How to Develop a Workplace Training Program

Every time your company installs a new system, upgrades software, or adds “smart” equipment, your employees require training on how to make the most productive use of the new technology. The current labor market is tight, and finding people with the necessary skills is a challenge, so companies are taking on more responsibility to provide training to new and existing employees. A successful and effective workplace training program takes research and planning. These steps will help your company develop a workplace training program that prepares your team for new challenges.

Conduct a Needs Assessment

Before you develop content for a workplace training program, you have to know why you’re doing it. What needs are you trying to address, and what skills are lacking that need development? Most importantly, what are the goals for the program? Training should support an identified business objective by addressing areas that need improvement in order to meet that goal.

For example, in the case of new system implementation involving a major data migration to the new platform, your employees need training in what will be different and how to use the new system productively. Your goal will likely be ensuring that all users are competent and confident in using the new system by a stated date, with minimal disruption to service. Figure out what employees need to do to accomplish your goal, and break down how each role they occupy will contribute. Develop a workplace training program that clearly targets specific objectives.

Identify a Leader

Your director of learning and development is the natural team lead for crafting new workplace training, but if your organization is smaller, you may not have someone who holds that title. The program manager should be enthusiastic, curious, and willing to listen to various perspectives about what new skills or knowledge employees need. Choose someone people talk to easily and with whom staff feel comfortable sharing ideas.

Understand Adult Learners

Respect your team’s experience and don’t waste their time with irrelevant training. They want to learn what they need to know and get back to work. Adults respond best to self-directed, task- and goal-oriented training where they learn information they want to learn. Be prepared to answer questions about what’s in it for them. Will the training result in career advancement, or will it solve a workplace problem and give them greater job satisfaction? Perhaps your organization has set a lofty goal of helping every staff member understand new industry standards. In those cases, it’s best to utilize a high-quality workplace training program. Emphasize that the work that goes into training will pay off for individual employees who gain upgraded skills and fluency with best practices in your industry.

Identify How You Will Measure Results

It’s disheartening to invest significant work time in a training program and then never hear another word about it. Communicate to employees how their newly gained skills and knowledge benefit the company as a whole and back up your claims with concrete data. Tell workers the positive results of their efforts and thank them for their hard work in deploying their new skills.