An effective staff training and development programme is very important for honing and developing the skills of the current employees of the organization.
The company required for an effective training programme when the following situations occurred:
- Whenever the company hires new employees, it needs to develop them. They must be acquainted and acclimatized to the working environment and conditions prevailing in the organization.
- Whenever the company purchases new assets, it trains its present employees and teaches them how to operate the new equipment.
- Whenever the company develops new software technologies, it trains the employees on how to use the new systems.
- Whenever there are new products or new services introduced to the business, it trains its employee on the new functionality, benefits, and sales strategy of the products or services.
- Whenever there are new policies or requirements (in-house, industrial, or government requirements), it trains the employees on the new regulations or roles of the best practices.
- Last but not least, the refreshment courses or follow-up improvement courses of any of the above mentioned requirements.
Training could be provided by either in-house instructors or the company can employ the services of instructors from an outside company.
Key purpose of staff training and development programme is to upgrade the knowledge, skills, and experience of the employees.
Tips of an effective staff training and development programme
Here I have provided some tips for establishing effective staff training and development programmes in your organization, but these are by no means the only ways in setting up an effective programme:
- Make sure that the initial training needs analysis focused first on what the learners will be required to do differently back in the workplace, and base the training content and exercises on this end objective.
- Ensure that the start of each training session alerts learners of the objectives of the program or what the learners are expected to be able to do at the completion of the training.
- Make the training very practical. Remember that one of the objectives is for learners to behave differently in the workplace. With possibly years spent working the old way, the new way will not come easily.
Learners will need generous amounts of time to discuss and practice the new skills and will need lots of encouragement. Give your learners the time to make the journey from the old way of thinking to the new.
- With the pressure to have employees spend less time away from their workplace in training, it is just not possible to turn out fully equipped learners at the end of one hour or one day or one week, except for the most basic of skills.
A cost-effective means of doing this is to resource and train internal employees as coaches. You can also encourage peer networking through, for example, setting up user groups or organizing discussion groups.
- Bring the training room into the workplace through developing and installing on-the-job aids. These include checklists, reminder cards, process and diagnostic flow charts, and software templates.
- If you are serious about imparting new skills and not just planning a “talk fest”, assess your participants during or at the end of the program. Make sure you genuinely test for the skills being taught.
- Ensure that learners’ managers and supervisors actively support the program through attending the program themselves. Integrate the training with workplace practice by getting managers and supervisors to brief learners before the program starts, and to debrief each learner at the conclusion of the program.
The debriefing session should include a discussion about how the learner plans to use the learning, allow application of learnt skills and knowledge in their day-to-day work and what resources the learner requires to be able to do this.
- To avoid the back to “business as usual” syndrome, align the organization’s reward systems with the expected behaviours.
For people who actually use the new skills back on the job, give them a gift voucher, bonus, or other encouraging award. Planning to give positive encouragement is much more effective than planning for punishment if they don’t change.
- The final tip is to conduct a post-course evaluation after the training to determine the extent to which participants are using the skills.
Let everyone know that you will be performing this evaluation from the start. This helps to engage supervisors and managers and avoids surprises down the track.
Organizations waste a lot of scarce resources in conducting ineffective staff training and development programmes. Employee morale also suffers when employees see managers not really serious about instilling the new behaviours.
By following the nine pointers above, you will have actively engaged managers in the training process and provided those all-important links between the training and the participant’s workplace. You can then enjoy the results: happy and effective employees and satisfied clients.