In a Forbes contribution by Josh Bersin, founder and principal at Bersin by Deloitte, he writes: "US spending on corporate training grew by 15% last year (the highest growth rate in seven years) to over $70 Billion in the US and over $130 Billion worldwide." With these numbers, it's evident that there are a lot of options out there when it comes to training and developing your employees. We know that it can be tough to sort them out and determine which are best for your particular business.
To help you innovate your current corporate training and development processes, here are some best practices:
Start with a training-needs analysis
Whether you're starting with a single new employee or you're instructing a group of current employees on a new software platform, you should begin with a training-needs analysis. Per the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the purpose of this is to "identify performance requirements and the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed by an agency's workforce to achieve the requirements."
Along with determining who needs to be trained and the scope of what that training should be, take the time to consider who will be using the new skill or tool right away. Those who will be using it at a later date should wait to take part in the training, or else they are likely to forget what they have learned when that time comes. To make this easier on yourself, organize a knowledge base or dashboard where employees can access the same materials at any time.
In The Wall Street Journal's interview with Eduardo Salas, a professor of organizational psychology at the University of Central Florida and a program director at its Institute for Simulation and Training, design is the single most important element of an effective training program. "It's the thing you do before, during and after," he says. "How are you going to allow employees to practice? How are you going to provide feedback? What sort of technology are you going to use? While this may seem obvious, very few organizations really pay attention to this."
If you don't have the time to design a program from back to front, consider partnering with a training solution that does much of the work for you. In working with an established solution, you could also be taking advantage of built-in tools for analytics and determining ROI.
Establish multiple means of accessing instruction in order to improve retention
Name the last time you sat through a single lengthy presentation and remembered every piece of information that was presented to you. For most of us, that has never happened. As Salas describes it: "Companies need to teach employees how and where to access facts. If you are inundated with facts and concepts, you will forget 90% of it. What training ought to do is help you get access to that information—databases, manuals, checklists—when you need it on the job. They cannot memorize everything."
Establish a granular method, with short videos and targeted webinars that cover one topic at a time. That way your employees can take in the information and know where they can access a resource detailing the next step.
Watch results over time
No one will perform perfectly every single time he or she learns something new. Because of this, it's not enough to only measure the immediate results of a training initiative. Continue to look at the same metrics at regular intervals over time to truly determine where it succeeded and failed. That way you can make adjustments moving forward and have insight into who is responding to the training or who may need some supplemental one-on-one coaching.
Once you've reviewed the metrics in your training tracking software, sit down with employees on an individual basis for feedback. By setting aside time, you can do more than simply tell someone they're not using the new tool or process properly. As Training magazine describes it: "Contrary to popular belief, people don’t do better just because you tell them they’re doing something wrong." Instead, you can have a conversation where you may even learn more about how your employees prefer to take in information. Let's say you've provided meetings and lectures, but you find out your employees tend to appreciate visual demonstrations. Now you know that switching to video training might be a viable option.