Without a doubt, employee training and performance are closely linked. In an article from Cornell University, it reviewed multiple human resource authorities and found that there was compelling evidence that investment in learning and training results in multiple benefits to the sponsoring company or organization. Some of the statistics quoted in the article about how training and development affects employee performance include:
- 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development
- 76% of employees are looking for career growth opportunities, and investments in training may help keep them motivated and inspired to work harder and be better at their job
- 40% of employees leave their job within the first year unless they receive training and education from their employer
- 74% of employees feel they are not reaching their full potential unless they receive training from their employer
Investment in training not only has a positive effect on employee performance, morale, and ambition, it is also good for the bottom line. The same article stated that companies that proactively offer learning and development opportunities can have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training. It also stated that companies can have 24% higher profit margins.
From a leadership perspective, companies that invest in next generation leaders through learning and development are nearly two and a half times more likely to hit their performance targets.
Tip: Work Institute’s 2018 Retention Report, found that of the one in four workers that leave their jobs, nearly one-third was due to unsupportive management and a lack of development opportunities.
Designing Training and Employee Development for Improved Performance
When looking on how to design a training program that will grow the skills of your employees and meet your organizational needs and goals, here are some tips on how to get started.
Identify Training Needs
Talk with employees to understand their current skills, experience and where they feel there is a gap. Talk to the employee’s manager to also understand the employee’s skills, experience and where they could grow. Also consider upcoming projects or corporate objectives to identify where there may be gaps that what could be addressed with training.
Consider also observing the employee doing a job or reviewing their output and results to look for gaps or opportunities to enhance existing learning courses. For client-facing roles, customer feedback can be a valuable source of insights.
When identifying a gap, consider whether the issue is with the availability of training, the quality of existing learning and development programs or if the goals of standards of the organization has changed which is resulting in a perceived learning gap.
Types of training that you may have to consider include:
- Management training
- Sales training
- New employee training
- Mentoring programs
Instructor-Led, Virtual or Online Training
While the pandemic has made virtual and online training more readily available and acceptable, it is not always the best choice. For some types of learning, instructor-led training is still the most effective form of training.
Also consider hybrid approaches where instructor-led training is provided after a series of assignments, web-based training, self-study plans, or cross-training by a colleague first.
Define Training Objectives
Define and document your training objectives and success criteria at the start. Write simple statements of what, the employee will be able to do or know after the training. Also, decide how you will measure whether the employee has achieved the desired learning objectives.
Create the Training Program
When you set out to build a training program or a course, you first need to segment the audience or role of the learner, and then design the flow of tasks that the learner needs to know. You accomplish this through a job task analysis exercise done with input from subject matter experts (SMEs).
The result of this is typically a learning path if the role requires multiple pieces of content, or the beginning of a course outline if it is a single course. Once complete, you develop course outline(s), and eventually build the content (course content, handouts, graphics, scripts, test questions etc.).
Tip: LEAi by LearnExperts is a course creation tool that makes building learning content easy since it leverages content that already exists in your organization.
The next step is deciding how you will deliver the content. Will you be using PowerPoint slides, videos, or online course? You will need to plan for each piece to be reviewed by subject matter experts and even tested to ensure that it is meeting the intended objectives.
If you are looking to deliver instructional-led content, you will have to consider logistics like:
- Delivery style, exercises, and interactivity
- Training room, facilities, meals, etc.
- Equipment for the instructor (projectors, screens, flip charts, etc.)
- Tools for the learners (workstations, tools, etc.)
- Layout of chairs and tables for learners
Evaluate the Training
This is probably one of the most important aspects of the training program. It is important to ask the participants for feedback about the training. You want to evaluate from the perspective of the learner whether the course
- Achieved the course objectives
- Topics were relevant
- Trainer was effective
- Met the learner’s and their manager’s goals.
The feedback should be used to improve your instructional design and delivery.
Encourage Continuous Improvement
With changing technologies, tools and corporate strategies, it is important to always be looking for ways to add more training to improve employee performance.
Encourage your employees to look for upskilling, and training and development programs that will expand their capabilities. Leave the door open for learners to seek new and innovative ways to learn. This will not only reduces the burden on the organization, it also encourages more enthusiasm and engagement from employees.
In many organizations, employee training is an activity that gets bundled into the to-do list for product management, engineering, or customer support. While this may seem cost effective, when you consider what it takes to create an effective training program and the potential benefits on employee performance, effectiveness, and morale, it is worth rethinking that strategy.
Thinking about investing in your employees through training? We are called LearnExperts for a reason. Our team has decades of experience in creating and growing successful training, learning and development programs and we can help you. Send us a note and we would be happy to work with you.