“You can’t plow a field simply by turning it over in your mind.” ~ Gordon B. Hinckley
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” ~ Yogi Berra
Small businesses know that employee training is important, and most have great intentions of providing the learning experiences workers want. But sometimes in the midst of long days, busy schedules, and customer sales, employee training gets moved off to the side.
The secret to providing good, consistent training is to create a plan and a calendar to track and measure what employees learn. Consider five ways to succeed with employee training.
1. List the benefits of employee training – Sometimes when you recognize the value of a task, it’s easier to find the motivation to complete it.
Create a list of all the benefits of having trained employees, such as:
* Knowledgeable employees who can better answer customers’ questions.
*Engaged employees who are committed to their work.
*Lower employee turnover.
* Satisfied employees who appreciate training opportunities to boost their knowledge and skills.
* Workers who promote your company and encourage others to join your team.
* New employees who quickly are knowledgeable about their work responsibilities.
* Records to satisfy compliance requirements.
2. Categorize the training employees need – Make an inventory of the skills and knowledge employees need to develop. Consider their professional needs and personal interests. Ultimately, though, training should connect learning to support your business growth.
Here are a few suggestions:
* Knowledge of your business history, mission and brand (Read this blog to learn more.)
* Understand the company’s products and services.
* Information about the customers’ demographics, sales trends, and product needs.
* Enhanced personal and professional skills, so employees can successfully
- solve problems
- think critically
- work well with other employees
- manage communications and conversations
- run effective meetings
- become good leaders
- make the right decisions
- meet compliance rules and regulations
3. Identify the tools needed for employee training – Training employees doesn’t have to be expensive. Review these cost-effective ideas. Many companies have found that investing in online training software system can make it easy to provide the learning experiences employees want. There are many options available at a range of price points, so it’s important to review the software choices. List the pros and cons of each one and get a free trial before settling on the one that works best for your company.
List the communication tools you’ll need to create simple, but interesting, training modules, such as videos, PowerPoint, audio interviews, storytelling, and pictures.
Remember to make employee training flexible and easy to use. Employees want continuous learning experiences, but they want to do it at any time, from anywhere and using any digital device. They also don’t want to spend a lot of time watching training modules. Break learning into short teaching sessions, a concept called microlearning. Encourage employees to share what they learn in the training modules, to develop cohesive teams.
4. Create a training calendar – Develop a master calendar to track the training needs of each employee. For example, new employees will need specific onboarding training topics, while experienced workers will want more extensive learning experiences to enhance their jobs skills or gain new knowledge. Also, consider whether there are seasonal sales training needs or educational information about customers and markets. Creating a training calendar will help ensure you have a plan to provide the right learning experiences throughout the year.
Some online training software systems have calendar options to develop a training plan for each employee. There also are many free online calendar templates to help you organize employee training.
5. Measure training successes – Just as it’s important to plan employee training, it’s vital to measure employee learning success. Identify business changes and improvements generated through employee training and share those results with your workers. Also, don’t forget to recognize employees’ training achievements.