7-Step Guide for Creating an Effective Training Program

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 8, 2021 | Published February 4, 2020

Updated March 8, 2021

Published February 4, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Workforce training programs, when carried out effectively, can lead to increased productivity and efficiency while lowering waste and costs. The value of an effective workforce training program can greatly outweigh the costs associated with implementing it, resulting in a more engaged staff, a higher rate of compliance to regulations and policies and reduced employee turnover. In this article, we will define training programs, several methods of training and a guide to creating a training program for employees.

What is a training program?

A training program is a process implemented to teach employees about the processes and policies of a company upon onboarding. Training also helps employees to learn and enhance relevant skills to improve their job performance and help foster professional growth and development to boost performance and productivity in their current and future roles.

Related: What Are the Different Types of Workplace Training?

Types of training programs

There are several methods of training that managers may choose to implement alone or in conjunction with other methods. The method you choose should provide the opportunity for meaningful learning and growth, which allows employees to continually improve in their roles. Matching the types of employee training to your employees' needs can ensure they receive the information they need.

The types of training programs you choose should take into consideration what type of work is being done in the workplace as well as the learning personality of the employees. Here are a few examples of different types of training programs:

Case studies

Case studies can provide a quick reference for employees to learn about actual workplace situations. Case studies are best used for hyper-focused topics, as more complex topics will generally require more in-depth training.

Coaching/mentoring

This one-on-one type of training focuses on fostering a working relationship between an employee and a coach or mentor, typically a supervisor or trusted veteran employee. The one-on-one training style allows for continued support throughout the employee's training.

eLearning

eLearning consists of online courses, testing materials and other training materials. eLearning allows employees to complete their training at their own pace and is one of the most convenient types of employee training to implement with larger workforces, especially where employees work remotely. eLearning can be interactive, which may increase the rate of employee engagement with the program. An eLearning program can fit many needs, as long as it's kept up to date and relevant.

Group training activities

Group training can be useful in sparking discussion, training through collaboration and team-building. It allows employees to train together in an environment that best fits their group's needs. The activities and discussions that take place in group training can be prompted by an instructor or online prompts to be later reviewed by a supervisor. Many collaborative workplaces find that group training seems to work best for approaching complex projects.

Hands-on training

Hands-on training encompasses any practical training conducted directly on the job. This type of training focuses on the specific role and the employee's proficiency at performing it. Hands-on training has both short- and long-term development benefits for individuals.

Instructor-led training

Instructor-led training occurs in a classroom-type setting with an instructor or trainer presenting the material to employees. This provides employees with the opportunity to ask questions to further understand what's being taught, especially for very technical or complex topics. Instructors can adjust their teaching style to match the experience level and learning style of the employees in the room.

Management-specific activities

This type of employee training is focused primarily on the needs of managers and can include the use of simulations, brainstorming sessions, team-building exercises or other combined types of training.

Related: What Is On-the-Job Training?

How to create an employee training program

Creating an effective training program requires knowing and understanding the goals of the training, as well as the possible problems you could encounter. Follow these steps to start creating your employee training program:

1. Assess training needs

Assessing the needs of the workplace requires following these steps:

Identify clear goals that support both the organization and the individuals being trained

The purpose of training should be clear as well as supportive. Some examples of goals include increasing ROI and decreasing costs, teaching employees a new procedure or showing them how to use new equipment.

Determine what actions need to be completed for the goals to be met

Compare what your employees do now with what they need to do to meet the objectives ahead. For example, if there's a new product being introduced, employees will need to know what the product is, how to produce it and any other key details to make the launch a success.

Explore options for training activities that best facilitate employees' learning

When you know what your employees need to learn, you can start developing activities that will facilitate the training, such as demonstrations, pamphlets or hands-on exercises.

Observe the learning styles of the employees

Use that observation to make the training as effective as possible by developing it to meet the maximum number of employees. This might mean using the top two or three most prevalent methods of your employees' learning to form your materials and delivery.

2. Teach adults like adults

Keeping with the last part of step one, it's important to remember that your employees are adults with characteristics that can make it easier or more difficult to learn under certain methods of teaching. When developing your training program, keep in mind these adult learning principles:

  • Adults want to feel valued and respected

  • They have many years of preexisting experiences, knowledge and independent opinions

  • They're goal-oriented and self-directed

  • They want their training to be relevant, task-oriented and worth the time it takes away from their daily productivity

  • They want to know how they will benefit from this training

These principles can easily be related to the characteristics you identified when you assessed your training needs. Now, you can envision how these characteristics will guide you in creating your training program.

3. Develop learning objectives

Ask yourself what you expect your employees to be able to do after they complete training. This can be knowledge, a skill or a simple but necessary proficiency. These will be your learning objectives. From there, you can begin creating content that supports progression towards each objective. Keep your lessons focused on the objectives and vary your methods of testing employees' retention of the information you're providing to them.

Your objectives should be presented as SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. Creating goals in this manner can help you ensure your employees reach important milestones within their training.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

4. Design training materials

Using the information you've gathered above, begin to formulate your training materials or modules. It's important to have a design fully prepared before launching into development to ensure nothing goes missing or out of order. Remember to focus on the learning needs of the employees rather than what's easiest for the trainer, and make sure your content focuses specifically on reaching the learning objectives. A few other tips for designing your training materials include:

  • Plan your materials in a way that puts employees in control of their own learning

  • Include interactive and hands-on elements to allow employees to work together

  • Invite feedback throughout the training

  • Approach each topic chronologically, so that it provides a basis for the lesson that comes next

  • Try blending several different formats to see which produces the best results

  • Tell stories of real-life scenarios as appropriate

5. Compose training materials

Use your design to begin developing your training materials. Depending on your design, materials may include:

  • Reading material, such as pamphlets or handouts

  • Tangible assets needed for any hands-on portions of the training

  • Slideshow presentations, charts, graphs or other visual materials

  • eLearning links, usernames and passwords for any online portion of the training

Depending on the material being taught, the learning styles of the employees and other factors like time and budget, you'll find that you can create a mix of elements to help make this training a success. When gathering your materials, make sure to keep your learning objectives in mind.

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

6. Conduct the training

Make sure you inform employees in advance that they will be expected to attend the training, reserve any necessary conference or huddle rooms and have all the necessary supplies. For example, maybe this training will be a lunch and learn session. If so, order lunch to be delivered a few minutes before training is set to begin to allow everyone to get their plates and settle in.

No matter which method or combination of methods you've chosen to deliver your training, make it clear to employees at the beginning. Make sure everyone attending knows exactly what is expected of them and what they have to do to complete the training. Give them an idea upfront of how you're planning to determine how much they've learned at the end of the training.

7. Evaluate the training

Once training is finished, you'll want to determine if you met your objectives. In other words, evaluate the success of your training program. You may consider using these metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of your training:

Employees' feedback on training

Reflect on the feedback provided to you by employees and try to determine whether it indicates that they liked the training, that they learned something and what their overall opinions or suggestions are. You can find this out by simply asking for their opinions or using an anonymous online survey regarding the effectiveness of the training.

Knowledge gained from training

Tests, quizzes or demonstrations can help you evaluate how well the employees learned the material you've presented.

Post-training job proficiency

Observe the employees to see if they're applying the new knowledge or skills from training where applicable.

Quantifiable business results

Over the next month or quarter, analyze the results that the training produces. Note whether the objectives you based your training on were met. Determine whether the training corresponds with a rise in revenue, a decrease in costs, any changes in productivity and other metrics you choose to monitor.

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