August 4, 2020 | By Mallory Glessner
In the past, employee training often took place in small, in-person groups. Presenters used PowerPoint presentations and live question and answer sessions to help convey information and ensure that all trainees had a grasp of the material.
However, like so many other aspects of doing business now, employee training programs must adapt to the New Normal. That means developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that mesh with distance learning through software, rather than in-person training. Want to design your first online employee training program or to set up a more effective training program for employees? Follow these steps.
The first step in creating effective employee training is to decide the goal of the training. Your goal should not be to change for the sake of change. Rather, you should consider how you can make that change a part of the solution. For instance, you may want to lower the amount of time that employees must spend navigating HR software.
Alternatively, you might want to encourage professional development or empower team members to serve as subject matter experts for their respective departments. You may need to train new employees and provide them with the skills they need in order to excel within the company. Whatever your goals, by starting with a needs assessment, you can establish what your training actually needs to accomplish. Not only does this ensure that you can provide exactly the information employees need, but it can also stop you from needing to go back later and conduct another round of training.
Once you know what employees need to be trained on, map out the journey the trainee will take in order to become trained.
You know where employees are. You know what they need to know. What will it take for them to get there? By the end of the journey, employees should show demonstrable progress: clear evidence that they have absorbed what was needed from the training and can now more effectively manage their responsibilities. With a clear roadmap, you can provide them with the tools they need to get there.
You want training that can be repeatable by any teacher. With today's New Normal, you want training to be able to take place in a virtual environment regardless of who runs that training or what input they provide. This ensures that the team always has access to the latest training, no matter who is free to conduct the seminar, or how employees move through those modules. Creating a set of SOPs will also make it easier to integrate new features, which means that you can easily add to those training protocols over time.
In the New Normal, training is less likely to take place in person. This adds the requirement of a careful software choice since there won't be someone on hand to ensure that participants are engaged and actively learning.
Bad software allows participants to pass the training module without actually absorbing or understanding what they're learning. Effective training software will bring users back to sections they do not understand, provide more information, or offer information from a different perspective to help trainees progress in terms of knowledge. Your software should also allow for the creation of knowledge checkpoints, which will allow you to track knowledge as employees progress.
A knowledge checkpoint is a quiz or test that demonstrates that the trainee has absorbed the relevant knowledge for that section. To make these checkpoints as effective as possible, they shouldn't just ask for definitions or memorized passages. Instead, they should involve applying what was learned to new situations, which will allow for a more effective assessment of employee progress.
If the roadmap is built well, then after trainees have passed all knowledge checkpoints, they should be ready to apply their new knowledge to their own position and their roles within the company. Trainees should be able to adapt that knowledge and use it for their work goals, not just regurgitate the facts they learned.
To assess this applied learning, trainees should present their findings to others. This could occur through a video recording or call.
Employee training programs develop the skills and competencies of employees while solving real work problems and creating higher levels of efficiency within the workplace. By following the right steps, you can create effective training modules that will allow employees to expand their knowledge, testing them at each stage of the process to get a better idea of what they have learned from each session. At the end, you should also incorporate feedback from those employees who recently completed the training. Through that feedback, you can improve your training SOPs and develop better training for future groups.
Mallory is a Six Sigma Black Belt and Continuous Improvement leader at Questco. Her areas of focus include gap analysis, project management, and training & development.