When considering the development of a company’s workforce, forward planning is essential for successful conveyance of skills and knowledge. Companies need to understand the level that their employees are currently at and what is the desired level of competence at the end of these initiatives. Building blocks for employee learning & development should begin with:
1. Crafting a Plan
Start by evaluating the base skills and knowledge that your employees need to operate daily and carry out their tasks successfully. This should be something senior company employees all exemplify and can be learned overtime through experience for the junior employees. Then, understand whether the training would be useful to your employees and if they are willing to participate in training. Next, create a basic framework from this and introduce these practices to employees early on through on-boarding and performance discussions. This framework can act as a catalyst to accelerate growth of employees.
Afterwards, build an advance training plan for your employees whom already meet the basic requirements for operations. This plan will include desired skills and knowledge that would help improve performance and should stem from the basic framework. Companies can build this from examples set by model employees, competitor practices, market leaders and so forth. An example could be a sales representative that performs sales pitches getting training on customer psychology and approach methodologies.
Not all training will be suitable for all employees therefore training should categorize according to job specific functions to avoid unhelpful and irrelevant training. Companies can then start looking at individual skill gaps between employees and recommend training based on individual progress and need.
2. Host Regular Training Session
Consistency is key to implementing successful training; companies need to understand that learning and development takes time and not all employees will have the luxury of attending every training set up by management. Therefore, having regular multiple sessions of a single topic can ensure that employees can attend training while managing their time between work and learning. Conversely, companies can allow employees to request for training and schedule them based on the demand for a certain course.
3. Create mentor-ship initiative
Creating a mentor-mentee relationship between employees allows senior employees or those whom have attended previous training to share their skills and knowledge with their colleagues. This can prove more effective than just attending training because of their applications of their learning into practice. Not all skills or knowledge might be practical to use in your company’s environment and pinpointing key learning that are more significant will help refine training substance and employee improvement from training.
This initiative also helps colleagues build synergy through knowledge sharing, helping to build an overall better team. Subsequently, this could build an underlying corporate culture of knowledge sharing among your employees.
4. Cross Departmental Training
Companies have many interconnected departments that work in unison and that synergy helps improves the overall performance of operations. Training can be used as a tool to bridge better understanding between departmental functions and help find new ways to improve productivity. An example would be how payments are handled by finance, the typical lead time to process an order or repeating marketing promotions. Information like these could be useful for sales representatives to give better information to potential customers during a pitch and could lead to closing a sale.
5. Have accessible data for review and self-learning
Information shared during training should be archived and made accessible to employees for future viewing. This knowledge base will serve as a basis for future training and help employees whom have undergone training to refresh their skills and knowledge learnt. Training information here should be routinely updated to suit the demand for it and help improve its effectiveness overall. Employees can also use this portal to self-learn by going through training materials or even use it to review a training course before deciding to participate in it.
6. Set Goals and Oversee Changes
When creating learning and development opportunities for your employees always have an objective in mind at the end of the training. To really understand the impact of the training on participants leaders must be a driving force for these lessons and lead by example. Individual performance reviews can also help understand impact on a more personal level and help team leaders understand performance gaps at a base level and can work towards overcoming specific problems which may or may not involve more training. With that start incorporating the building blocks for employee learning and development into your company today and start your team on the journey of continuous improvement.