5 Steps to Designing a Training Program That Works for All Employees
Designing a training program can be daunting. Past experience may have shown you that some employees will embrace the opportunity to learn something new, while some demonstrate a surprising apathy about learning.
Some employees may view training as a welcome break from routine, but others may feel pressured if training is added to an already stressful workload. You may also have employees with varying levels of experience, diverging job duties, and differences in education.
How, then, can you bridge the gaps and design a training program that will be suitable for all? Following these 5 steps can make the task easier:
During the discovery phase, you will determine your training needs. You will define the goals and needs of your organization, and what type of training will be most beneficial for helping employees achieve those goals and meet your needs.
- Goals are targets you set that are tied to the performance of your organization. A goal might be based on past performance, or it might be tied to surpassing the competition in some manner.
- Needs are the skills and knowledge that your organization requires employees to possess. Needs can also relate to technology, such as a system update or new software, or to compliance issues stemming from new regulations.
In the targeting phase, you define the employees who will receive training. Some training topics, for example workplace safety, may need to include all employees. Others may include only those employees who will use the training for daily work.
- Employee surveys can help you identify the types of training that each employee needs.
- Work processes can also be studied, through observation and interviews with workers of all levels.
If you have a large number of employees or groups working in different locations, you might consider training a group of supervisors and managers first. Then, managers can present the training to other personnel.
You will need to develop content for any training program - manuals, videos, worksheets, slide shows, or any combination of visual aids.
- Manuals are maintained by many companies for specific jobs or work processes. Use existing manuals as references when you create new training materials. Or, you can ask any in-house experts for assistance in developing materials.
- New software often comes with training materials from the vendor that sold the program to you. Most large software companies maintain an extensive collection of training materials that you can use.
This critical phase in designing a training program is often overlooked. This is the phase in which you define what you expect to achieve. Desired outcomes can include:
• Developing employees to assume management roles
• Increasing profitability
• Improving customer satisfaction
• Providing a better product
• Improving productivity
• Reducing employee turnover
• Improving efficiency
5. Select Presenter
Choosing the person who presents your training program is one of the most important stages of your design. Above all, you want a presenter who will hold people’s interest.
• Choose a presenter with a lively, engaging manner. The presenter's enthusiasm for the subject should be obvious.
• A little humor never hurts, especially if the training subject is somewhat dry.
• Your presenter should be knowledgeable about the subject. At minimum, the presenter should have all content organized in time to study it thoroughly.
• Try to find a presenter who is a match for your audience. For example, if you are training members of upper management, your presenter should belong to the same tier or at least no more than one level lower. If you are training production workers, a plant supervisor could be your best choice.
One last tip is to communicate to employees the reasons for the training. Stress the benefits to employees more than the benefits to your organization. Your employees will be more likely to embrace training if they feel that they stand to gain from it personally.