Training and development programs are crucial for any organization and ensure that employees are fully equipped to handle the latest challenges facing your industry. However, if you want your programs to be effective, it’s imperative that you do some research and employ effective strategies that will lead to measurable results. Otherwise, the information may go in one ear and out the other, and you’ll simply be taking time out of the work week that won’t lead to lasting improvements. So, to help you plan, here are the five most important steps for implementing better training and development programs.
Before you waste the resources and energy needed to implement a training and development program, it’s essential that you do some research to determine what type of training is required and how you plan to administer it. Start by identifying your goals. Are you looking to boost revenue or improve productivity? Is there a specific skill or technique you want your employees to know? Is it a general company-wide training, or are you catering to select team members or departments? Defining the goals and parameters of the training will give you a jumping-off point to begin researching the strategies and programs that will help you achieve those goals.
Once you’ve done some research and defined the objectives of the program, you should set goals and expectations for the organization, as well as for each individual participating in the program. Doing so will better prepare the team to absorb the information in the training and implement what they’ve learned into their daily work routines.
But make sure that the goals you set for the organization and team are well aligned , and senior managers are on board with the content and potential outcomes of the training. There’s always the potential for chaos and confusion if everyone is not on the same page, so make sure you coordinate goals efficiently and alert any key decision-makers to the new plan.
One of the major challenges business leaders face when implementing a training and development program is ensuring that participants will actually retain the information so that it has a lasting impact on their work performance. How many times have you attended a seminar that was dry and boring and you forgot virtually all the information you were given the minute you walked out the door? So, if you want to see lasting results from your training programs, try to make them participatory and fun.
You can use many strategies to make the program more interactive and exciting, including audience response tools, gamification, fidget toys, thumb all-style conversation starters, and so much more. The more interesting and provocative you make the presentation, the more likely the information will stick in their heads. Don’t get too carried away and forget you’re hosting an educational program. But making sure your team is enthusiastic and engaged throughout the training will go a long way toward helping you achieve your goals.
The actual training is only half the battle – the real challenge begins when the team gets back to work. So, you must put the learning to work immediately, otherwise, the information will be quickly forgotten. That’s why it’s so critical to set actionable goals and provide resources before you even begin the session , so participants can hit the ground running once the program is over. It’s easy to get caught up in discussing theory and the philosophy of the techniques you’re recommending, but if you don’t give employees concrete steps they can follow to implement the ideas presented, it’s unlikely you’ll see results.
If you want to find out how effective your training and development program is, you’ll want to be able to measure the results. You can do this by observing any behaviors that demonstrate participants absorbed the information in the training and that they made a positive change in their performance. It is important that senior managers encourage and celebrate these behaviors if they want to see any significant changes.
Finally, if you want to ensure that you see long-term results from the training, it’s important to offer ongoing support and continue to reinforce the lessons taught in the program. If you simply give your staff the information and then leave it up to them to implement the changes, chances are that any improvements will slowly begin to taper off over time as employees revert to old habits. But if you offer ongoing encouragement and support, the chances of positive changes becoming the new norm are much greater. So, make sure that participants know they can always reach out for support if needed and encourage team leaders to check in periodically to ensure the team has everything required to continue delivering results.
Training programs can significantly benefit any organization, no matter what you’re looking to achieve . But you must be strategic with how you implement the program if you want to see lasting results. Follow these five steps to see an immediate improvement in the ROI of your training and development programs.
Susan Doctoroff Landay is the President of Trainers Warehouse, a family-owned business that develops exclusive products and resources to help trainers achieve their goals. Landay is a graduate of Yale, an entrepreneur, and a former circus clown who is committed to making work more fun.