How to develop a best-practice employee training and development program

Employee training and development

The number one reason employees leave their jobs today is career growth. We discussed this in a recently-published article on the importance of career planning. In this article we’re zooming in on a vital piece of the employee retention puzzle: training and development.

Employee training is a powerful weapon in the fight against attrition, but it also creates an opportunity for competitive advantage. For example, you can improve technical skills, customer service skills, communication &collaboration skills, and creative thinking & problem-solving skills.

Here are five things to consider when setting up an employee training and development program:

1. Start with the end in mind

You might be aware of current skills gaps, like poor time management, customer service, or technical skills that you need to address in the short term.

When it comes to longer-term training, think about what your organization needs to train for in order to be competitive in five or ten years’ time. Future-ready HR teams know that tomorrow’s leaders possess very different skills than today’s.

A company SWOT analysis is a great place to start when thinking about what employee training outcomes need to be. For example, digital transformation is both a threat and an opportunity for many companies – how can you develop your workforce to minimize the risk and capitalize on the opportunities?

Once you know where the short and long-term gaps are, and what you need to achieve, you can start to create an employee development strategy that’ll get you there.

2. Understand your audience

There’s no point trying to create a training program if you don’t understand your audience and their current abilities. You risk creating programs that are too easy or too hard. Or you might even find that employees want to learn things that management hasn’t considered.

You might also find that the majority of your employees want to learn online in their own time, rather than in person. Or that certain departments prize accreditations and formal learning more than informal course.

Take the time to survey your audience and ask them what they would like to learn, and how they would prefer to learn it.

3. Consider formats

Once the survey results are in and you have plotted employees’ needs against the organization’s needs, you’re ready to start building training programs for various departments and levels of seniority.

Here are some formats to consider for various parts of your training program:

  • Employee integration and retention programs
  • Technical or soft skills workshops hosted by internal and/or external specialists
  • Cross-functional projects and placements
  • Industry conferences
  • Formal courses and accreditations
  • Mentorships
  • Online learning modules hosted on an LMS platform (here’s how to choose one)

4. Measure and optimize

Your employee training and development strategy is a vital strategic asset if properly measured and managed. Take time to track employee engagement and progress. And ask employees and their managers to review each program as soon as they complete it, so that you can work out how to optimize it over time.

Ongoing career development is a powerful retention strategy

You might not think that employee development programs are important, but numerous studies have found that people leave their jobs because of a lack of opportunity. People want career growth and when they don’t get it, they leave.

You can give them a reason to stay by helping them develop new skills.

Create and manage employee career and training paths with vi – for greater retention

Employee career and training paths go hand-in-hand with retention. vi offers a range of easy-to-use software solutions for employee training, integration, retention, and real-time performance feedback.

Here’s a quick video to show you how vi works:

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