If you are looking to implement a training and development program in your organization, ideally you want a program that has longevity, encourages maximum employee engagement and minimizes cost. Here are 4 helpful tips to consider that may help you achieve this goal.

 

1. Encourage your employees to seek training and improve skills

It’s important for leadership within your enterprise to motivate and encourage employees to seek training and improve their skills. Managers may do this by taking part in training programs themselves and leading by example, or they may take the initiative to start training programs if it is determined that there is a need for them.

The HR Manager for John Love Electrical in Queensland, Australia, launched a training and development program to address the shortage of skilled trades-people within the company. The apprenticeship-based program produced a new generation of skilled trades workers for the company.

Similarly, the City of Grande Prairie, Alberta owes its training and development program’s success to two senior-level employees who dedicated themselves to designing and administering learning activities. They are described as having shown ‘vision, encouragement and support’ that made success of the program possible.

These examples underscore the transformative impact of leadership in fostering a culture of learning.

2. Implement learning programs in phases, and to specific cohorts

Sometimes learning initiatives can lack longevity. They start off with a burst of excitement and enthusiasm but eventually die off and fall by the wayside. One way to ensure that your training and development programs last—and maintain momentum—is to implement learning programs in phases.

Rolling out a program in phases—or to subsets of learners, aka cohorts—gives employees a chance to provide feedback before full implementation. It can save you time and money as issues that may discourage employee involvement can be resolved quickly. Employees also gain a sense of ownership in the development of the program.

Miami Cerebral Palsy Residential Services recognized the merits of this approach when they decided to implement eLearning and needed to up-skill its workers to use it effectively. They asked a small pilot group to test the system and meet regularly to discuss any problems or questions. The benefit of this approach was that the members of this pilot group could then teach others how to best use the new eLearning modules, and apply them in their work.

How to implement a phased approach to training:

Pilot Group Feedback Sessions:

Start by introducing a new training module or tool to a small, diverse group of employees. Schedule regular feedback sessions with this group to discuss what works, what doesn’t, and any issues encountered. Use this feedback to make necessary adjustments before rolling out the program to the wider organization.

Phase-Based Skill Development Programs:

Break down your training program into distinct phases, each focusing on developing a specific set of skills. After completing a phase, assess employee proficiency and gather feedback before proceeding to the next stage. This ensures that employees fully understand and can apply what they’ve learned before moving on.

Staggered Role-Specific Training:

Tailor training initiatives to specific roles within the organization and stagger their implementation. Start with roles that are critical for the operation and gradually extend training to other departments. This approach allows for customized training that is more relevant and engaging for each role.

Feedback-Driven Content Creation:

Use initial training sessions as opportunities to gather content suggestions and improvements from employees. This collaborative approach not only enhances the relevance and quality of training materials but also increases employee engagement and ownership over their learning experience.

Learning Community Forums:

Establish an online forum or community where employees can share insights, ask questions, and discuss challenges related to the training. This peer-to-peer learning approach can complement phased training by providing ongoing support and encouragement.

3. Offer flexible delivery options, with content tailored to different learning styles

Flexibility in the delivery of learning programs will drive more engagement by accommodating employees’ diverse needs. These needs can be met by offering training that is instructor-led or self-directed. If it’s instructor-led it can be virtual or in-person, on-site, or off-site. Self-directed options can include eLearning, microlearning, videos, or readings.

Flexibility in content presentation will also stimulate engagement and retention, by accommodating different learning styles and preferences (e.g., visual, auditory or kinesthetic processing).

The National Maritime Museum in London, UK implemented a learning program with various levels of formality due to the employees’ lackluster response. There were concerns about the inflexibility of the program. The program was redesigned to accommodate different learning styles and schedules. The result: a program that was much better accepted by the staff, helping the museum meet the requirements for national accreditation.

How organizations can embrace flexibility in training programs:

Hybrid Learning Options:

Offer employees the choice between attending training sessions in-person or via live-streaming platforms. This caters to both those who prefer the interaction of a physical classroom and those who may benefit from the convenience of remote participation. Check out our custom hybrid employee development workshops. [link to workshops services page]

Self-Paced Online Modules:

Develop or invest in online training modules that employees can complete at their own pace. This is particularly effective for technical skills development, where learners may progress at different speeds. 4Forward can help you develop customized online eLearning modules for your training and development programs. [link to eLearning services page]

Learning Style Assessments and Tailored Content:

Offer content in various formats, such as text, video, and interactive simulations, to cover visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Conduct assessments to determine employees’ preferred learning styles, and adapt training materials accordingly. 4forward can provide needs assessments and customized learning content for your organization. [link to services page]

Flexible Scheduling for Training Sessions:

Schedule training sessions at various times, including outside of traditional working hours, to accommodate different work schedules and time zones, especially in organizations with remote or global teams.

Microlearning Opportunities:

Break down training content into short, focused segments that employees can consume in brief periods. This approach is ideal for busy schedules and helps in retaining information more effectively.

4. Leverage partnerships with other organizations to expand offerings and reduce costs

Partnering with other organizations is a great way to reduce costs and foster employee engagement. When costs are reduced, you will probably experience more buy-in across the organization. By partnering with other organizations, you will raise the profile of your company’s learning programs, helping retain current employees and attract new employees.

BC Housing is a crown agency that offers subsidized housing for those in need. They offer a placement program through their partnerships with community organizations, providing valuable work experience to Indigenous and other groups, reducing the cost of training for new hires.

A successful training and development program in your organization should involve:

  • Leaders and managers who champion learning, and encourage employees
  • Implementation in phases, and to specific cohorts
  • Flexibility in delivery and presentation to accommodate various learner preferences
  • Leveraging partnerships to expand offerings and reduce costs

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