Do you want to improve your employee training? Or perhaps you want to set up a new 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.
This post was originally posted in March 2016 and has been updated and re-published in April 2018.
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.
However, it’s important to remember that good employee training doesn’t just happen. It needs to be effective. And, it needs to be modern and fit for purpose – in other words, personalized. It also means thinking digital.
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 get up close to the goals, needs and target audiences. To help you do so, try our handy template to “Capture” your audience needs.
You need to establish what you will use as a marker of success for your employee training initiatives.
- It forces you to think about what your employees’ needs really are and ask the right questions.
- It begins to reveal what you actually need to tell/show/encourage your employees so they can meet their objectives.
- It enables you to monitor the success of your training as it develops and is used, via an analytics dashboard or something
- It helps you assess what kind of learning experiences will work best – an on the job guide or a simulation to build practice, for example.
- It enables you to prioritize which training objectives need to be tackled first, which ones will be easiest or hardest to address, which ones will be most appreciated by your employees and which ones will have the biggest impact on your business.
2. Choose the right employee training software
Going digital with employee training is a no-brainer, particularly when you’re working with thousands of employees and have ambitions to provide more personalized experiences. 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. You must carefully consider the two main elements of any new online learning initiative:
- The content authoring tool
- The deployment method
Content authoring tools
The content authoring tool is the software that allows you to create elearning courses your employees can engage with.
9 things you should consider when exploring authoring tools:
- Ease of use – what does it look like and come with, as standard?
- Flexibility and control – can you go bespoke if needed?
- Brandability and ability to re-style
- Collaboration and review features
- Mobile-ready and responsive
- Maintainability and ease to re-publish
- Localization features
- Analytics and data streams
- 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 Elucidat by booking your free personalized demo today:
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 an intranet, you may be able to 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.
Not sure how to select the right LMS? Check out this handy guide: 5 rules to follow when deciding on an LMS.
The right LMS for your business will be the one that best matches your and your employees’ needs and workflows.
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.
Here are some useful guides and articles to help you create elearning that works:
- Get inspiration – check out examples of modern, multi-device elearning that you can learn from, or explore our showcase
- Follow our guide – learn about creating personalized learning for the modern workplace, packed full of tips and tricks to engage your audience and boost performance
- Come up with a winning concept – build on what you’ve captured and develop a concept you can test out early on, with our free Conceptualize Guide
- Use Analytics to guide you – use data from the off and then all the way through your project lifecycle so you can monitor what’s working and what’s not, and shift your design to meet your targets. It’s easy with our Everyday Guide to Learning Analytics. Also check out this useful article on how long your elearning should be.
Creating the most engaging learning experiences for your employees will enhance their learning experience and keep them motivated.
4. Deliver training to employees at the right time
It’s important to provide your training to employees in the 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., 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 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.
Use our handy Conceptualize guide to help you with this.
5. Track and improve
Learning and development programs aren’t static. The best ones continually evolve and improve. Watching how employees access and interact with your training, and 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.
Related: Stay on top of the latest elearning ideas, trends and technologies by subscribing to the Elucidat weekly newsletter.
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.
Want to take your employee training program online?
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