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Building an employee training program in 6 steps

An employee training program is necessary for all organizations since it provides proper guidance to employees about their day-to-day duties.

Initially, training programs depended on standalone courses or seminars that would rarely make a difference in the long term. With an evolving work culture across organizations globally, companies recognize the need to create ongoing training.

Especially for remote workers, these programs need to be implemented quickly and often through online channels. Thus, there's a high demand for effective instructional designers (ID) and curriculum developers (CD).

Read more: 4 Tips on providing personalized training for remote employees

Successful training increases efficiency, saves time and effort, optimizes production tasks, reduces expenditure, and eliminates redundancies. It also leads to higher satisfaction rates among the workforce and a solid company reputation.

Creating effective employee training requires following a few basic steps. In this article, we will discuss the six fundamental ones that are involved in building a training program or curriculum for workers.

Step 1: Analyze training needs

Your goal is to teach employees about the company’s processes or policies. Additionally, training should help develop relevant skills, understand pain points, increase productivity, and nurture professional growth.

When you start building employee training, the first step is doing a thorough needs assessment. For instance, if a manager asks for a course to increase employee productivity, you must assess what is slowing them down.

This involves analyzing the processes, performance problems, and pain points. Some steps to identify training needs include:

  • Setting a definite goal to be attained through training
  • Analyzing the job needs and processes of the employees
  • Determining what kind of training environment is best, whether it should be instructor-led, online, demo-based, etc.
  • Recognizing the knowledge and skill levels of trainees
  • Choosing which areas to focus on to create an effective program

Read more: The need for a Training Needs Analysis

Step 2: Adhere to learning principles

When designing training programs, you must remember that the content will cater to adults, not school children. Hence, your curriculum must follow specific characteristics or principles to ensure effectiveness.

Some things to consider while teaching adults are:

  • They come with pre-existing knowledge, experience, and are more biased.
  • They are self-motivated and not very impressionable.
  • Their training should be task-oriented and relevant.
  • The material should not be disparaging or condescending.

These points should factor into the design and delivery of your training.

Some instructional designers prefer using set learning models, like the ADDIE model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) or Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction, which includes nine steps for effective learning.

You can choose a suitable instruction model and stick to its principles to cover all training aspects.

Step 3: Formulate the objectives

After identifying the skill gaps or needs related to organization processes, your next task is to create the training objectives. This is a crucial step as it sets the tone for the entire program and has long-term effects.

The focus should be on addressing current issues and on areas of improvement. To do that, you need to pinpoint which aspects to emphasize.

Start by analyzing current performances, feedback, and inputs from the trainees. Ensure the objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) and in sync with their skills and experiences.

Step 4: Interact with Subject Matter Experts

SMEs, or subject matter experts, provide the much-needed information and insights for a training program. They can help you with content, review, and feedback.

You can involve SMEs from inside the organization or seek an external resource to formulate the training. The amount of involvement of the SME depends on the needs of your curriculum.

You can decide whether the SME should be consulted while creating the program’s outline and content structure, or you just need them to review your material after completion.

Most of the time, the instructional designer requests a meeting with the SME after researching the training requirements. Consequently, an expert can address your doubts and queries and even advise how to handle the training program.

Read more: Harnessing the power of SMEs for successful workplace training

Step 5: Design and develop the content

Moreover, after the planning step, it is time to develop the actual learning material. Design and development can be two separate steps, but we will look at them as a joint task as they involve producing the content.

While designing and developing training material, make sure you:

  • Address the learning needs of employees
  • Produce content that is relevant to the learning objectives
  • Implement the learning principles
  • Include quizzes, use cases and other suitable activities
  • Leave room for feedback and experimentation
  • Include visuals, media, animations, and an interactive environment
  • Separate the content into short, crisp chapters or modules for better understanding
  • Adopt a blended learning approach for different platforms
  • Use online and offline tools for authoring, video-making, and so on
  • Get your content reviewed by an SME and an editor

Step 6: Implement the training program

No matter how brilliant your content is, the implementation process is the one that brings it to life. To zero in on a suitable process, you must consider factors such as the number of attendees, their geographical location, training duration, and so on. Read more about improving the success of your training program.

This will help you decide whether it should be online, instructor-led, or any other kind of training. You also need to schedule it accordingly and make the training goals clear from the start and what to expect after its completion.

Evaluate and evolve

It is not enough to simply build a course and deploy it. You need to monitor the learners' progress continually. This will help you understand where your training needs improvement or which issues the learners are facing.

The entire program should be open to evaluation and revision based on all stakeholders’ results and feedback. Consequently, conduct expert analysis and performance reviews to determine the effectiveness of your training.

Final thoughts

An effective training program closes the gap between your existing processes and company goals company. Hence, you should be careful when creating the training program. If you follow the above steps diligently, you'll see results in no time.