In business, there are not a lot of guarantees. However, a few years back, a study by the American Society for Training and Development (now known as the Association for Talent Development) discovered an unmistakable link between implementing a formal training program and increasing your organization’s profitability.
In fact, this study found that organizations with an established training program enjoy more than 218% more revenue per employee and a staggering 24% higher profit margin than organizations with no training program.
In other words, a training program may not be a “guarantee,” but it certainly does increase your organization’s chances of business success.
So, what is a training program?
“Training” is a part of any job or workplace. We all learn things (usually from our peers or supervisors) as we master a new job. However, a “training program” is a thoughtfully designed, formal learning path (like a curriculum or series of courses). It systematically equips employees with the skills they need to excel at work.
Instead of simply hiring employees and hoping they’ll have the necessary background knowledge or figure out things for themselves, a formal training program ensures that every employee gains the skills and knowledge they need.
Creating the perfect training program in 7 steps
If your organization is ready to put a comprehensive training program in place, check out the following seven steps. These steps guide you through the decision-making process and help you put the ideal training program in place, so your organization can start reaping all the amazing benefits.
1. Assess training needs
Start by looking at areas of your business where skills need to be improved. For example, is your organization struggling to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction? This is an opportunity for you to implement customer handling training to ensure your employees have the right skills.
Make sure that you identify the areas where additional education will help your organization achieve its business goals. Remember, training must have a practical objective.
2. Pick a training method
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to picking a training method. Ask yourself which approach suits your employees best. For example:
- Online training:
Employees acquire knowledge in a virtual learning environment.
- Classroom training:
Employees learn face-to-face from a trainer.
- Blended learning:
A combination of online and classroom training.
Mobile training is often beneficial too. This lets learners access knowledge through their mobile devices. New technology makes this easy and affordable to implement.
“Microlearning” is another method that is quickly gaining popularity due to its effectiveness. It involves providing compact bits of useful knowledge (through an online learning platform or mobile app, for example). Information in small doses is easier to digest and encourages repeat viewing, so learners internalize knowledge more effectively.
3. Pick the right tools
Once you’ve decided on the best method, pick smart tools to ensure your learners can easily access training information. This is also a financial decision because your organization must invest wisely in its new training resources to keep costs under control.
Cloud-based e-learning platforms are an ideal solution, usually available on an affordable subscription basis. Choose a platform like Easygenerator, which enables employees to author and publish training content themselves. Solutions like this boost learner engagement and produce better learning outcomes. They are also easily combinable with classroom training, mobile learning, and microlearning.
4. Start creating content
Next, it’s time to start writing courses and educational resources (let’s just call this “learning content” for short). Generally, there are two ways to create learning content:
Your organization hires learning & development (L&D) professionals who are responsible for creating and maintaining all the learning content themselves.
Your organization gives employees themselves the tools to create, share and maintain their own learning resources.
The bottom-up method (also known as “Employee-generated Learning”) presents many advantages compared to the top-down method. It enables the organization to quickly create an effective knowledge base. It draws on the knowledge of experienced employees (or “subject matter experts”) who have a wealth of on-the-job expertise to share with their peers.
5. Publish the learning content
Once learning content has been created, whether by your L&D team or by subject matter experts, it’s time to publish it. This gives your employees access to the content, so they can use it to learn.
The easiest way to reach large numbers of employees is to use online publishing tools. You can publish content via your company’s website, which may involve an increased IT workload and higher costs. Or you can publish via a cloud-based learning platform. Easygenerator actually doubles as a content creation tool and a publishing platform, making it a useful, cost-effective choice.
6. Evaluate your training program
So, your content is published and now it’s time to see how effective it is. Modern e-learning platforms include tools for tracking how well employees are doing on assessments, and monitoring key metrics like course completion rates.
Another excellent quality metric is “net promoter score” (NPS). This tracks the quality of a course simply by asking participants whether they would recommend the course to their peers. It gives course creators a clear view of whether learners consider the content valuable and useful. Look for an authoring tool like Easygenerator which includes NPS as a standard feature. This helps you maintain a high level of quality in your learning content.
7. Keep courses updated
Lastly, you’ve got to make sure content is kept updated. The business is continually evolving, so training content must be tweaked to ensure it’s relevant to the challenges employees actually face.
“Top-down” content creation (see Step 4 above) makes it harder to keep content updated because there are usually fewer people working on creating content. The process is much slower, and these individuals are probably not working on the business side of the organization every day, so they lack the first-hand expertise that it takes to ensure the content is relevant.
This is why an Employee-generated Learning approach is highly recommended. With this approach, employees update the content on a rolling basis, so information is always relevant and accurate.
Why is a training program so beneficial to your business?
A training program benefits your business in many ways. Primarily, it ensures a consistent level of skill and knowledge throughout your organization’s workforce.
It also boosts engagement by showing employees that your organization cares about their professional development. Engaged employees are likelier to remain within the company and perform better on the job.
Ideally, your training program will tap into the knowledge that already exists among your workers. When you follow the “Employee-generated Learning” model discussed above, it creates opportunities to boost employee engagement, teamwork, and creativity, while also preventing loss of knowledge. This creates a firm foundation for sustaining knowledge and ensuring the continued success of your business.