What Is a Training Strategy? (With Steps To Develop One)
Updated March 29, 2023
Training strategies allow organizations to establish protocols for developing employees' professional skills. When staff members receive training, it helps them perform their jobs more effectively, raising overall productivity for the company. Developing a training strategy ensures these efforts work cohesively with your business operations to maximize the benefit of each training session. In this article, we discuss training strategies, their benefits and steps you can follow to develop them.
What is a training strategy?
A training strategy is an organized approach to creating a training program for staff members. An effective employee training program is a crucial step for the professional development of staff, ensuring they have the skills needed to provide successful business results. You can implement these strategies for current and future staff members. For example, you may use a training program to teach your existing workforce to use a new technology or adhere to new company policies. You can also develop onboarding training strategies to get new staff members accustomed to working within your company more quickly.
Benefits of an effective training strategy
Employee training is a critical component of a successful company. Some of the significant benefits of developing a training strategy include:
Develops employees' skill sets
Having a staff with a diverse set of skills adds value to organizations because it enables individual employees to fill a wide range of roles. This ability grants flexibility and minimizes the impact when an employee is unavailable or leaves a position for a new career opportunity. Training strategies are an excellent way to help staff develop their professional skills and become more capable in the workplace.
Unifies staff's focus
While it's important for staff members to provide high-quality work, coordinating their work can help maximize efficiency throughout the organization. By implementing organizational training strategies, you can help staff understand the company's short- and long-term goals. When staff members can see how their work contributes to overall objectives, it can serve as a unifying force and encourage collaboration.
Training programs can help improve employees' work performance because it establishes expectations for their roles. These programs also emphasize how their work contributes to overall operations. Training can enable your staff to increase production and efficiency, potentially leading to improved profits and other benefits for the organization.
Raises employee confidence
Maintaining a confident workforce can help ensure staff members perform at their best. Training programs establish clear expectations and guidance for employees to follow. As long as they complete their tasks according to those standards, they can feel more confident in their ability to perform them correctly. That confidence can help lead to more efficient decision-making and higher quality work.
Aids staff retention
When you have employees who provide significant value and quality work, it's crucial to keep their employment. Hiring employees can come with costs associated with the recruiting process and potentially lost production. For example, the new hires may need time to adjust or cannot meet your current employees' production levels immediately. Training shows employees you value them. This tactic can help them feel secure within the company, helping make them more likely to stay and save you from needing to begin a hiring search.
Creates succession plans
Just as maintaining staff can offer benefits, many businesses prefer to promote from within the existing workforce. Training strategies can serve as a valuable tool for enabling internal promotions. Besides helping staff members develop their professional skills, companies may also offer executive or management training programs. These training programs specialize in teaching lower- or mid-level employees the skills they need to progress to a higher position within the company, making for a smoother transition.
Helps onboard new staff
You can help ease the transition of bringing in new staff through training programs. Developing and implementing training strategies that contain new hire policies can help these staff members adjust to the work environment and understand how to perform their tasks. By establishing these expectations, you can start these employees with a firm foundation that supports future success.
How to develop an effective training strategy
Implementing a new training strategy at your company benefits from careful consideration. Here are the steps to take if you're interested in updating or creating new training strategies for an organization:
1. Identify your training needs
No two companies are the same, so there isn't a singular approach to training staff that works best for all businesses. Understanding your organization's specific needs can help you create strategies that maximize the benefits for employees and the overall business. You can perform a training needs assessment or collaborate with department leaders to determine the skills and knowledge employees need to perform effectively or create quality results in your industry. Consider using your organizational goals to help you understand what type of training might help your workforce achieve them.
Related: What Is a Training Needs Assessment?
2. Examine staff performance
The abilities of your staff are a crucial component when developing a training strategy. Understanding how well staff members' current skills and knowledge align with your identified training needs can also help you define the scope of your strategy. You can assess performance in several ways, such as through direct observation, performance reviews or discussions with supervisors.
If you determine the staff members do not currently reach your target performance levels, training programs enable you to fill that skill or knowledge gap. With these insights, you can identify the training components to implement into your strategy. For example, you may need to develop training programs on a particular software. In some situations, you may determine that the skills gap is too wide and requires hiring external candidates who already have those skills.
Related: What Is a Skill Gap?
3. Assess your resources
Once you identify your organization's training needs, you need to ensure you have the resources available to implement these programs. The more thoroughly you understand your resources, the more effectively you can plan to use them. Resources can cover many areas, from technology to staffing to financial resources. For example, access to video production tools and equipment represents a valuable resource for strategies that require creating training videos. Similarly, time represents an essential resource. You should ensure that employees have availability in their schedule to attend training programs, and it won't interfere with their duties.
4. Prioritize your training needs
You can focus your training strategy by setting priorities. In some situations, you may need to establish these priorities based on your available resources. For example, you may face limitations due to scheduling or costs. When setting training priorities, you can think about your organization's goals and determine which skills serve the most benefit toward achieving them. Focusing on this alignment can help ensure that you develop a strategy that leads to optimal results that support employees' needs and the business.
5. Set a budget
To support your organization's ongoing training needs, you can set a maintainable budget for your strategy. This budget helps you evaluate your available resources and implement training plans accordingly. Senior-level leaders at your organization may provide you with a fixed budget to invest in training. Otherwise, you may have the authority to set the training budget yourself. Efficient spending on training allows you to reduce costs while still providing a positive effect on employee development.
6. Draft a training plan
Using the information gathered in your previous steps, you can construct a plan for your training strategy. Each element of your training strategy should include the training goals, participating staff members and any resources or scheduling information required to execute the program. You may consult with other staff members when drafting your plans to ensure you provide all the necessary or relevant information. They may also provide feedback to ensure the plan and procedures align with your organization's identified goals.
7. Hire or assign training leaders
As you implement training strategies, you need to ensure you assign the right individuals to lead them. Identify the skills and knowledge required for each section of the training strategy and determine whether you or other internal staff members can teach them. Otherwise, you may hire external instructors to lead these programs if your budget allows. These trained professionals may offer more expertise in developing effective training environments.
8. Monitor performance and make adjustments as needed
After implementing a training program, continue to monitor employees' performance levels to assess the training results. If performance levels remain below your targets, it may be a sign that you need to refine your training strategies. You can work with supervisors to identify methods that better educate your staff on using the new techniques they've learned. Try to remain flexible and incorporate changes until you reach the desired results.
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