Managing others means making sure they are properly trained. This includes identifying their needs, establishing goals & outcomes, and conducting follow up.
Getting the most for your training dollars is important, regardless of the size of your budget. No business wants to spend time and money to train employees and then not put the training to good use. But that’s exactly what you do when you have no plan.
To get the maximum value for your training dollars, here are the five must-do steps you should follow.
Identify Development Needs
Training can enhance skills or correct deficiencies, but only if you know the purpose of the training. That’s where a needs analysis can help.
A needs analysis provides a baseline of current knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) by comparing current performance with desired performance. This performance gap is the difference between the organization’s expectations and the employees’ actual performance. The right training should bridge this gap.
There are several tools available to identify an employee’s current performance level, including:
- Performance evaluations
- Direct observation
- Interviews with supervisors and employees
- Customer complaints
- Employee surveys
When employee performance is lacking, training is not always the answer. If a system is outdated, morale is low, or employees don’t want to learn, training won’t help. As writer Mary Nestor-Harper suggests in her article, “How to Identify Training Gaps”:
Training employees in an outdated inventory system won’t improve efficiency, speed up order fulfillment, or eliminate shipping errors. Knee-jerk reactions that blame employees for a faulty process can result in wasted training time and dollars that don’t deliver results.
When you are ready to consider training as an option, ask:
- Can this performance issue be resolved by further training?
- Is training the best or only solution available?
- Does the employee want to learn?
Assess Company Infrastructure
No amount of training can help employees if they aren’t able to apply what they have learned when they return to work. Therefore, the right infrastructure must be in place prior to training. It makes no sense to teach someone to utilize a software program that your business has yet to acquire or to apply supervisory skills when a promotion is not pending.
Additionally, the training must fit with the corporate culture and have the full support of upper management. Before you send an employee through training, ask:
- Is there anything that will hinder an employee’s ability to apply what is learned?
- Does this learning align with business objectives?
- Does this training have the support of top management?
Establish Training Goals and Outcomes
Prior to investing in training, you need to establish training goals and outcomes. In addition to learning something new or refreshing current KSAs, consider:
- How employees will apply and share what they’ve learned
- What employees need from you to make their training successful
- What further steps you will take after the training is complete
Establish training goals and outcomes in advance, and you’ll be in a better position to determine if the training was successful. After all, how can you know if you’ve arrived at your destination, if you don’t know where you are going in the first place?
Once you’ve decided to enroll an employee in a training program, ask:
- What is the overall objective for this training?
- What will employees know or be able to do that they don’t know or can’t do now?
- How will you know if the training was successful?
Identify Appropriate Training Programs and Methods
There are two factors to consider when you are identifying the appropriate training programs and methods for your employees.
First, just as employees have different ways of working, they also have different ways of learning. Whenever possible, match the training method that works best with each employee’s style. This might include e-learning, on-the-job training, classroom training, or another type of learning.
Second, the type of training will likely lend itself better to certain methods. So while you’re considering how each employee learns, consider the best way to transfer KSAs effectively.
Once training is complete, have systems in place to provide reinforcement for what employees have learned; otherwise, the information will be lost. In fact, according to the latest figures (December 2018), people forget:
- 40% of what they’ve learned in 20 minutes
- 50% to 80% of what they’ve learned after one day
- 90% of what they’ve learned after one month
However, experts suggest that people retain 90% of what they learn when they teach someone else or use it immediately. Make sure your employees implement what they’ve learned.
Don’t let your training dollars go to waste. You can save yourself and your employer time and money just by planning.