Employee training and development programs, especially for companies dealing with technology, are vital to staying on top of your industry. According to our 2019 State of IT Training Report, 86 percent of respondents consider maintaining up-to-date skills and knowledge is an important or very important initiative.
But developing talent is easier said than done. Your program must equip employees with the necessary skills to excel while demonstrating business value and a measurable return on investment (ROI). We sat down with President of our own organization, Ryan Landry. to hear from him how to build an employee training and development program that accomplishes your organizational goals.
Q. What Is Employee Training and Development?
Employee training and development is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of industries, skill sets and training. It includes the hard, technical skills needed to perform specific tasks such as IT projects, product launches and upgrades. Soft skills, such as personal development or leadership skills that focus on employee growth and performance, from making decisions under pressure to constructive conflict management, are another vital component of employee training.
Q. What Makes an Effective Employee Training Program?
Successful employee training and development programs go beyond the standard new hire orientation. They aren’t sporadic courses that employees occasionally take as needed. They take a strategic, organized, systematic approach to training that aligns individual growth with business goals. Consistency is key, communication is essential.
According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report, the primary objectives of training programs in 2019 are the following:
The benefits of continued education compound with time. It’s through long-term employee training and development programs that companies reap the most significant return.
Q. What Benefits Do You See From Your Employee Training and Development Plans?
Training employees is a win-win for both employees and the organizations they work for, as employees develop into the professionals that can make your business thrive. Here are a few key benefits I see:
BOOST EMPLOYEE RETENTION
Recruiting and on boarding talent takes significant time and money. Losing employees costs even more. The cost of employee turnover (hiring, on boarding, training, ramp up time, etc.) ranges from tens of thousands to double their salary — and that figure increases depending on experience and seniority.
Introducing an employee training and development program helps you cultivate, retain and attract top talent, reducing turnover and hiring costs. When team members feel your company is investing in their careers, they are more likely to stay.
DEVELOP A STRONG LEADERSHIP PIPELINE
Training and developing talent also touches senior leadership. Effective leadership is a major concern for organizations. In the 2019 Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report, 80 percent of respondents rated leadership as a high priority (and only 41 percent felt ready to meet current leadership needs).
Training helps grow employees from within and develop strong future leaders who are invested in the company. It nurtures succession pipelines so that companies can cultivate and promote exceptional talent from within the organization.
Learning new technology and skills sparks innovation and new ideas. Although spending varies by industry, across the board, 87% of companies plan to maintain or grow their talent and development teams. Training can also help employees perform their current jobs more efficiently, improving productivity and performance.
Q. How Do I Set up an Employee Training and Development Program?
Effective training programs are difficult to implement. You may already have a training program in place but aren’t seeing results. Common training challenges include engaging employees, delivering consistent training, tracking skills and ROI and quantifying training effectiveness. Here’s how to set up a results-driven employee training and development program in your organization.
Identify Skill Gaps
Most training requests start with a problem. Maybe it’s a process that needs to be improved. Maybe a new manager is struggling to handle conflicts within his/her team.
To implement a successful training and development program, identify organizational and employee training needs. What are the pain points? What’s lacking? What can be improved? What’s the business impact? The best training programs address current processes and issues and also anticipate for future company needs.
Your employees are your best source of information when it comes to identifying training and performance gaps. They have firsthand knowledge of the work, processes, procedures and issues involved and can provide valuable feedback and ideas you hadn’t considered. Seek input from your team before documenting training goals.
Select the Right Training Methods
When rolling out an employee training program, the subject matter isn’t the only item to consider. The training method — the mode in which employees learn — also affects their retention and ability to implement those newfound skills.
Budget, location, the number of students, the type of training and your goals all impact the learning method you choose. Here are some popular training methods to evaluate:
- Live Instructor Led Training: Live Instructor Led Training remains one of the most popular and effective learning styles for adult training and professional development. Live training allows your team to interactive with expert coaches and instructors and other students.
- Online LIVE Classes: As the preferred learning modality for our students, experience all the benefits of traditional classroom training with from your home or work office.
- Hosted Distance Learning: We all experience distractions at the office and at home, so take time to focus on your training at one of our local learning facilities.
- Onsite Training at Your Location: Let us bring the classroom and expert instructors to you and minimize downtime for your team.
- Dedicated Training for Your Team: Make learning a team event, head offsite to one of our learning facilities and dive deep.
- Online Anytime Courses: Prerecorded classes, lessons and quizzes let you go at your own pace, 24/7/365.
- Mentored Learning: Focused learning combined with one-on-one mentoring offering you the flexibility to work around your schedule.
Measure the Results
The best way to demonstrate the value of an employee training and development program is to show training ROI. Once you’ve determined the goals and training method, take measurements before and after training sessions.
Did the course improve efficiency? Reduce the need to hire new employees? Determining training ROI demonstrates the value and business impact of training.
Follow-Through on Action Items
The success of your training program hinges on the debrief. After every training session, make sure employees take time to process what they’ve learned. What are the takeaways? What questions do they have? What are the action items they’re going to implement as a result?This step ensures employees follow through and apply what they’ve learned.
Make Training a Part of Company Culture
Employee training and development programs go further than offering a few classes — you should weave it into your company culture. Involve every level in the organization — from coordinators to upper management. Document training opportunities in the employee handbook, make it a company value and encourage employees to speak up when they find new educational opportunities.
Build a Training Plan Together with New Horizons
The complexity involved in rolling out an employee training program can prevent managers from pursuing learning opportunities for their teams. As the world’s largest independent IT training company, New Horizons offers custom corporate training programs and course to fit every business need, from executive training to advanced technical skills.
Whether you’re looking to add a few classes to your current training repertoire or build a training program from scratch, we can help you find the right courses and training methods to achieve your organizational goals.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published May 2018 and has recently been updated and revised for accuracy and comprehensiveness.