Hi. Thanks for reading this how-to guide. They say that education is wasted on the young, sadly it’s also wasted on a percentage of businesses and employees where the training strategy just doesn’t cut the mustard. Here’s a usable guide on how to build a worthwhile strategy to develop your people and your business.

The Training Journey:

To make your training truly effective, you need to take your student on a training journey, and not just any old journey, but a journey that’s built for them.

To fully understand a subject, the student must have the opportunity to learn the theory and then practise the application. We wouldn’t like to be operated on by a surgeon who’d just read a lot about it in a book would we? They need to read and absorb the theory but then apply it, measure its effectiveness and take part in various refresher courses for constant development.

Your employee and your business will get a lot more out of training if it’s worthwhile. The way to make it so is to ensure it has a measurable benefit and is leading to a specific goal.

If you are using an automated system, this should be really simple as each employee will have specific dates for extra courses and refreshers.  Clear paths for development can be written in to the programme so it is obvious to the employee which course they should take next and their progress flagged with their line manager.

Knowing your students:

You have to know your student as well as you know your subject. A one-size fits all approach won’t do. Everyone learns and absorbs information differently and this can change from day to day as work and family pressures alter anyway.

Make the effort to understand how your people like to learn. It’s best ideally to have a number of different ways in which people can undergo any training that they need and then measure the effectiveness of each with a short questionnaire. This will allow you to develop a training approach that best suits the needs of your workforce.

It doesn’t need to be a momentous task. It could simply mean breaking each learning topic down into four distinct ways of studying: a workshop, videos and presentations online, written documentation, or completing online quizzes. Employees can choose to do one or all of these tasks depending on their timescales and ability to learn.  One of the benefits of having the information online is that someone who has attended a workshop, can easily access refresher information.

A good, automated system will allow you to download reports saying who is learning how. If no one attends the workshops and everyone seems to prefer learning online you can look at why. Same for if the workshops are inundated but no one is using the videos. You can’t analyse data you don’t have. Once you start to evaluate how people train, you can improve it.


A push/pull approach:

Your training should fall into two categories: Essential Training and Development Training.

Essential Training involves anything that it’s absolutely imperative for your employees to know for the business to operate smoothly or to comply with regulations.

Development Training is any learning that an employee wants to do to be able to develop in their role or reach promotion. It can be anything from advanced IT skills to people management and leadership skills.

It’s infinitely better to automate training and development with a self-service portal which allows employees to select their own training and choose their own training format and this portal must have a push-pull functionality so that not only can they sign up for development training, you can also send them automated messages when they need to undertake essential training.

A good system will also let you see online that this has happened. Allowing your employees to manage their own training means that the L&D team can focus on people and not admin and that employees can take ownership of their own development and have personal responsibility to gain any essential knowledge.

Promote the benefits

In some industries training is not well received. It’s seen as a waste of time or a box-ticking exercise. Do yourself a favour and concentrate less on pushing why you want them do the training and more on how they will benefit and what being qualified in that particular course means for them. Humans are really quite a selfish bunch but if we are told how we may profit from something – particularly if it is interrupting our work – we will be far more willing to listen.

Another way to promote training is to make it easy: easy to access, easy to book and easy to undertake. Automation makes this possible and allows a slick system where people can learn on the go as and when their work allows it. The L&D team are then not the enemy, chasing to see if courses have been completed; but trusted advisors helping forge training paths and supporting people in realising their full potential.

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