How to Develop Successful Corporate Training Programs – Part I
US organizations spend upwards of $164 billion annually on employee learning and development (Source: American Society for Training & Development-State of the Union Report). But, as some research suggests, much of this training has little to no impact.
Given how important it is to have skilled employees, it goes without saying that companies must do a better job at producing them. At Rand Group, we recently embarked on the long and winding path to developing and implementing a companywide employee training program. As a professional services firm, we wanted to differentiate ourselves from the competition and facilitate knowledge transfer from the senior executives and firm shareholders to our more junior delivery staff.
Our goals with the programs have been to improve staff knowledge, improve the overall deliverability of our services and, ultimately, increase firm revenue by empowering staff to recognize opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have seen.
Given the experience I’ve had spearheading this endeavor; I thought it prudent to outline some lessons learned to help guide you when implementing your own corporate training programs.
In part 1 of this 3 part series, I will outline what you need to do before you start.
1. Needs Assessment
The first step for any organization looking to implement a successful training program is to undertake an internal needs assessment. The process is largely no different than how you would assess the needs of a new client. Analyze your training needs, and ask yourself, what are the critical skills and knowledge that our organization needs in order to better serve our clients? Where are our staff on the knowledge continuum – basic, intermediate, advanced? And what areas do staff feel they are lacking knowledge in? Too often organizations don’t take the time to determine their needs and make their training decisions on without thoughtful consideration of needs and a good baseline of skills. Remember not everyone even at the same staff level will be at the same starting point when you start the training program. That is a prescription for failure.
2. Internal Survey
An internal assessment is bound to come with assumptions. For one, most organizations that implement corporate training programs fail to recognize that staff themselves must believe that learning new skills will fill a gap in their skillset and directly contribute to improved organizational performance. To prevent employees from attending training only because they “have to”, conduct an internal survey of staff to gauge interest; and align this interest with your predetermined understanding of the organization’s training needs. Where the interest and the need align is the sweet spot for getting a high level of attendance and attention from your target audience.
3. Develop your curriculum
After your assessment phase is complete you should be ready to develop your curriculum. At Rand Group, we developed sessions with a focus on a mix of accounting, industry, internal controls, technical and software knowledge, plus general business fundamentals. What you develop will be different, but what’s important is that you base your sessions around filling the knowledge gaps as identified during your needs assessment.
In the next part of this series, we’ll look at two key components of the program that are a necessity to ensuring program success.
– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.