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How to Build & Assess Your Employee Training Program

Savvy employers do not view training as an unavoidable cost of doing business. They view it as a strategic investment that is critical to developing the organization’s intellectual capital. Once you have committed to developing a high-performance workforce, it is important to systematically develop and regularly assess your employee training program.

Best practices

Creating and implementing an organization-wide training program — or even one for a single department — is a complicated endeavor, so there are three best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Conduct a training-needs analysis to reveal strengths and weaknesses as well as pinpoint specific training needs.
  2. Establish training priorities, along with a corresponding budget, timetable, and implementation plan.
  3. Roll out the program using a methodical, phased approach. Doing so will help you catch any major problems before they can ruin the entire initiative.

Costs & benefits

Once the training program is in place, regularly assess whether it is cost effective. You might be tempted to simply separate program expenses into direct and indirect costs, but these are only once side of the equation. You must also measure its positive impact. Here is a breakdown of the major elements from both perspectives:

Direct costs. These include items such as trainer fees (if trainers are not on your staff), participant materials and program supplies, travel-related costs, and food and beverages.

Indirect costs. Examples include salaries and benefits for trainers (if they are employees) and trainees, and the purchase and maintenance of durable supplies (such as training room furniture and supporting technology).

Evaluation expenses. These include pre and post-training tests, combined with tracking on-the-job changes in knowledge, skill, and performance. You can directly link these elements to program efficiency and effectiveness measures.

Benefits (or harm). Try to measure the positive impact of the training program. Potential benefits include greater productivity, reduced operational expenses, improved morale, reduced turnover, and a stronger bottom line. Of course, you have to recognize both gains and losses. If, for instance, your productivity is suffering after implementation of the program, something is clearly wrong.

A huge difference

You may have to exercise some patience to see dramatic results, but a carefully crafted and regularly improved employee training program can make a huge difference. Please contact us for help turning enhanced intellectual capital into greater profitability.

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