How to Create an Employee Training Plan in 10 Steps

Discover the transformative power of employee training programs! Learn how to invest in your workforce's development to enhance productivity, job satisfaction, and company loyalty.
Ben Kill, Chartered MCIPD

  • Leading research demonstrates a direct link between well-designed employee training programs and enhanced corporate performance.

  • Creating effective training courses involves assessing needs, setting clear objectives, choosing appropriate training formats, and engaging adult learners effectively to ensure that training is relevant, practical, and capable of meeting organizational goals.

  • Comprehensive planning, effective delivery, and continuous evaluation are crucial aspects of the employee training process. This includes developing engaging materials, managing logistics, and employing feedback mechanisms to adapt training strategies and achieve desired results.

Employee training programs are not just a perk. Instead, research has continually proven that employee training courses are a critical component in fostering a productive and engaged workforce. Indeed, studies indicate that 90% of employees would stay longer at a company that invests in their learning.

Of course, such training programs can serve a variety of purposes, from onboarding new staff to enhancing specific skills among existing employees. Whether you aim to establish new training initiatives or revitalize existing ones, this guide will walk you through the steps to create a successful training course that will maximize the success of everyone involved.

Why is it Important to Invest in Employee Training Programs? 

Implementing training programs for employees is essential for numerous reasons. The most notable of these is that such courses enhance skills, making employees more effective and boosting overall job performance.
Of course, in an era of rapid technological change, staying updated with the latest tools and practices is crucial, and training programs ensure just that. However, employee trainings are also key to employee satisfaction and retention, as they are seen as a company's investment in career development.

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Professional Training Examples 

Leading companies tend to offer prime examples of effective training initiatives. For instance, Amazon invests heavily in continuous learning, while AT&T has developed extensive training resources through AT&T University and partnerships with educational platforms. But these are just scratching the surface of what we can learn from major firms.

SAS offers a high-touch approach to employee training, including leadership development programs and opportunities for employees to gain advanced industry certifications. Meanwhile, Google provides a wide range of learning opportunities via its "Googler-to-Googler" classes, where employees teach each other, and the renowned "Google Career Certificates" program.

Marriott International operates the "Marriott Global Source" and "Marriott University" platforms, which offer a variety of training programs in customer service, leadership, and hospitality management. Salesforce, on the other hand, offers "Trailhead," a gamified online learning platform that helps employees and users develop the skills necessary to optimize Salesforce applications.

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How to Create a Training Program in Just 10 Steps

By now, we know that creating a successful course, program, or training plan for employees is essential for boosting employee skills and satisfaction. But how do you actually go about creating one? To help answer that question, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to crafting an effective training program regardless of your industry or business model.

1. Assess Your Needs and Develop Goals

Begin by clearly defining the objectives of your training program. Reflect on the broader goals of your organization and how the training aligns with these aims. Next, identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help measure the long-term success of the training. Consider who the training is intended for, what skills or knowledge it should impart, and how you will measure its success both from the perspective of the business and the trainees. Finally, you’ll want to establish both short-term and long-term goals – just make sure that these targets are realistic and measurable.

2. Determine the Type of Training Plan

Second, you’ll want to choose the most appropriate format for your training based on the content and the needs of your audience. For instance, do you think the training will be more effective in-person, through workshops, or via online learning modules? Maybe a combination of these methods would be even mor effective? Of course, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of each method and tailor the training format to maximize engagement and effectiveness for your specific group of learners.

3. Keep Adult Learning Principles in Mind

Adult learners have distinct characteristics that should influence the design of your training program. For instance, unlike children, adults bring a variety of experiences to the table. This can dramatically enrich the learning environment if you managed to tap into it effectively. Adults also tend to value training that respects their prior knowledge and experience and involves them actively in the learning process. That’s why it’s important to include interactive discussions, problem-solving tasks, and real-world applications.

4. Develop Learning Objectives and Outline

You’ll want to craft a detailed outline of your training program with specific learning objectives. This should include the key topics you intend to cover structured in a logical sequence to build on previous knowledge and skills. Keep in mind that each section of your training should have clear objectives that also contribute to the overall training goals. In the end, an organized approach helps ensure that all necessary content is covered and that there are clear benchmarks for learner achievement.

5. Finalize Your Training Plan

Once your outline is in place, refine your training plan based on input from your key stakeholders. This can include your employees, fellow managers, and your own superiors. At this point, your plan should be much more detailed. Ideally, it will provide a clear roadmap of how each session will be conducted, what materials will be used, and how each part of the program will contribute to the learning objectives. Still, leave room to adjust the plan based on feedback and ensure that it remains flexible to accommodate any unforeseen changes or insights.

6. Design and Develop Training Materials

With your finalized plan in hand, it’s time to develop comprehensive training materials that are engaging, informative, and tailored to meet your established learning objectives. These might include multimedia presentations, detailed manuals, interactive eLearning content, and hands-on practice exercises. You’ll also want to make sure that your materials cater to different learning styles and include assessments to better evaluate their understanding and retention of the material.

7. Implement the Training

Now it’s time to actually implement your training. Thanks to the other steps on this list, you can maximize efficiency. After all, you’ve taken care of logistical details in advance, such as scheduling, technology setups, and material distribution. Still, when executing the training, be sure to clearly communicate the structure, goals, and expectations to your participants. Throughout the training sessions, try to maintain engagement through interactive discussions, practical exercises, and periodic reviews to reinforce learning.

8. Evaluate the Training

Evaluation is crucial to understand the effectiveness of your employee training program. That’s why it’s such a good idea to collect feedback through structured surveys, informal discussions, and direct observation during and after the training sessions. This feedback should cover both the content and delivery of the training so that you can properly assess what aspects were most or least effective (and why).

9. Measure Success

After the training is complete, track its impact over an appropriate period. For instance, this might involve measuring changes in work performance, efficiency, and employee satisfaction. You might also want to analyze whether the training has led to improved performance metrics, such as higher productivity, reduced errors, or increased sales. Afterward, adjust your KPIs as needed to more accurately reflect the impact of the training.

10. Reevaluate and Adapt as Necessary

Continuous improvement should be a core aspect of your training program. That’s why it’s crucial to regularly revisit and reassess the training content and its delivery. This will help you ensure it remains both relevant and effective. You should also be ready to adapt the program in response to new business needs, technological advancements, or feedback from participants.

In the end, following these detailed steps will help you develop a reliable, comprehensive employee training program – one that not only addresses the immediate needs of your employees but fosters their ongoing development and aligns with your organization's strategic goals.
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Employee Training F.A.Q.

What is the importance of employee training programs?

Employee training programs are vital for enhancing skills, boosting job performance, and keeping up with technological advancements. They also improve employee satisfaction and retention by demonstrating a company’s willingness to invest in employee career development.

What makes an employee training program successful?

A successful training program will be well-aligned with its objectives, supported by leadership, and relevant to real-world applications. It should also provide ongoing reinforcement of its content.

How do I choose the right training model for my organization?

Choosing the right training model involves understanding the training’s purpose, audience characteristics, and logistical constraints. You should also consider whether traditional in-person classes or digital-first approaches would better meet your training objectives.

What are the steps to create a successful training program?

Key steps include assessing your needs, setting goals, determining the training type, considering adult learning principles, developing learning objectives, finalizing your plan, designing training materials, implementing the training, evaluating its effectiveness, and measuring success.

How do I implement a training program?

Implementing a training program involves careful logistics management, setting clear expectations, and maintaining engagement through interactive methods and regular feedback. You also need to ensure that all logistical details like scheduling and technology setups are handled efficiently.

What should I consider when developing training materials?

Training materials should be engaging, informative, and tailored to meet learning objectives. Ideally, they will also cater to different learning styles and include assessments to measure understanding and retention.

How do I evaluate the effectiveness of a training program?

Evaluation involves collecting feedback through surveys, discussions, and observations during and after the training sessions. After that, you can assess both the content and the delivery to determine what was effective and identify areas for improvement.

What metrics can help measure the success of a training program?

Success metrics might include changes in work performance, efficiency, employee satisfaction, productivity, error reduction, and sales increases. These metrics help analyze the training's impact and guide future improvements.

How should I adapt the training program over time?

Yes. It’s crucial to regularly revisit and reassess the training content and delivery to ensure relevance and effectiveness. This will allow you to adapt the program in response to new business needs, technological advancements, or participant feedback.

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