Training is one of the most profitable investments an organization can make. No matter what business or industry you are in the steps for an effective training process are the same and may be adapted anywhere.
If you have ever thought about developing a training program within your organization consider the following four basic training steps. You will find that all four of these steps are mutually necessary for any training program to be effective and efficient.
STEP 1: ESTABLISHING A NEEDS ANALYSIS.
This step identifies activities to justify an investment for training. The techniques necessary for the data collection are surveys, observations, interviews, and customer comment cards. Several examples of an analysis outlining specific training needs are customer dissatisfaction, low morale, low productivity, and high turnover.
The objective in establishing a needs analysis is to find out the answers to the following questions:
- “Why” is training needed?
- “What” type of training is needed?
- “When” is the training needed?
- “Where” is the training needed?
- “Who” needs the training? and "Who" will conduct the training?
- “How” will the training be performed?
By determining training needs, an organization can decide what specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes are needed to improve the employee’s performance in accordance with the company’s standards.
The needs analysis is the starting point for all training. The primary objective of all training is to improve individual and organizational performance. Establishing a needs analysis is, and should always be the first step of the training process.
STEP 2: DEVELOPING TRAINING PROGRAMS AND MANUALS.
This step establishes the development of current job descriptions and standards and procedures. Job descriptions should be clear and concise and may serve as a major training tool for the identification of guidelines. Once the job description is completed, a complete list of standards and procedures should be established from each responsibility outlined in the job description. This will standardize the necessary guidelines for any future training.
STEP 3: DELIVER THE TRAINING PROGRAM.
This step is responsible for the instruction and delivery of the training program. Once you have designated your trainers, the training technique must be decided. One-on-one training, on-the-job training, group training, seminars, and workshops are the most popular methods.
Before presenting a training session, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the following characteristics of an effective trainer. The trainer should have:
- A desire to teach the subject being taught.
- A working knowledge of the subject being taught.
- An ability to motivate participants to “want” to learn.
- A good sense of humor.
- A dynamic appearance and good posture.
- A strong passion for their topic.
- A strong compassion towards their participants.
- Appropriate audio/visual equipment to enhance the training session.
For a training program to be successful, the trainer should be conscious of several essential elements, including a controlled environment, good planning, the use of various training methods, good communication skills, and trainee participation.
STEP 4: EVALUATE THE TRAINING PROGRAM.
This step will determine how effective and profitable your training program has been. Methods for evaluation are pre-and post- surveys of customer comments cards, the establishment of a cost/benefit analysis outlining your expenses and returns, and an increase in customer satisfaction and profits.
The reason for an evaluation system is simple. The evaluation of training programs are without a doubt the most important step in the training process. It is this step that will indicate the effectiveness of both the training as well as the trainer.
There are several obvious benefits for evaluating a training program. First, evaluations will provide feedback on the trainer’s performance, allowing them to improve themselves for future programs. Second, evaluations will indicate its cost-effectiveness. Third, evaluations are an efficient way to determine the overall effectiveness of the training program for the employees as well as the organization.
The importance of the evaluation process after the training is critical. Without it, the trainer does not have a true indication of the effectiveness of the training. Consider this information the next time you need to evaluate your training program. You will be amazed with the results.
The need for training your employees has never been greater. As business and industry continues to grow, more jobs will become created and available. Customer demands, employee morale, employee productivity, and employee turnover as well as the current economic realties of a highly competitive workforce are just some of the reasons for establishing and implementing training in an organization. To be successful, all training must receive support from the top management as well as from the middle and supervisory levels of management. It is a team effort and must be implemented by all members of the organization to be fully successful.
Dr. Al Infande is the Director of Human Resources at AeroThrust Corporation, a jet engine overhaul and maintenance facility in Miami, Florida. For over 15 years, he has served as a university professor where he teaches courses in Human Resources Management, Education, and Psychology. Dr. Infande has earned several Ph.D.s in the areas of Organizational Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and Human Resources Development. He has developed and delivered an array of seminars and workshops for both academicians and corporate executives. During his career, he has written several publications in the areas of Adult Education, Training and Development, and Stress Management.