More and more organisations are becoming aware of the importance of training their employees, and the importance of technology to modern businesses means that such training is increasingly likely to focus on IT skills. However, having the right idea is not always enough, so it is important to approach training in a strategic way and ensure that it is tailored to meeting your specific business needs.
1. Training courses should be matched to the specific roles of individuals and teams
In order to achieve maximum ROI from staff training, it is essential to enrol your staff in courses which are relevant to the requirements of their role and which will help them perform better. This is not always an easy thing to do, as many staff members use the same software to perform completely different functions, so it can be worthwhile to book a training needs analysis.
2. Corporate culture should encourage learning and development
Learning and improvement should be celebrated in the workplace, and managers should take an interest in the progress that their staff are making in their training. Mutual encouragement and a company which promotes the value of training will encourage everyone to take their training seriously and see it as an integral part of their job.
3. Give some ownership of training to employees
Allowing employees to have some input into the training strategy means that they are able to nominate the areas which they believe would be most helpful for them. It also increases their interest and emotional investment in the training, since it becomes their own project rather than merely something their boss has ordered them to do.
4. Get regular feedback
Throughout the duration of a training course, participants should be giving regular feedback to make sure that the course is meeting their specific needs. Time is valuable and it is important to be constantly monitoring training activities so that they can be adjusted as quickly as possible if necessary.
5. Align training with corporate goals
Training should not only be aligned with the needs of each individual and team, but with higher level business strategy as well. The skills that are developed should be a long-term investment that will deliver long-term benefits to the business and its customers. For example, a manager might train one team on a new piece of software as a trial, with a further rollout to the rest of the company if it is successful.
6. Measure the results of training
Like all business expenditures, investments in training need to be justified by measuring the ROI as accurately as possible. Results can be measured in a number of ways, including surveys, tests, sales figures and several other metrics. This will either confirm that training has been successful, or reveal ways in which training needs to be further improved or customised, both of which are useful information for future investments.
7. Refresh, reinforce and follow up training in the long term
Rather than simply learning the basics and being left on their own, staff should have the opportunity to continue expanding and building upon what they have learnt. They will also need some level of ongoing support to help them implement their training in the workplace, and to remind them of any details that are forgotten.
8. Give employees the chance to use their new skills
New skills and knowledge can be easily lost without practice, so it is important that after completing their training, staff get a chance to put it into practice. Training courses should be timed to allow staff to immediately begin to transition into using the new tools or systems in their work.
9. Choose a suitable format for training
Depending upon the needs of each business, training can be conducted online through virtual instructor led training (VILT), in a classroom, or in a blended model that combines the two. None of these options are a one-size-fits-all solution, so managers will need to think about the requirements and limitations that they have. For some, classroom-only training may not be feasible due to time constraints, while other may feel that online training is not engaging or interactive enough for their staff.
Staff IT training is an important investment for organisations of all sizes, but it is not guaranteed to be a success without proper planning and implementation. The best way to ensure that your staff training is a success is to talk to a learning consultant and begin by organising a training needs analysis.