This is probably the single area I get asked about more than any other. Most employers know that an employee training plan is important. As well as being a given expectation for Millennial employees, it is an effective way of creating employee engagement. But what exactly is a proper employee training plan (ETP)? And how do we make one? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Think about what you really need from your Employee Training Plan
At a basic level, ‘training’ is a method by which someone learns a completely new skill, or builds upon existing skills within their current role. ‘Development’ (as in ‘staff development’) has a wider meaning and usually focuses on personal growth with the intention of improving future performance. So ‘training’ might be learning to speak a new language, and ‘development’ could be learning about the business culture within a new country in preparation for a business trip there. It might sound obvious but make sure you are speaking to your employee and getting a clear understanding of where either training or development (or both) will be most effective, and where the gaps are.
What do Both of you want to achieve from the Employee Training Plan and how will this be Demonstrated?
Does your need as employer align with the employee’s? You many want your employee to attend a course which you feel will double productivity, but if s/he isn’t showing any real enthusiasm for attending, and it’s not a specific job requirement, then how effective is it really going to be? When situations like this occur, try and think outside the box. An employee may say that they want some training in e.g. sales technique. You may not think they need it, but perhaps a compromise could be reached with some coaching in effective and persuasive communication? A happy and motivated learner is more effective than a reluctant and disinterested one (trust me on this one!).
Pick the Date that the Employee Training Plan will Go Live – and Stick to It
In a busy environment, staff training and development tends to be the first thing which is sidelined. This is demotivating for learners and may signal that the employer doesn’t take their development seriously. As much as is possible, try and ring fence any proposed employee training time. Set aside a formal time to check in with the employee after any learning has taken place and get feedback. As well as being a good gauge of how effective it was, it is a good way of helping learners retain and develop knowledge and understanding if they know they are going to be asked to share information. It also demonstrates that you are interested in how they are getting on.
Make sure the Learner has a chance to put their new Knowledge into Practice
Most studies show that not having these opportunities can inhibit the learner’s ability to apply their new skills to support real-life issues. If the employee has attended staff training for a new computer programme, they should be given plenty of opportunity and support to use the programme as soon as possible after training has taken place. This is another simple way for both you and the employee to assess how effective any training programme has been. A professional trainer will usually build some follow up support into an ETP.
Ensure that the Training Materials and Systems used are Interesting, Relevant, and Accessible
Training should support different learning styles, and the facilitator should be fully aware of what is to be achieved, in what timeframe, and why the learners are there.
Investing in employee training and development is an investment in your business. It is a situation where, if done properly, the benefits usually far outweigh the costs!
What are your feelings on employee training plans? Do you struggle with them, or do you leave the employee create their own and just go with that?