HR professionals can use employee training and development to cultivate success. Ongoing training can enhance staff performance and productivity and create a workplace that's flexible and adaptive. Knowing what a training program is and how to develop one effectively can help an organisation achieve its goals. In this article, we define what a training program is, look at training program examples and show the steps you can take to create an effective training program.
What is a training program?
A training program may refer to an HR plan that aims to advance employee skills and knowledge at a company. Training programs can take many forms, including e-learning, educational instruction, group discussions and guided activities with the aim to improve performance. Managers and HR professionals may design a training program to align with specific organisational needs or developmental goals.
What are the benefits of a training program?
Some benefits of implementing an employee training program can include:
An in-house training program can encourage employees to engage with a company's core values and recognise its objectives. Employees that are given an opportunity to work on specific skills are more likely to become passionate about their work and elevate productivity. This can also increase job satisfaction and reduce staff turnover levels, which can help a company grow a team of loyal and knowledgeable professionals.
Improved employee potential
When a company invests its resources into nurturing employee skills and training their employees, they help build the employee potential. This can motivate their workforce to strive for success and solve problems efficiently. Additionally, the right training program can also show employees that there are opportunities for progression within the company. As a result, employees may feel more determined to advance in their careers.
More team-building opportunities
Group training can help members of a team or department bond together as they address company and personal needs in their interactions. After the training, team members usually have strong bonds and can work harmoniously towards achieving the organisational goals. This can provide long-term benefits, including a positive culture and strong communication among team members.
Related: What Is On-the-Job Training?
Training Program Examples
Managers and HR professionals use various training models to help their workforce improve their skills. Different models address various organisational needs. Below are common training program examples:
Instructor-led training is a traditional model of employee training. Designed by professionals, this training type may combine both informational materials and instructional tools. Instructors often guide employees through exercises and various learning materials. While instructor-led training might be time-consuming, it provides employees with the resources that help them understand complex topics.
Online learning has gained popularity in recent years due to technological advancements. This form of training involves interactive media activities such as videos, tests, guided reading and games. Compared to other training models, virtual learning is inexpensive and easier to implement than other training programs. It may be particularly suitable for organisations that have a remote workforce.
Group training is a program that involves multiple employees meeting for more extensive training sessions. Employees usually take part in discussions and guided activities. Not only does this form of training strengthen team bonds, but it also ensures members invest in each other's success. Group training can introduce various perspectives and also foster collaboration in the workplace.
These program types usually adopt a personalised approach to employee development. It includes elements of experiential learning through on-the-job training. Employees who undergo this training usually transition into their roles easily and have a clearer understanding of how they fit into the organisation's structure. Although hands-on training requires high levels of support and higher resource allocation, it often leads to increased levels of productivity and personal development.
Coaching is a form of one-on-one training that seeks to address personal needs via a small group environment. During these programs, an experienced employee or leader provides new staff members with advice, career guidance and support to develop the right job skills. Coaching is highly effective in improving employee performance.
Succession training may help mould potential leaders over a duration of time. Senior managers often identify high-performing employees then help them develop leadership skills to become future managers within the company. Succession training also helps to prepare future managers to lead teams and departments successfully.
Related: 10 Common Leadership Styles
Personal development plans
Like coaching, the individual development plan (IDP) helps the company address personal training and development needs at different periods. A typical IDP training program may combine experiential learning with mentoring and independent learning strategies. Companies that use IDP can track and monitor the development of individual employees. The good thing about this approach is that it allows HR managers to address various learning needs simultaneously.
In cross-training, employees learn to perform duties that are usually assigned to other roles. This form of training helps the employee develop transferable skills that they can use in other positions. By broadening the skill set of existing employees, the company can fill gaps during employee transitions. Employees who understand the roles of their peers can collaborate easily, as they're likely to work with their peers' needs in mind.
This is a slight variation of an on-the-job training program. This training style teaches employees to do work that may be beyond their competency level. Stretch training broadens the foundational skills of employees. Those who undergo this training can learn how to perform upward tasks. Stretch training provides cross-functional learning opportunities for employees looking for new challenges and imparts employees with new skills and competencies.
How to create training programs
Every employee and company is unique, meaning there is no precise method for creating an employee training program. However, there are some crucial steps you can take to develop a program during your HR career. The following steps outline how to create an effective training program:
1. Select a training manager
For your training to run smoothly, consider appointing someone to serve as your company's training program manager. This can be a respected HR officer, department head or an external expert who can help coordinate training or bring a fresh perspective to your employee development. This person may know how to manage employee and training activities. They might design, plan or executive plans and monitor the progress and impact of the training initiatives.
2. Evaluate employee training needs
Once you appoint a training manager, you can perform employee assessments to determine their specific training or development needs. Evaluations help the company discover potential gaps in skills, knowledge or employee competency. The feedback might also inform you of the type of training you might conduct to support employees in their careers. The training manager can use these results to develop a targeted training program that addresses specific or unique challenges a team may face.
3. Align programmes to the company's goals
After identifying individual and group training needs, your training manager can align employee learning needs with your company's goals. One way to do this is to evaluate the company's performance over time and identify disparities in productivity or performance. For example, a sales company may discover a lack of telephone sales, which are essential to the company's profitability. Therefore, the training may target telephone etiquette and vocal sales techniques.
4. Set objectives and benchmarks
The company's training manager may work with HR members, and other team leads to set specific goals for the training program. For example, a training program may work on the team's productivity to help them maintain a healthy work-life balance. Alternatively, programs may focus on developing specific skills or how to use a particular software. An effective training program may motivate employees to reach a specific benchmark by communicating the intended outcomes.
5. Be creative with the curriculum
A creative curriculum can help employees stay engaged with the program. As a training manager, try to develop an interactive training program that conveys key points through media outlets that employees may not consume often. This can also help you build an original program that participants may find memorable.
6. Be transparent
When designing the training program, try to view the initiative from the employees' point of view. They might want to know why the company is organising the training. Being honest about the training and any incentives the company offers may drive engagement. A higher training attendance also demonstrates the effectiveness of the training program.
7. Encourage team leaders to participate
It's crucial for your company to involve team leaders from the organisation to participate in the training program. Their presence and endorsement of any employee-driven initiative may help underscore the importance of the training, encourage accountability and reinforce expectations. Employees might also feel supported to grow and succeed when they see leaders engaging in training.