Training up staff is an important goal for many businesses, but it can also be a significant investment, so it’s important to ensure training delivers value.
Training and skills development are big concerns not only for employers in the UK, but for the economy as a whole.
In April 2017, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) released a report showing that British employers train less and invest less in skills than most other EU nations. The CIPD warned that the country is at risk of “sleepwalking into a low-value, low-skills economy post-Brexit”.
However, it’s important to remember that training is an investment, and businesses will be looking for some sort of return. So what methods and strategies can you use to ensure that training delivers results?
Make it relevant
One of the biggest obstacles to getting real results out of training is a feeling among your workforce that the programme is not applicable to them. If staff are not interested in the training or see it as a waste of their time, it’s extremely unlikely they will take anything from it that will translate into value for the business.
To avoid this problem, begin your training scheme by engaging with the workforce, conducting surveys and talking with employees in person to identify the subjects they are interested in and see as the most relevant to their work.
Once you have this information, consider dividing your employees into groups focused on key themes to ensure no-one is wasting time in unhelpful training sessions.
Engage through gamification
Gamification is one of the most innovative and interesting methods of getting people engaged in training. This strategy essentially involves adding a competitive element by turning training sessions into a game, either for participants to complete individually, in teams or against one another.
This can prove a much more effective way of getting people interested and engaged in a subject than simply handing out written information or presenting a slideshow.
In an article for Gamification , Alex Kakavelakis, head of social media strategy at financial services firm Octopus Choice, pointed out that games engage people because they offer a “psychological reward”.
He added: “Employees who are more engaged recall the information better in the long run, and internalise the training more efficiently. Employees are more engaged when they’re entertained or enjoying what they’re doing, which is the benefit that gamification offers.”
Listen to feedback
Your employees are the ones taking part in the sessions and going on to use what they have learned in their day-to-day work, so their opinions are an invaluable guide to the effectiveness of your training.
If anyone comes forward with feedback, be sure to take it onboard and incorporate any resulting insights into future training plans and initiatives.
It can also prove useful to conduct surveys asking employees what they thought of the training and if it will help them to be more productive or to work more efficiently. Running anonymous online surveys might increase the likelihood of participants being completely honest.
Once a training programme has been completed, follow it up by evaluating its overall effectiveness using key criteria.
According to Mike Edwards, head of people at business gas comparison site Love Energy Savings, training should be judged against goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, agreed-upon, realistic and time-based.
Tailoring and assessing training plans based on these guidelines will help to ensure that all participants are placed on a measurable development path, according to Mr Edwards.
Following up on past training to gauge its effectiveness will also help your business to design future programmes in a way that will deliver the best possible results for the organisation and its employees.