8 Keys to Managing Training & Development

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8 Keys to Managing Training & Development

Strategically investing in your staff's training and development, nurturing their talents, and building their skill sets helps your organization achieve its desired results, enhances your company's culture, and assists your leaders in better managing talent.

As a result, properly managing staff training is important and involves evaluating and prioritizing learning needs, creating and planning staff development initiatives, managing the administration of these programs and their costs, as well as measuring results.

Here are 8 keys to managing staff training and development.

1. Conduct an analysis of training needs and interests.

The key to administering staff training is to understand training needs and interests across your entire workforce and among individuals and teams.

Training needs assessments or surveys can help identify skills or competencies in which employees are least proficient, as well as common training needs and interests. These assessments can either be very simple (such as listing or selecting the top 10 training needs) or involve a more complex gap analysis.

Gathering internal data from performance reviews, individual development plans, manager feedback/recommendations, employee feedback, customer feedback, and performance measurements (quality, service, error rates, etc.) can also aid in identifying individual or team training needs. Similarly, 360 feedback tools, succession plans, and talent reviews can be especially helpful in identifying leadership and managerial training needs. In addition, workforce planning may be useful, particularly planned or forecasted:

  • Internal mobility (job changes, promotions, transfers, etc.)
  • Organizational changes and strategic initiatives
  • New technology implementations

2. Prioritize training needs and interests.

The larger your organization and the more training needs you have, the more important it will be to prioritize training needs and interests. Making sure that you identify the most critical training priorities that affect the largest segments of your workforce is important. For example, here are some questions to help you organize and prioritize training needs.

  1. What training needs are the most urgent or imperative?
  2. What training needs are critical to reducing important risks? (safety, legal, etc.)
  3. What training needs will have the most impact on performance? (quality, efficiency, etc.)
  4. What training needs do current and future leaders have, or are critical for succession planning?
  5. What training needs will have the greatest impact on morale, retention, and engagement?

3. Set your budget and allocate time and money

Most training budgets range from 1-4% of payroll, according to our local research. Smaller organizations are less likely to have a training budget than larger organizations and the majority of larger organizations have a budget between 1-2% of payroll. Training budgets of 5% or more are not common, but tend to be more common among employers of choice.

According to a 2016 report released by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), the average direct expenditure per employee on training and development is $1,252. Small and mid-sized organizations with fewer than 500 employees tended to spend more per employee on training and development ($2,112) than larger organizations with 500 or more employees ($794). 

From a time "budgeting" perspective, 2016 ASTD figures report that employees participate in 33.5 hours of training on average. Allocating time for training is important for scheduling and making sure that participants have time to complete the necessary training.

4. Select training and development types.

Once you have organized the training into priority buckets and set your budget, you will need to determine what training types best meet the needs identified. There are a range of different training and development options to choose from to train and develop employees' skills and capabilities. Generally-speaking, here is a comparison of low to no cost options and moderate to high cost options:

  • Low to no cost options: stretch assignments, on-the-job learning, knowledge sharing groups, cross training, job shadowing, reading books/material, book clubs, webinars, internal coaching, mentoring, volunteer opportunities, lunch n' learns, social networking, internal subject matter experts/training, and professional association membership/involvement
  • Moderate to higher cost options: onsite or offsite training workshops and programs, conferences, certification or licensure reimbursement, e-learning, tuition reimbursement, corporate universities, external coaching, and external training services (depending on the provider)

Low to no cost options aren't always the most effective for learning. In fact, moderate and high cost options may be the most beneficial options in some cases, and may actually yield more learning and behavioral change. It's just important to be aware that these options can carry a higher price tag in exchange for their value.

The bottom line when choosing training options is to make sure they match and fit the desired learning needs and objectives.

5. Create training and development initiatives.

It's generally advisable to have a seasoned instructional designer, trainer, learning and development professional, or individual trained in adult learning design training and development solutions for your organization as they understand how to create a successful program that fits specific learning needs.

In cases where you must create a staff training or development program or initiative, however, here are general tips.

  • Identify the goals and learning objectives based on knowledge/skill needs identified.
  • Establish the content that will be covered (leadership skills, communication skills, etc.).
  • Select a delivery format or a blended approach for your learning initiative such as E-learning, classroom training, on-the-job training, and mentoring
  • Create materials for your initiative/program such as workbooks, power-points, case studies, activities, job aids, etc.
  • Choose participants for the initiative/program including level, job classification, department or team
  • Select a time for the learning initiative.
  • Identify how you will evaluate and measure success. Metrics should be tied to the goals and learning objectives and on-the-job performance indicators.

6. Administer and manage training and development activities.

Administering and managing staff training and development involves a great deal of coordination, including the following:

  • Create a system for tracking training such as a Learning management system (LMS), HR information system (HRIS), or tracking spreadsheet to monitor and track training and development activities, who participated in them, hours spent, cost, etc.
  • Create and manage an annual training budget inclusive of budgeted average dollar amount per employee, budget as a percentage of payroll, and budgeted number of hours per employee
  • Maintain a schedule for employee training and development inclusive of timeframe for training and development activity, how often training and development will be scheduled, or location where training will be scheduled
  • Design a manner in which training can be requested and approved
  • Consider the manager's role in the training, specifically how the manager prepares the learner, sets expectations, and supports the learner on-the-job after training has been completed

7. Manage your training costs.

Training and development costs can rack up quickly, but there are many ways to manage these costs more effectively.

  • Find high quality training that produces results and tangible benefits. Poor quality training is a wasted investment.
  • Train people who are most in need of the training. Organizations often try to fill courses with individuals who may not need training, and they derive little benefit from it.
  • Match training needs to appropriate training and development options. High cost training options should only be used if there is no other available option that would produce a similar result.
  • Seek state and federal government workforce development grants to help fund your training. These grants are often available for technical training.
  • Use a train the trainer model for common types of training (such as sales training, new-hire orientation, etc.). Train subject matter experts inside your workplace to deliver training.

8. Evaluate your training and development programs and initiatives.

Training and development programs and initiatives should always be measured and evaluated for their value and impact. Your organization can measure results of these programs by:

  • Gathering feedback and measuring satisfaction with the training and development initiative
  • Evaluating what participants learned and what knowledge was acquired
  • Assessing whether participants' behavior has changed and if their learning has been put to use on the job
  • Measuring results or business outcomes of training, such as quality, production, and customer satisfaction; return on investment of training

The importance of carefully and properly administering and managing training and development programs according to these guidelines cannot be overstated. Training and development of employee capabilities is key to your business success, and needs to be well-managed to make sure the investment pays off and adds value.

ERC Training provides customized learning and development solutions nationwide.

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