In our last post, we discussed the value of implementing workplace training initiatives.

Today, we focus on the the four keys to implementing a successful training and development program in your organization.

1. Managers and executives need to play a key role

Leaders and managers must encourage employees to seek training and to continually develop their skills. By taking part in training programs, managers can lead by example. They can also take the initiative to start training programs to introduce new initiatives that promote learning, collaboration, and development.

2. Implement learning initiatives and activities in phases

Workplace training and development programs can often seem overwhelming to employees if presented all at once. “Bursts” of learning have the potential to fall by the wayside and lose momentum quickly.

One way to ensure that your training and development programs maintain momentum is to implement learning activities in phases. This approach gives employees opportunities to try aspects of the program and give feedback for improvement before full implementation. It also saves you time and money as issues that may discourage employee involvement can be resolved quickly and give your employees a sense of ownership in the development of the program.

3. Understand the learners

It is critical that you understand the learning needs of your people before you develop or implement any learning materials. Conducting research into the
learning needs of staff members is a good place to start! When we engage with a client in creating the strategy for a learning development program, we typically survey their staff, conduct interviews, or have employees complete self-assessments to identify where they would like to improve – in addition to understanding the organization’s needs and goals.

4. Make workplace learning convenient

Creating a flexible learning program that recognizes and accommodates the unique needs of your staff is one way to promote employee engagement. For example, the varied schedules of your staff may prevent them from attending existing professional development sessions. Offering access to on-site, off-site, or online training is one way to meet the diverse needs of employees. Likewise, offering differentiated training options that appeal to various types of learners (i.e. visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners) can boost employee engagement and ensure lasting results.

Also, remember that not all workplace learning needs to be formal. Encourage reflection, collaboration, knowledge building, and resource sharing. Learning and development opportunities come in many shapes and sizes!

Implementing successful training and development programs in the workplace can be challenging; however, identifying the needs of your staff, creating an environment that is conducive to learning, and creating flexible and convenient learning opportunities are all ways to boost employee engagement and make positive change happen!

Guest contributors for this post: Jenny Papadakis and Lisel Douglas.

Works Cited

Hughes, P. D., Stuckey, J., The Conference Board of Canada. (2011). Investing in Skills: Effective Work-Related Learning in SMEs. Retrieved from Research on Work-Related Learning in SMEs