How to build and assess your employee training program

How to build and assess your employee training program

hb&k employees attended an all-day training out of the office with our software partner, Xero.

Savvy employers view training as a strategic investment in the future of their company.   An employee training program is critical to developing any organization’s intellectual capital. Once you’ve committed to developing a high-performance workforce, it’s important to develop and regularly assess your training program.

hb&k continually updates training & learning policies to benefit employees.  One of the ways we do this is through Lunch & Learn meetings.  Throughout the summer primarily (our least “busy” season),  we gather together to be educated on a new topic.

Sometimes the presenter is an internal employee and other times, we reach out to our technological, community, and software partners to give presentations.  Our topics range from learning about a new application to help clients track employee timesheets, to reviewing an internal process, to something fun like the techniques and rules to the game of pickleball.

Training is an on-going initiative throughout the entire span of time an employee is at hb&k.  It is important to continue to learn and grow within your field of expertise.  Departmental training is varied to allow each group to engage in internal educational meetings and attend webinars and conferences covering relevant topics.  Every individual is encouraged to seek training on the work-related subjects that interest them the most.

We’ve developed “Learning Ladders” as a guide of expected training for a new employee’s first three years within the firm.  Incoming employees also participate in an official formal on-boarding process to make their transition into the firm easier and show the importance of continuous education from the start.  You can read more about on-boarding by clicking here.

Best practices

Creating and implementing an organization-wide training program — or even one for a single department — can be a complicated endeavor. But there are three best practices to keep in mind:

1. Conduct a training-needs analysis to reveal strengths and weaknesses as well as pinpoint specific training needs.
2. Establish training priorities, along with a corresponding budget, timetable and implementation plan.
3. Roll out the program using a methodical, phased approach. Doing so will help you catch any major problems before they can ruin the entire initiative.

 

Costs and benefits

Once the training program is in place, regularly assess whether it’s  effective. You might be tempted to simply separate program expenses into direct and indirect costs, but these are only once side of the equation. You must also measure its positive impact. Here’s a breakdown of the major elements from both perspectives:

Direct costs. These include items such as trainer fees (if trainers aren’t on your staff), participant materials and program supplies, travel-related costs, and food and beverages.

Indirect costs. Examples include salaries and benefits for trainers (if they’re employees) and trainees, and the purchase and maintenance of durable supplies (such as training room furniture and supporting technology).

Evaluation expenses. These include pre- and post-training tests, combined with tracking on-the-job changes in knowledge, skill and performance. You can directly link these elements to program efficiency and effectiveness measures.

Benefits (or harm). Try to measure the positive impact of the training program. Potential benefits include greater productivity, reduced operational expenses, improved morale, reduced turnover and a stronger bottom line. Of course, you’ve got to recognize both gains and losses. If, for instance, your productivity is suffering after implementation of the program, something is clearly wrong.

A huge difference

You may have to exercise some patience to see dramatic results, but a carefully crafted and regularly improved employee training program can make a huge difference. Please contact us for help turning enhanced intellectual capital into greater profitability.

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