Written by: Lorrie Howard, Horizon Point Consulting
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
As I discussed in my recent post Five Elements of a Great Onboarding Experience, having a great new hire orientation can be critical to making a great first impression and getting a new hire successfully onboard with your organization. While many companies have worked hard to create that great first impression, they fall short on the long-term impression they give employees by failing to create a continuous training program.
I’m currently working with a client to help them set goals for the coming year. In meeting with their leadership and other employees, one theme stands out to me- they lack training opportunities. They conduct annual reviews and set goals with employees, but fall short when it comes to providing training to help those employees meet their goals.
So how can an organization successfully design a training program?
First, conduct an analysis of each job to determine what skills are needed for that role. Create a competency matrix that details each role and the skills needed for entry-level, intermediate level, and expert level mastery of that role. Then compare roles and see where skillsets overlap. This will help you to determine what training will have the greatest impact on your staff and yield the greatest return on your investment. It may also help you define career paths within your organization.
Second, create a formal training program based on the competency matrix. Once you determine what training will give you the biggest ROI, you need to start designing that training. You may need to use internal and external resources. When designing the training, determine what method of training will be most successful. For example, the client I’m working with commented on training that had been provided previously where employees were required to sit through hours of classroom training but were never given hands-on experience with what they learned, so the training was not effective. Also, consider how you can measure the effectiveness of the training once complete.
Third, use the competency matrix to define career paths and create a succession plan. Look at the roles in your organization, the skills needed for each role, and determine what makes sense for a path of promotion. Then assess the employees currently in those roles for possible promotions when they come available. If you have an employee you think would be great to move up, have a conversation with them to gauge their interest. Some employees do not want to move up into management roles, and that’s ok. But it’s best to know that at the beginning instead of spending time training and prepping someone to move up only to have them turn it down when an offer is made, or worse, have them feel obligated to take the position and then not be happy or successful in the new role. Once you have a succession plan designed, you can start working with those employees that would be good candidates for promotion and help them start obtaining the skill set needed to move into that next role.
While it’s important to create a continuous training plan for your organization, it’s also important for leaders to understand that training doesn’t have to come in the form of a formal program. Some of the most important skills I’ve learned in my career have been through impromptu training opportunities. As you’re completing a task, ask yourself “is there someone that could benefit from learning what I’m doing or understanding what I’m working on?” If so, ask them if they have five or ten minutes to shadow you in your task.
I encourage you to ask yourself “What have I taught someone this week?”