In this blog, Gill Hardy shares 5 steps to help you to effectively plan, implement and evaluate your training.
In successful organisations people feel mutually accountable for that success, like the famous musketeers it’s all for one and one for all. Everyone is responsible for achieving the business objectives so they need to be informed about the purpose and strategy and understand their unique contribution.
It’s important that everyone in your organisation is able to understand and support your business objectives effectively. A key factor leading to the success of this is by providing the right training, at the right time; ensuring your employees feel engaged and empowered to work as a wider team.
All too often training is a kneejerk reaction when something goes wrong or a realisation that managers and staff have been struggling to meet performance expectations for too long. In both situations individuals can feel demotivated and less receptive to training however good it is. Training always works best when needs are identified and necessary support is arranged pro-actively.
Our five steps below summarise a process to help you to effectively plan, implement and evaluate your training.
Step 1 – Decide what is needed
Looking ahead to what your employees need to achieve business objectives will uncover possible organisational, team or individual requirements. Responsibility for the latter should start with the individual and their manager so performance gaps are recognised in a timely way and those that can be filled by training are identified and relevant development is planned. Other factors such as the working environment and new projects often drive organisational and team needs, however, the training required to support the resulting change or project is sometimes an afterthought rather than a proactive recognition of need.
Step 2 – Identify objectives
Once a specific need has been identified involve relevant stakeholders in setting clear objectives for the training. For example, if the customer service team recognise a need to improve their level of customer care, work with them to understand what that means, what they want to be able to do, because improve is a non-specific word. Setting measurable objectives for the training also means that you can identify what delegates need to gain in terms of new knowledge, skills and/or changes in behaviours to help them achieve the set objectives. Getting this right pays dividends at delivery because delegates will realise the relevance and feel more motivated to participate. Plan how you will evaluate achievement of the objectives back in the workplace following the training – for example, have delegates been able to make the changes in behaviour required, and if not, why not?
Step 3 – Plan the training
The objectives are the end point, where you want to be, but the start point is where the delegates are at the moment and the plan must take them smoothly from that point through to the end. The plan must take into consideration the emotional state of the learners, so how they will feel about the training, in addition to content and process. Whether using internal or external trainers, brief them in detail on all of the above so they can plan training that fits with what the business needs to achieve and understand the learning characteristics of the individuals. Communicate the plan to all stakeholders so delegates know what to expect before they enter the training room, have had time to find answers to any queries or concerns they might have and understand the benefits of participation.
Step 4 – Deliver and evaluate
Releasing people for training can be a significant constraint so as far as possible try to be flexible. Delivery should accommodate all styles of learning and help delegates transfer their learning to the workplace. Some fun is also a huge motivational factor. Also, make sure people know where they are going and how they will get there. If using an external venue getting lost can unsettle delegates and undermine their confidence. Design your immediate level evaluation to check if the training did what it said on the tin and prepare delegates for follow up later in the workplace. Include an action plan for learning transfer that delegates can complete and discuss with their line manager.
Step 5 – Follow up the results
Ideally, when the training plan is communicated, individuals and line managers will be able to identify development needs and where new knowledge and skills will equip them better in the working environment. Consider whether a learning partner or mentor, in addition to the line manager facilitating workplace development would benefit the individual following the training. Assessing the learning should also be included in informal performance conversations and formal one-to-ones so the benefits of the training can be identified.
Follow up and evaluation is so easily neglected as a key step which means that time, money and effort on the training is wasted in the longer term. Take some time now to review what you currently do at each step in the training process to see if you currently get the most out of your training - it is a great investment for the future.
At EEF, our ability listen and design training that meets specific needs sets us apart. Find out how we’ve helped companies like yours. If you would like to explore how we can work with you to produce a bespoke solution please contact us:
0845 293 9850
or visit http://www.eef.org.uk/training#courses