Employee training programs are often overlooked, but studies continually show that training programs play a significant role in keeping employees happy, satisfied, and engaged. Talent acquisition and retention are continuing and rather large issues for businesses. Meanwhile, one of the top three non-financial motivators employees want include opportunities for career growth (76%).
If you want to attract and retain the best talent, it’s wise to invest resources into employee training and development.
Implementing an online training program for employees seems like a simple task, but measuring its effectiveness can be challenging. Where will the results be most apparent, and where will they be most effective?
It’s a good idea to determine skills gaps early on. Some may have prior experience or training that will not only allow them to pick up new information and techniques quickly but to help train other employees as well. Perhaps your schedule is sufficiently tight and training a select few team members first and assigning them as mentors to other employees would be the best approach. This tactic can free up the time you need to closely measure the progress made as a result of the training.
Set employee training goals
First, identify successful and specific outcomes from employee training, and set goals to measure progress. Perhaps you want to increase sales, reduce expenses, or attract a new consumer segment. Skills and technology training alongside employee retention and job satisfaction should be measured to determine if the training has an impact.
Take a snapshot of measurable areas prior to identify if any unanticipated changes can be indirectly linked to training. Perhaps employees will find new ways to be innovative, manage workflow, assume leadership roles, or find ways to increase customer engagement.
Stay on track with SMART goals that are also principles of training that are:
It’s equally important is check in at appropriate intervals to determine if the training is having an ideal impact and to make adjustments when necessary. Communicate specific goals to your employees, and establish benchmarks for advancement. What kind of reward will they get for completing the training and using it to improve overall business metrics?
Consider the employee learning environment
Establish a safe learning environment that allows employees to feel comfortable in their surroundings, engage with their peers, ask questions and test their new knowledge. Getting employee buy-in to the program is fundamental, as people who feel overburdened or unenthusiastic about employee training are likely to harm overall morale.
People learn in different ways, so role-play may work for some while one-on-one training may help others. A lot of online training is reinforced through a variety of short games – basically, an old-fashioned quiz disguised as entertainment, which not only reminds employees of the principles they have learned but helps determine if the training has been effective. These “micro modules” can underscore lessons and promote continued learning.
Provide access to training modules offsite
Teams may benefit from a different environment to pursue tasks that are tangentially related to their work environment. If they can access learning modules from home, look up an FAQ about a new system when a question bubbles up, or engage in “game-tests” at their leisure, they’re more likely to fully immerse themselves in learning.
Host employee training group discussions
Hosting discussion-based meetings to showcase best practice scenarios, reward early adopters, and share techniques can help keep new knowledge and habits top of mind. Participation in these activities will give managers a good indication of which employee may need additional help or a different option for learning the material.
Ask for employee feedback
Communication about employee training goals and practices should always be a two-way street. Ask employees what parts of the training were most effective, or easiest to understand and implement. Find out if they felt the training impacted the way they work, for better or worse. Did the training atmosphere open up new channels of communication? Did it encourage employees to think differently about their jobs? Beyond the metrics of sales and employee retention and customer experience, did the training impact their sense of security and confidence in their work?
Emily Andrews is the Marketing Communications Specialist at RecordsFinder, an online public records search company. Communications specialist by day and community volunteer at night, she believes in compassion and defending the defenseless.
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