Developing a training program can be broken down into eight steps, from a needs assessment to follow-up and review.
While the content of every training program is different, depending on the skills you want your employees to learn and develop, you can develop your own program using the same formula. The process begins with determining what your small business requires and then matching those requirements with what your employees need to learn.
Assess your business’ training needs by defining company needs. Based on these needs identify position-related goals and the skills each employee needs to achieve these goals.
Find training materials and instructors. If there is someone in your organization who has already mastered the skills you need to teach your employees, that person may be able to train them without purchasing materials or hiring a trainer. However, someone who can do a job is not necessarily skilled at teaching. For example, if you want to teach your employees Microsoft PowerPoint, someone in your office may be able to download materials from the Microsoft website and use this as the basis of a training session. Otherwise, you may be better off hiring an experienced instructor who has developed the materials already. Manufacturers, distributors and industry organizations or associations may also have training materials and experienced trainers available to you, often at no cost to you.
Separate training sessions into soft and hard skill categories. Soft skills training includes topics such as customer service, policies, harassment, diversity, safety and other general information. Hard skills are those used to complete a specific task, such as machine operation or specific job procedures.
Create a training matrix on paper or a computer spreadsheet that lists employee names, job titles and all training available. Placing scheduled training dates next to the employee’s names for each training will allow you to use the matrix as a scheduling and tracking guide.
Match employees with training sessions that suit their specific jobs. Some general information training courses should be assigned to every employee on the training matrix.
Designate an in-house training coordinator or team to help develop and create your program, or to supervise the work being done by an outside trainer.
Implement your training program with all new hires during their orientation, especially those trainings related to safety and policy. Arrange for current employees to attend training as needs arise or schedules allow.
Monitor your training program regularly by obtaining employee feedback and comparing department productivity statistics before and after the training. It’s okay to tweak and modify training programs as your company grows and your needs change.
- Training sessions don’t have to be elaborate multi-media presentations with professional trainers. If your budget is small, a designated employee presenting information on printed handouts will suffice.Training program development can take time. When creating your training program, weigh the costs of doing it yourself and hiring a professional.Conduct training in a designated room away from office distractions.
- Consult state and federal laws and recommendations governing training on safety, workplace harassment, and other state-mandated topics. Failure to provide training on specific topics may result in state, federal or civil legal action under certain circumstances.Make sure all company officials and managers are on-board with the information provided during training. If training does not mirror operations and expectations, you’ve wasted money and employee morale will be negatively affected.