The Ultimate Guide to Implementing a Successful Employee Training Program

Introduction
What Is an Employee Training Program?
The Benefits of Employee Training
How to Implement an Employee Training Program
Step 1: What Do You Need?
Step 2: Must-Have LMS Features
Step 3: Going All-In on Implementation
New Tools for a New Workforce
Conclusion

Introduction

It’s no secret that most of the world’s workforce was suddenly and dramatically required to change when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, forcing businesses to close or slow down – without knowing when or if they would ever open again. Employers needed to discover new ways to manage remote workforces and to innovate when it came to business tools, communication and getting things done. Many employers had to freeze hiring or reconsider their hiring practices, and many employees found themselves either laid off or taking on more responsibility due to shifting work needs. 

One way that businesses were able to quickly adapt, continue to attract new talent to strengthen their workforce, and give their employees the tools they need to be successful in their roles was by implementing employee training programs. 

Employee training programs aren’t just about developing new skills, but also about increasing engagement, providing opportunities for growth and re-connecting a newly scattered workforce.

What Is an Employee Training Program?

An employee training program is any systematized approach to providing education to your workforce. It can offer hard skills education like software or coding training, or sessions on building soft skills like conflict management or communication. It can also include onboarding training, industry compliance testing, and can be a way to train employees in awareness areas like sexual harassment or diversity and inclusion.

An employee training program can be a series of classes offered by your Human Resources team or by a third-party trainer. These courses may be hosted on a Learning Management System (LMS) so that employees can learn at their own pace. Managers may require specific courses to build skills in their teams, or employees may be able to take whatever course they want to better position themselves in their own careers

In other words, employee training goals can be achieved in different ways, depending on your organization’s needs.

The Benefits of Employee Training

Whichever training method you choose, the benefits of having a program in place are undeniable. Employee training programs significantly increase engagement, as learning new skills and tools allows employees to feel more confident in their job duties. 

Employees also report feeling more connected with an organization that offers a training program, because it shows that the company is invested in their growth.

Higher engagement also increases employee retention, which can not only put the company at ease, but actually saves the company money, as it’s cheaper to retain an employee than hire a new one. In addition, employee engagement increases productivity, which increases profits. Finally, having an employee training program in place can also attract quality talent, as offering paths to growth is a benefit job seekers look for.

How to Implement an Employee Training Program

There are three major steps to implementing an employee training program, from making sure you choose the right one to getting employees to actually use it.

Step 1: What Do You Need?

The first step is to figure out what kind of employee training program your company should adopt. Ask the following questions to help you decide:

  • What kind of training do you need? It may be skills training for new managers, company-wide compliance training, new hire onboarding or hard skills coding training — or all of it, and more.
  • What are your goals for training? Your objective may be to train certain teams on specific skills for specific projects, or simply make a content library available to your employees.
  • Who is the training for? You don’t want to invest in an employee training program that caters only to senior leaders when you want to train your entry-level employees. Make sure the content and intention fit the audience.
  • What kind of topics do you want to cover? If your company is heavily customer service-focused, you probably don’t want a training program that only includes software and coding training. Make sure to identify which topics and content you need covered.
  • Do you need custom content? A good employee training program should be comprehensive enough, but there may be specialized training you need to create for your workforce.
  • How do you want to deliver your training? In a remote, work-from-home world, most employee training will need to be online, either through virtual sessions or an on-demand content library.
  • What do you need to track? Measuring employee engagement will be key to understanding if it’s useful, so determine which key performance indicators you’ll want to look at that will show you success.
  • What’s the budget for training? While employee training programs can save companies in the long run, be sure you’re not spending too much — or too little, considering the value it can offer.

You would never hire someone without first writing out a job description of responsibilities, requirements and credentials you’d want that recruit to fulfill. The same is true with “hiring” an employee training program. Decide what your business needs are first, then go shopping.

Step 2: Must-Have LMS Features

In a remote world, having in-person training is not currently an option, and may not be again, if teams stay remote. But an LMS gives a solution to all of the above questions in an online training hub. As you seek out LMS options, make sure that it has the following features:

  • Robust content library: Make sure it has a vast array of courses that train various skills so that your team has every opportunity for new growth.
  • Custom content creation: You may need to create your own custom courses, so make sure the LMS offers in-house content uploads.
  • Branding: Having a branded LMS – one with your company colors, logo and style – can increase engagement and make the LMS appear part of your company’s resources.
  • Easy set-up and navigation: Make sure that set-up is straightforward, and that navigation, design and layout is easy to learn so that employees can get started right away.
  • Reporting: Track course completion, scores, improvement and more so that you can measure individual and team success.
  • Support: Ensure that any platform questions and issues will get answered quickly by finding an LMS with excellent customer support.

Be sure to look for these features, as well as others that you identify that will help you achieve your training goals.

Step 3: Going All-In on Implementation

The only thing worse than not having an employee training program at all is having one that’s poorly rolled out. A company can’t simply give employees access and leave it at that. Leadership must take the initiative to drive usage through excitement, incentives and even culture shift.

Before the rollout, anticipate it with communication to employees and teams, highlighting the benefits and opportunities it provides. At rollout, consider having managers train their teams on the new platform. Encourage teams to take a course together and debrief about it afterwards. Provide incentives for employees who take courses, or create some friendly competition between teams on who can complete training sessions the fastest.

New Tools for a New Workforce

How we do work has changed in 2020. In order to give tools and resources to employees who have taken on new duties and roles, and to increase employee retention and engagement, businesses need to implement employee training programs to stay competitive in 2021 and beyond.

One way that businesses were able to quickly adapt, continue to attract new talent to strengthen their workforce, and give their employees the tools they need to be successful in their roles was by implementing employee training programs. However, employee training programs aren’t just about developing new skills, but also about increasing engagement, providing opportunities for growth and re-connecting a newly scattered workforce. There are three major steps to implementing an employee training program, from making sure you choose the right one to getting employees to actually use it.

Conclusion

The way we work has changed. In order to give tools and resources to employees who have taken on new duties and roles since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and to increase employee retention and engagement, businesses need to implement employee training programs to stay competitive in 2021 and beyond. This eBook covers the three most important steps to take before putting an employee training program in place. These steps will help your organization quickly adapt to any future challenges, continue to attract new talent to strengthen your workforce and give your employees what they need to be successful in their roles.

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