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Why Employee Training is Essential

However you train employees, you must do it for one reason only: to improve their performance! That performance must be directly evident in the tasks that your employees perform. Some key factors that should make your training plans necessary, are:

  • New products, new markets, new customers require new competencies
  • Increasing competition and customer service expectations demand better front-line performance
  • Staff turnover requires timely and efficient on-boarding of personnel
  • New regulations demand new process and approaches
  • New technologies require new skills

What is a Training Plan

The training plan is your company’s specific response to gaining the skills you need to advance the business. Your training plan, ideally, should be a supporting document to a plan or set of key ideas about how the company will use it knowledge assets.  A well-thought out training plan will offer these benefits:
1. Guide the development of skills that are directly related to business priorities and goals.
2. Define standards of performance to satisfy the company’s customer service objectives.
3. Reflate tasks to skills, and skills to jobs, clearly.
4. Set standards and expectations for use of best practices in learning and instruction.
5. Respond to employee needs for growth and development.

Where to Start

Take both top-down and ground level approaches. At the top, use the company’s business plan, product development plan(s), and its customer service log. At the ground level, use employee appraisals, which should provide employee-generated personal development statements.

Recommended Approach

The ‘training goals’ may include immediate business performance needs (task execution), individual’s self-efficacy on the job (soft skills), and tertiary needs (professional development and succession planning). Not all of these dimensions have the same urgency, so it is important to define and prioritize your needs clearly.

Use the top level items like your business plan and product plan(s)—for goods and/or services—to identify the most important priorities—these may not be the most urgent (as in ‘fires’) but they are implicitly urgent. Use the customer service logs to identify performance gaps (these are your real fires.) Use your performance appraisals to identify your employees’ stated needs. Even if your top talent are not first in line for training, you must factor their needs in to your plans, somewhere. Finally, apply a simple but reliable prioritization methodology to organize these into some sort of priority—see one of my Sigma-derived cheap and dirty methods here.

Tip: Ticket checks going in and coming out.

Approach training with two mindsets, and adhere to them rigorously. First, per Stephen Covey, the ‘end in mind’ mindset: what must the desired performance look like? Second the ‘conditions of entry’ mindset: what is it that each potential trainee needs to do but does not know how to?

■ Instructor-led training: classroom or online
■ Seminars: classroom or online
■ Workshop Facilitation (classroom)
■ Course Effectiveness Evaluations