency and training effectiveness.
Here are some tools to evaluate your training method and programs:
- Questionnaires. A common method that assesses learners’ thoughts and feelings about a program
- Interviews. Get a better understanding of participants’ perspectives. Interviews are more flexible and allow you to ask clarifying questions
- Focus groups. Consulting large groups of learners helps you get detailed feedback from many people simultaneously. Focus groups are good if you don’t have the resources to conduct one-on-one interviews at scale
- Observations. This method relies on something other than what employees say about the training. It analyzes whether they apply new skills to their job
- LMS reporting. An LMS collects and analyzes data from your training program. It helps you understand learning activity and performance to spot weak points in your courses
Training evaluation enables you to discover loopholes in your courses and improve learning materials. For example, say you see many users failing a quiz about cybersecurity. You can check on the course, see what issues must be addressed, and correct them.
Make post-evaluation changes
Change your employee training program if it doesn’t work as well as you had hoped. For example, you may need to revise the program’s content, alter the delivery method, or introduce additional activities. Ensure employees are aware of any changes.
How an LMS can be part of your employee training program
The best way to share employee training programs at scale is through a learning platform. Participants receive individualized training tailored to their interests, adding a personal touch and increasing engagement.
Learning platforms are crucial to developing employee skills. With WorkRamp, you can tailor learning to individual employees, customize it, and launch new training immediately. In addition, with WorkRamp Content, you can create training programs using prebuilt content from well-known industry leaders on topics like compliance training, professional development, sales skills, and more.
Discover how WorkRamp can help you develop or improve your employee training program. Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo.
- What is Employee Training? How to Build the Ultimate Employee Training & Development Program June 9, 2023
- How to Use an LMS for Customer Education: Driving Success Through Training & Support June 7, 2023
- Podcast Recap: LEARN with Randy Seidl June 6, 2023
- Do These 6 Things to Increase Customer Loyalty June 5, 2023
- What is an LMS? A Guide to Learning Management Systems June 4, 2023
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Michael is a SaaS marketer living in Guadalajara, Mexico. Through storytelling and data-driven content, his focus is providing valuable insight and advice on issues that prospects and customers care most about. He’s inspired by learning people’s stories, climbing mountains, and traveling with his partner and Xoloitzcuintles.
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