Employees are usually the driving factor behind a business's success. Therefore, they must be trained well and clearly understand their role in the company's performance.
This article discusses the value of a good employee training program. Read on to learn how to give your team the professional development they need to perform their best.
The Importance of a Good Employee Training Program
A good employee training program helps workers quickly learn the job and remain productive members of the team. There are four key benefits of employee training:
- A quicker path to productivity
- Greater employee engagement
- Increased profitability
- Improved retention rates
Unfortunately, not all training programs are effective. To be sure your professional training meets your business needs, take a strategic approach. Evaluate the job, skills needed, and overall objectives.
How to Create an Employee Training Program
Professional development programs support employees in all phases of their employment. There are many types of employee training. Three common categories are onboarding training, on-the-job training, and transitional training.
- Onboarding new employees: One of the best ways to welcome a new employee is through onboarding training. New employees learn the skills and technology needed to succeed in the new role. When done properly, onboarding shortens the learning curve for new hires to help them quickly become productive team members.
- Ongoing training: Most businesses benefit from periodic on-the-job training for employees. This keeps everyone up to date on new products, processes, and technology.
- Transitional training: When employees move to a new role or are promoted, transitional training helps them adjust to the new position. This might be one of the most individualized types of professional training. Designing transitional training means first understanding what the employee does and doesn't know. Maybe the employee is proficient in the software used but has never been a supervisor. In this case, a training plan would skip the software training. Instead, it would focus on management-related training needs, like giving performance reviews.
No matter what type of training you create, though, you should:
Clearly Understand the Job Role That Is Being Trained
The first step of creating an effective training program is conducting a needs assessment. Make a list of all the information and skills your employees need to learn.
Consider the subject matter from the perspective of the learners.
- What do my employees want to learn?
- To meet the objectives of the training program, what do they need to know?
Set Clear Training Objectives
It will be hard to assess if your training content was worth the investment if you don't set goals before you start. The objectives should support both the organization and the individuals being trained. These include measurable targets, such as:
- An increase in sales
- Improved retention
- Greater productivity
- Employee assessments of the training
Make sure employees understand the business goals. Introduce the training by explaining how it will help employees perform their jobs better. Also, provide a big-picture view of how it helps the business achieve its mission.
Create a Plan for How Objectives Will Be Reached
After setting goals for the training program, determine the timeline for measuring performance. If the training is done in phases, when will it be completed by all employees? What is the plan for measuring the bottom-line impact of the training program? Will you compare results each quarter or year over year?
Conduct the Employee Training
The days are long gone when professional development meant listening to a lecture in a classroom. Consider the most effective delivery methods for your employees. Factor in their schedules, locations, and preferred media. Your choices include:
- Self-guided online webinar training
- Classroom or workshop-style training
- A mix of video, audio, and slideshows
- Hands-on demonstrations, including a chance to practice new skills
You'll also want the training to appeal to the four learning styles: visual, auditory, reading-focused, and kinesthetic.
Know Your Audience
To customize your training, it helps to borrow a practice from marketing and create personas for your audience. This makes it easier to determine how to deliver content. Is one employee group filled with tech-savvy new graduates? If so, instructional content can be delivered through interactive online media. Does another department need hands-on demonstrations of equipment or procedures? Then, at least part of the training must be face to face. Keep the demographics of each persona in mind as you create your training materials.
Review and Revise the Training Program
The final part of a training program is measuring results. This involves several steps:
- Review participant feedback. Have employees complete questionnaires regarding the skills they learned and what they did and didn't like about the program. Find out if they thought the training was worthwhile and their opinion of the instructor.
- Use tests and quizzes. Use quizzes throughout the training to determine if employees met learning objectives.
- Watch what works. Observe employees at work to see if they are applying their new skills.
- Compare business results. Determine if the training affected business results. Did sales, productivity, or retention improve? Are there changes in any other metrics relative to the training?
Use this information to decide what is and isn't working and make revisions.
An Interior Design Case Study
An interior design firm has grown and expanded its scope of work. Initially, most of its customers were homeowners. Today, it also designs apartment complexes and commercial spaces. The owner wants staff to use technology more efficiently and to standardize best practices among team members.
However, a one-size-fits-all approach won't work with a team that includes designers, administrators, and carpenters. To create training that meets the needs of different roles, the owner divides the staff functions into personas.
Debbie the Designer
The interior designers are creative, visual, and tech-savvy. They manage projects online and use popular design software. The firm's shift to larger commercial projects means the designers need to master the most advanced functions of that software.
When it's time to upgrade their skills, the owner decides that e-learning is best. Designers take a self-guided online course. They must complete it by a deadline and provide feedback on its value.
Ann the Admin
The administrative assistant is Ann the Admin. She handles estimates and billing. Creating estimates on larger, more complex projects is taking longer using outdated forms. Ann's issue is not needing new skills but a lack of proper tools. Ann and the owner agree to purchase new accounting software that allows Ann to create and follow up on project estimates.
Connor the Carpenter
The kitchen cabinet installers work for a subcontractor who does most of the firm's installations. Feedback shows that customers have uneven experiences with their kitchen renovations. The head of the subcontractor firm agrees to implement a training plan.
This case calls for hands-on training. The lead carpenter shares best practices with the team. They meet in a workshop where they can practice techniques for installing cabinets and counters.
The design firm achieved its primary goals for each team.
- The Debbie Designers reduced the time it takes to create project models by the targeted amount.
- Ann the Admin used her new accounting forms to redesign estimates and invoices, incorporating project phases and revisions. Best of all, the accounting software makes it easier to follow up and speeds up the payment time.
- Customer surveys now show overall satisfaction with the Connor the Carpenter group. Their new skill sets encompass communicating with anxious customers.
Keep Your Small Business Finances Up to Date With Skynova
Well-designed employee training programs can help your business succeed. A good training program reduces turnover and helps new employees become productive. It also improves profitability.
Unfortunately, not all training is effective. To engage employees, a training plan must be relevant and tied to business goals. To be sure your training program is a worthwhile investment, survey participants and monitor business metrics.
While you focus on training your employees, though, you can rely on Skynova to streamline your business processes. Use Skynova's accounting software to look professional, speed up payment, and stay organized. With 37 unique software modules that can be used together or separately, Skynova offers better control of invoicing, accounting, retainers, work orders, and more.
Notice to the Reader
The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines about creating an employee training program and may not apply to your specific situation. Always seek professional advice to ensure you're meeting workplace and industry standards.