To cope with that change, employees need to keep learning new skills and your organisation needs to keep developing.
There’s a whole world of training methods out there that can meet your organisation’s specific needs. Being fully aware of the options — and your strategic goals — can help you get the most from employee training.
Introducing training courses in the workplace
Learning and development strategy
Training courses are best delivered as part of your organisation’s wider learning and development (L&D) strategy. When training is planned strategically, you can address gaps in workforce capability and link courses with wider business goals — including your HRM strategy.
From L&D strategy to training action
Your L&D strategy should detail learning aims, investment in training resources and plans for putting training into practice. Issues to consider include:
- Setting training priorities. Decide how often organisational training needs should be assessed and who is responsible.
- Methods of assessing individual training needs. Methods of assessing needs include the use of appraisals, development reviews and personal development plans.
- Allocating training resources. To ensure training plans are implemented, it’s essential your organisation reserves a budget and other necessary resources.
Equally important is selecting the right training course methods.
Choosing training methods
UK organisations utilise a wide range of training methods. In-house courses are the most widely used method, while coaching and mentoring are common and e-learning is becoming more popular by the year (CIPD 2015).
The methods you adopt should fit your learning goals and strategy. You might consider:
- How different types of training courses can meet your learning objectives
- The role, seniority and education level of the learners
- The available training budget
In-house training courses
The popularity of in-house training is perhaps due to its flexibility and cost-efficiency. Conducted by line managers or other knowledgeable staff, in-house training comes in many forms and meets lots of different needs.
- On-the-job training is often used during staff inductions to bring employees up to speed with the duties of their new role. It can also address changes in roles and technology.
- Employee development courses usually focus on longer-term training and are usually reserved for senior staff, specialists and graduates as part talent management programmes.
- Coaching and mentoring utilises one-to-one discussion with a more experienced colleague or external coach, to develop the employee’s skills and knowledge.
- Shadowing allows employees to learn skills and competencies from their superiors and is useful in readying staff for promotion.
Training courses outside the workplace
Training courses outside the workplace can offer protected learning time and the chance to practice skills in a risk-free environment. With input from external trainers, you can also introduce new skills and ideas that aren’t already present in your organisation.
E-learning can be cost-effective and flexible, in that you can deliver the same content again and again to many employees. It’s important to remember that e-learning doesn’t suit all learners and is often seen as less engaging than traditional methods.
Your legal requirements to train employees
While in many workplaces staff are legally required hold a specific qualification — be it a food hygiene certificate or a law degree — there’s no law that says you must provide training to employees.
Your staff may however, have the right to ask for time off — usually unpaid — for training or study if:
- You employ at least 250 people
- The staff member is classed as an employee and has worked for you for at least 26 weeks
- The training course is relevant to their job
Evaluating training outcomes
Training can be a major investment — so you probably want to make sure you’re achieving your learning goals. By conducting training evaluation, you can create a feedback loop that helps you to continuously improve training methods and your L&D strategy.
Evaluation methods to consider include post-training questionnaires, tests or examinations and measuring overall performance improvement.