Designing effective employee training programs is one of the most important endeavors for any organization, and it should be led by a highly trained professional in human resource management (HRM). The purpose of a training program is to develop employee skills and knowledge as part of their overall development, whether in their existing roles or as part of a plan to move them into more advanced positions. It is also possible to use employee training as part of a broader learning and development strategy, improve employee performance, boost the company’s reputation or drive innovation.
Training and development should both be components of a comprehensive program. Training should be delivered with measurable objectives, while development broadens employees’ capabilities for use across a wide range of applications. Here, we provide an introduction to employee training, why it matters, how to create a plan and how to get started with a degree program that equips you for this process.
Why Employee Training Programs Matter
Training programs are critical to the most important objectives of all organizations, and executing them successfully is essential for a variety of reasons:
- To provide employees with extensive industry and job expertise, as well as proficiency in their daily tasks
- To create structured learning plans that ensure all employees have an equal opportunity to maximize their career potential in your organization
- In labor-intensive industries, to uphold the highest standards of quality
- To upskill employees with technical capabilities in order to succeed in the era of digital transformation
- To teach the new skills required in a post-pandemic world, in which many employees spend at least some of their time working remotely
- To attract and retain top candidates and reduce more costly future investments in replacing lost workers
HR Strategies to Implement and Improve Training Programs
Human resource (HR) leaders provide their organizations with the expertise to develop, implement, monitor, measure and improve employee training programs. The typical sequence and strategies that HR leaders incorporate in this undertaking are as follows:
- Begin with a skills gap analysis. In this step, you identify the individual skills each role in the company requires, and the individual and collective team skills that upcoming initiatives and projects will require. Then compare the current skill levels with what is needed in order to pinpoint specific gaps that must be addressed through training and hiring.
- Set your objectives by asking foundational questions to your leadership team for this initiative. Seek answers to how the program will improve employee performance, deliver higher success rates for business goals, prepare employees to advance into managerial roles and raise engagement and retention rates.
- Get employees involved by surveying them before launching. Find out what would make them feel more confident in their roles, what learning methods and channels work best for them and what would help to improve collaboration and team performance.
- Set a total program budget that will include hiring trainers and other resources, from physical space to printed materials and technology.
- Determine the types of programs that are appropriate to your objectives. These are the most common types of programs:
- Individual training
- Team training
- Hard skills training
- Soft skills training
- Products and services
- Quality assurance
- Diversity and inclusion
- Identify the most appropriate learning channels for each of the types of training you want to deliver:
- Classroom lectures
- Experiential workshops
- Computer-based, self-paced training
- In-house seminars
- Industry association workshops
- On-the-job training
- Mentoring or coaching
- Determine your objectives for each type of program and each learning channel and your means of assessing whether those objectives have been met over time.
- Create a plan with a timeline that should include program objectives, addressing skill gaps and resources needed, as well as milestones and deadlines.
- Follow up after training by instituting refresher courses and quizzes to make sure that information has been transferred to long-term memory. Provide reference materials employees can use whenever they need to remember something from their training.
- Evaluate plan effectiveness at regularly scheduled intervals, such as quarterly or annually, through learning analytics, which include descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analyses. Find out what learning experiences work best for each role and different learning styles.
A Program That Prepares HR Leaders to Make a Difference
The University of West Florida (UWF) Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis in Human Resources Management online prepares HR professionals to lead the development and implementation of successful employee training programs. Courses titled Business Process Integration, Management and Organizational Behavior, Advanced Managerial Economics, Performance Management and Strategic Issues in Human Resources Management are especially important in developing the HR skill sets today’s employers seek for executing their most business-critical human resources programs.