How to implement an effective employee training program

Never before has it been so paramount to take a deep dive into your employee training strategy. As we look to a future that has become even more digital, HR and learning leaders all over the globe are beginning to reimagine their workplace learning.

Perhaps you are just looking to improve your training strategy? Or  you are accustomed to face to face training and are now setting up a new online training program from scratch? In this article, we’ll show you the five key things you need to consider to ensure your employee training initiative is a success.

effective employee training program

This post was originally posted in March 2016 and has been updated and re-published in April 2020. 

Employee training program – COVID-19 update

Due to the circumstances we find ourselves in, face to face training has become a thing of the past (for now at least). Learning teams across the global are rapidly adapting their strategies to support learners in new roles, procedures and practices. How are they doing this? With a blended online learning approach. Your employee training strategy should take this into consideration. Not only as a response to the current pandemic, but also beyond. This is the time to adapt, de-risk and future-proof your learning for the long run!

“In-person training is a thing of the past, for now at least. We want to help learning teams adapt now to de-risk their future, supporting them to create a sustainable online blended strategy that will last beyond the current crisis. Whether it’s COVID-19, climate consciousness or cost savings that drive reduction in face-to-face training – it’s clear that the future of learning is largely digital. This is a great opportunity for us to give something back to the learning community.”

– Simon Greany, Chief Learning Officer at Elucidat

Digital Learning Skill Up Program - Save Your Spot

Employee training is important in so many ways. It helps improve employee engagement and increases employee retention. If done right, it also has a positive impact on efficiency, innovation and productivity. Naturally, training is good for employees and, ultimately, your profitability and customers.

Good employee training doesn’t just happen. It needs to be effective. It needs to be modern and fit for purpose – in other words, personalized. This means thinking digital.

If you’re not sure what modern professionals want from their learning, check out this helpful infographic. And, check out our Ultimate Guide to Employee Training for more employee program tips!

Here are five things to consider when setting up an employee training program. 

1. Establish program goals – capture needs

Why does your training deserve to exist? What problem is it solving? What does that problem really look like?

Before you embark on your project, you need to pinpoint the goals, needs and target audiences. It’s not enough to just listen to what senior stakeholders think users need.

Capturing a clear, honest set of needs helps you establish what you will use as a marker of success for your employee training initiatives. It also enables you to prioritize which training objectives need tackling first, which ones will be most appreciated by your employees and which ones will have the biggest impact on your business.

To do so, you need to ask the right questions and create some user profiles. Our free Capture template can help with this.

Elearning project capture needs guide

2. Choose the right employee training software

Going digital with employee training is a no-brainer, particularly when you want to provide more personalized experiences to thousands of employees. Whether you’re creating your training in-house or via third parties, your choice of software will make a huge difference to the end product and its shelf life. The two main elements of any new online learning initiative you must carefully consider are:

  • The content authoring tool
  • The deployment method

Content authoring tools

The content authoring tool is a piece of software that allows you to create elearning courses your employees can engage with.

9 things you should consider when exploring authoring tools:

  1. Ease of use – how easy it is to use out the box and what support is available?
  2. Flexibility and control – can you go bespoke if needed?
  3. Brandability and ability to re-style
  4. Collaboration and review features
  5. Mobile-ready and responsive
  6. Maintainability and ease to re-publish
  7. Localization features
  8. Analytics and data streams
  9. Publishing options – standalone, SCORM, xAPI?

Above all, make sure that you demo any tool before using it – it’s the fastest, easiest and most accurate way of finding out if an authoring tool meets your needs. You can learn more about how to select the right tool for you with this free guide.

Download The Ultimate Authoring Tool Buyer’s Guide

Deployment methods for online employee training

Once you have your online content in place, the next step is to get it to your employees. You may want to publish it directly, with its own URL. Or, you may prefer to host it somewhere else.

If you have a company intranet, you could create a learning portal and let staff access it from there. A password-protected website could be used in a similar way. These are especially good options for smaller initiatives.

Alternatively, you could look to a Learning Management System (LMS) or a Learning Content Management System (LCMS). These are set up specifically to deploy online learning. You can learn about the difference between an LMS and LCMS here.

3. Create useful, personalized and engaging employee learning experiences

How well your employees engage with your training will determine how successful it will be.

The biggest driver of this will be whether the training is effectively meeting their needs. If your staff doesn’t think that your training is useful to them, it will be difficult to get them to do that thing you want them to improve upon.

From the millions of learners interacting with elearning via Elucidat, we’ve unpicked what we believe to be the winning solution to successful elearning: People-Centered elearning. Our free whitepaper and practical checklist can help you understand what this means and how you can implement it.

Find out more about People-Centered Learning

You can also get lots of inspiration from our Showcase page, and even have us gift you projects into your account to adapt and re-use.

4. Deliver training to employees at the right time

It’s important to provide your training to employees in ways that will be most useful to them. For example, which of the following models will your employees find most useful?

  • Training that is provided before a product roll-out. If so, how far in advance?
  • Training that is provided on-demand, immediately prior to using a product (e.g, Just-In-Time (JIT))
  • Hints or push messages triggered in your software products that point employees to training when the software “senses” that they’re stuck (for example, if the employee is spending a long time on a certain feature or using it incorrectly)
  • Employees are either “pulled” to the training (for example, being directed to support pages or training programs) when necessary, or training is “pushed” to them (such as in emails containing hints, tips, or videos) as part of a schedule

The correct answer may be any one, or even a combination, of these models. The important thing is that the training and access method is convenient for the audience. You may need to pilot some training delivery models or interview a cross-section of employees to decide which models will work best in your environment.

Our free Analytics guide shares some of the common trends we’ve spotted from the millions of learners accessing elearning via Elucidat – including the most popular launch times.

Elearning analytics guide

5. Track and improve – Cultivate

elearning analytics statsLearning and development programs aren’t static. The best ones continually evolve and improve. Watching how employees access and interact with your training, as well as evaluating its effectiveness, helps you decide how to make it better.

Consider the following activities:

  • Review online quiz results to see if particular questions are consistently answered incorrectly. If they are, maybe the questions are at fault, or maybe the content is inadequate.
  • Measure customer satisfaction to determine if the training is having the desired effects.
  • Monitor those crucial numbers – How many users? What time of day? What device? How long for? Do they come back? – and more, with in-built Analytics.
  • Review your support requests to see where training could be created or improved.
  • Directly ask employees and managers about their performance pain points and what’s helping/improving.

As well as our Everyday Guide to Analytics linked to above, take a look at our Cultivate guide. This sets out ways to not only measure what’s going on with your elearning, but how to improve upon it.

Download the free Cultivate guide now.

In conclusion

There’s much more to implementing a meaningful employee training program than putting a few PDFs on a website. If done well, you can delight your customers, maximize your profits and develop your workforce in the process.

As you’ve seen here, the best way to achieve a good result is to think carefully about what training you’re going to provide, how you’re going to deliver it and how you can evaluate it to make future releases even better.

Find out more about our 5Cs process, which takes you from Capture and Conceptualize right through to the Commercial aspects of your project.

Book a demo with Elucidat

If you are still not 100% sure which elearning tool is the best choice for your organisation and you’d like to review your options, don’t forget to check out our blog on the most popular course authoring tools.