An effectively-trained workforce will provide your business with a range of excellent benefits. However, are all employee training initiatives successful? Unfortunately, no.
You’ve likely sent your workers to various employee training programs in the past. You’d hoped an effective employee training program would add value to your organization, improve business performance, and enhance leadership development.
So, why didn’t any of that happen?
An effective employee training program should give you the business results you want.
Avoid wasting precious time and money on employee training initiatives. Follow these simple steps to maximize your return on investment.
1. Build a System
Effective Employee training doesn’t happen sporadically. When you lack an effective system for managing employee training programs, you’ll find that your plans aren’t properly executed. Take the time to work with key leadership and business unit leaders to develop a process for identifying, providing, and assessing high-priority training.
Providing employee training is a continuous effort, not a one-time investment. Develop a structured and visual process for organizing and disseminating training in a repeatable fashion.
At Cunningham and Associates, we leverage customized client training portals and robust Learning Management Systems. Our tailor-made processes support the transition of effective training execution within your organization for years to come.
2. Make a Plan
The most successful training programs aren’t reactionary. Instead, they’re proactive and decision-based on the strategic initiatives of your organization. Use training to leverage the execution of your business’ strategic plan.
Furthermore, implement a performance review process that emphasizes development opportunities and training goals. Each individual in your organization will then have clear and measurable training goals on an annual basis.
These training goals should be a key driver in consequent performance evaluations. At C&A, we match strategic planning consulting with individual employee management systems to achieve this goal.
3. Customize Your Training
There’s value in exposing your workforce to input from employees with diverse experiences and backgrounds. But you’ll achieve a much higher return on training when you can provide customized internal solutions. Match more general, external training with skills development specific to the needs of your organization.
Skills acquired during this training will be much easier to apply to the business. They’ll be presented within your organization’s framework, rather than a seminar hall or virtual classroom.
Partner with experts willing to be flexible with the delivery of their content. Furthermore, assess training effectiveness throughout the program to adjust content and goals based on your business’s shifting needs.
4. Train for Results
As stated above, effective employee training programs are derived from a business’s strategic goals. Don’t train just to train. But instead, ensure that the training investments you’re making correlate with the successful execution of strategic initiatives and company performance.
You must communicate these goals with the employee in training. Explain why they need these skills to be successful and how their training will benefit the organization. You’ll find employees come back from training ready to apply their newly acquired knowledge rather than regressing in the same work patterns they were practicing before training.
5. Involve Your People
Actively engage employees at all levels of your organization to learn what training they feel would benefit them most. Even if you can’t provide them with all of their desired training, you have successfully provided them a forum to express those aspirations. This will pay off when it comes to employee retention.
Done correctly, you can even set performance benchmarks for providing that training to employees in the future. Allowing your employees to provide input on their training goals will vastly increase the potential of that training, having a more permanent effect on their performance.
6. Demand Accountability
While it’s the executive’s job to provide the necessary resources to achieve effective employee training, it’s ultimately the employee’s responsibility to be trained. At C&A, we strongly believe a person will only develop as much as they’re motivated to do so.
With this in mind, you must foster a culture of personal accountability. The following will also contribute to your ability to hold employees accountable to the program:
- Employee involvement
- Connecting training to organizational results
- Incentivizing training
- Having a system to track, monitor, and control training
7. Incentivize Training
If you’re successful in training for results, then it only makes sense to reward training with incentives — leverage individual training plans to drive annual performance reviews. Shift the common practice of using annual performance reviews as a form of compensation negotiations.
When we take a compensation-focused approach to performance reviews, we miss our opportunity to set a clear direction for our employees. Instead, use performance reviews to establish training goals. Be transparent about the value that achieving development goals will add to the business. Then, let the employee know exactly how they’ll win when the results are reached.
8. Take Your Time
Abandon Isolated training, webinars, and workshops. Be sure to invest the resources necessary to undertake longer-term training initiatives. These short interval training might provide a quick burst of employee motivation. But they often fail to transfer the skill sets covered to everyday business practices.
When we train our employees, we need to realize we’re practicing change management. So we must consider all of the necessary steps to lead your organization and your people through that change effectively.
As the great John Kotter says, “change is a grinding process,” and we need to accept that a single day of employee training will not accomplish all of our business goals. Invest in training programs that allow your people to interact with new skill sets and concepts daily.
9. Take Time to Evaluate and Observe Employee Training
John Kotter has also taught us that change is most vulnerable when we believe it has been completed. Employee Training operates similarly. Remember that we must look to outcomes, not just processes, when we evaluate training effectiveness.
Training is not successful because it was completed. Training is successful only when there’s a direct, positive impact on our business.
When we train, we’re building better habits. These habits will be quickly forgotten if we don’t take the time necessary to work on our plan, evaluate results, and refocus efforts on the strategic tasks at hand.
10. Remember Yourself
You may be a formally-educated executive. Or someone who has always seen Business Owner as your second job title. No matter what, it’s essential you seek out the coaching you need to manage your business successfully.
This could mean increasing your technical understanding or focusing on leadership development. But a continued focus on your effectiveness as an executive will provide a world of opportunity for you, your business, and your people.
Unlock the ROI of Employee Training
Find professional partners who support your vision and help coach you to achieve it while holding yourself to the same expectations you hold your people to!
At Cunningham and Associates, we’ve helped executives and business owners reach their organizational goals with effective employee training processes. Our methods are goal-oriented and custom-built for your unique business and team members. Contact us today to learn more.