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How to develop an effective employee training programme


Clare Hawkins gives us a straightforward checklist for improving employee training.

If you want your business to see continued success, you need to channel enough energy and resources into training your employees. While most businesses have something of a basic model for accomplishing this, that doesn’t attest to the success of the plan. Generic information is helpful, but not nearly as helpful as thorough information presented on a clear path. Are you making the most of your employee training program?

Identify your weaknesses

What takes the longest to accomplish at your office? Are people fumbling with your equipment? Do they really understand the software that you’re using? Everyone may be getting things done, but are they doing them the hard way, or the easy way? What policies are you having the most difficulty enforcing? These are things you need to recognise before you establish what you’ll cover in your employee training. Good training is targeted to the needs of a specific office, rather than a blanket approach full of general statements.

Establish your goals

Once you’ve spotted your weaknesses, it’s time to determine what you’re going to do with them. It’s not as simple as having certain issues resolved, but improving their outcomes. If your business, for example, is experiencing a supply waste, it’s not as effective to simply reduce or eliminate that waste. You’ll want to maximise how things are used and create a system that was more efficient than it was before. Create detailed plans for reaching your goals.

Target your training

Back-of-house employees don’t need customer service training, so don’t waste anyone’s time. Break training groups and sessions up to customise who is getting what information. You’re wasting less manpower having people in a training session that won’t benefit from the program. Some people may need to be involved in several training sessions, while others will only need one or two. The smaller your targeted groups are, the better you’ll be able to relay the information.

Create a training matrix

Having a training matrix will allow you to keep track of who is learning what, and when they’re learning it. Each employee should be assigned to specific training sessions, and you’ll need to know everyone’s itinerary. It’s much easier to have a list with boxes you can check off than it is to run around in circles trying to rally the appropriate groups when the time comes to train.

Have the right trainer

You may want to consider having someone else come in to do the actual training. Hiring an experienced professional for this purpose is undeniably the best way to make the most of a training session. Consult with this professional beforehand to address what you’re looking for your employees to grasp better, and create a plan based on the specific needs of your business. You may need to create or obtain training materials, such as booklets or videos. A professional will be able to assist you in that process.

Remember to refresh and update

Landscapes change. Sometimes technology improves or you’ve envisioned better policies. Don’t allow major changes to accumulate. Begin training your employees as soon as something is set in stone, whether it’s an entirely new procedure, upgrade, or policy, or a modification made to a previous one. Everyone should always be clear from the beginning about what the expectations are, or how to use something new.

Employee training isn’t a one-time deal. It’s an ongoing commitment that you need to make to your business and your employees. Adhering to that mindset will help create a more productive work environment that’s free from stress and confusion.

Clare Hawkins is part of the team at She specialises in small business operation improvement hacks and web design

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