20 January 2016

10 tips for an effective learning and development programme

Regular training can be a huge investment to any organisation. But what can you do to ensure your employee training initiative transfers effectively to the workplace?

Providing regular training can be a huge investment to any organisation. Industry research suggests that the average company spend on training is over $1,182* per employee, per year. It’s not surprising then, that many companies feel as though they’ve been ‘ripped off’ when their shiny new training course fails to provide the required results. So what can you do to ensure your employee training initiative transfers effectively to the workplace?  

Understand your needs

A great starting point is to identify what is and isn’t working in your organisation by carrying out a needs and skills analysis. It’ll help you to decide what the real need for training and development is. Some of the key problems could actually be down to mismatches in personality or the ability to perform in the required role, as well as gaps in communicating expectations clearly.

Choose the right trainer

Making sure your sessions are timely and relevant will increase the speed of change and in turn, productivity then profitability. For maximum success choose a training provider that offers flexibility and understanding. The aim is to establish a dynamic relationship with the provider where you’ll work with them time and time again.  

Set clear and training objectives

Setting your vital objectives such as desired behaviour, standard of performance and environment is key. Make sure the trainer understands these in detail so that they can meet your needs and enhance the effectiveness of the programme.

Keep it relevant

If your employee needs to update his technical skills but you’re asking him to attend a session on teamwork and communication instead, this could have a negative impact. The initiative will be seen as a waste of time and ultimately, it'll be a massively missed learning opportunity.    

Get your employees excited about learning

Ensure all staff understand why the need to learn new or enhance existing skills is crucial. Motivate employees to attend the course and make sure they understand the context of how this particular programme will positively affect their own job performance.

Define measurable outcomes

The training programme should clearly state the objectives with measurable outcomes. Assess the initiative to ensure that it can drive the trainee to develop the skillset specifically outlined as an objective. Make it clear why this objective outcome is required.

Get managers involved too

Immediate line managers must understand the need for these new skills so attending the course themselves could be an effective approach. They’ll then be in the position to act as a role model, demonstrating the appropriate new skills and behaviour. Managers should then create an environment where their employees can apply the training learnt through regular assessment and feedback sessions.

Carry out one-to-one’s before the session

An employee’s hopes and concerns for the training programme should emerge before the session in an open conversation with his or her line manager and noted appropriately. Identifying any barriers and addressing these beforehand should enhance the employee’s ability to respond positively to the new initiative on the day.  

Collect feedback

A great way to assess the effectiveness post training is to gather feedback from other members of the team or subordinates and supervisors. An employee self-assessment is also an important way to understand the impact of the training and its effect on their knowledge, behaviour and value within the wider organisational performance.

 Keep it going

Keep your performance improvement going by incorporating training into a longer term HR development process. This will help you avoid exhausting your allocated training budget on irregular, individual initiatives and instead make learning an essential element of your organisation’s strategy.

Of course, there is no ‘one-size-fits all’ category when it comes to training, but following these steps should ensure you get an effective learning and development strategy that works well for your organisation and has real, tangible results.


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