All successful businesses have one important thing in common: they invest in employee training. Employee training programs– when implemented effectively– result in both increased productivity and higher morale. However, while many companies understand the importance of offering training opportunities for their employees, the programs they offer are often poorly executed. When training programs aren’t run efficiently, the transfer of knowledge back into the workplace doesn’t occur; thus, desired results aren’t achieved and both employees and management are left feeling discouraged and defeated. To boost employee morale, productivity, and retention rates, consider the following tips for implementing effective training programs:
Create clear, measurable objectives. Perhaps one of the most common mistakes made when it comes to training programs is the tendency to overload employees with information. Why is this a problem? After all, the more they learn, the better they’ll perform in the workplace, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case. Filling employees’ heads with facts and information– without any indication of how they’ll apply this knowledge in the workplace– is essentially useless. So, what’s the solution? Create clear, behavioral objectives that state exactly what the employees should be able to do by the end of the training session– and then discuss the objectives with the employees.
Offer coaching in the workplace. When returning to the workplace at the conclusion of a training program, it’s common for employees to experience a decrease in productivity. After all, it takes time to perfect their new skills and apply them in the office. The most effective training programs include a plan to support employees during this transitional period. Most often, this support comes in the form of a seasoned employee who is trained to act as a coach and mentor as employees learn to apply their new skills.
Evaluate your program. Did your training program accomplish what you set out for it to accomplish? In order to determine whether or not the program was effective– and if you’d use it again in the future– conduct a post-training course evaluation. Of course, you don’t want to evaluate the program immediately upon its completion; you want to give your employees time to adjust and effectively apply their new skills. A good rule of thumb is to wait about 3 months post-training to conduct the evaluation. An evaluation can be done by a third party who comes in to observe your employees. Or, it can be as simple as having various managers complete surveys about how well their employees have applied the skills learned during training.
Offer recognition for completion. Employee recognition goes a long way towards boosting morale and increasing retention. So, it’s important to offer some type of recognition for the completion of training programs. It’s not necessary for the recognition to be elaborate. A certificate stating that the employee has successfully completed the training program, along with the CEO’s signature, is sufficient. Or, consider dedicating a section of the company newsletter to employees who have successfully completed the latest training program.
Give it time. Above all, practice patience when conducting training sessions. Instead of attempting to pack the session with as much information as possible, focus on one or two practical changes you’d like to implement. Remember: quality over quantity should be your motto for training programs. Give your employees time to adjust to their new normal. Allow them to ask questions and thoroughly practice their new skills. Change takes time.
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