Developing and Implementing Successful Training Plans

Development and Implementation of a Successful Training Plan

By: Amy Wees

Development of a training program is important in the success of a business and its employees.  Certainly the most important justification for a business to invest in a good employee training program is profitability.  Simply put, the more training employees receive about the business and industry, the more profit they will earn.  Training helps employees stay motivated about new information and empowers them to be more productive and profitable.  There are other motives for having a training program.  According to the Small Business Knowledge Base, reasons for emphasizing the growth and development of personnel include:

  • Creating a pool of readily available and adequate replacements for personnel who may leave or move up in the organization.
  • Enhancing the company’s ability to adopt and use advances in technology because of a sufficiently knowledgeable staff.
  • Building a more efficient, effective and highly motivated team, which enhances the company’s competitive position and improves employee morale.
  • Ensuring adequate human resources for expansion into new programs (Liraz, 2008, para. 2).

A training session can be conducted for a number of reasons, from bringing in a new hire, introducing new concepts to working groups or even learning a new computer software program.  No matter the reason, training should be comprehensive, ongoing and consistent (Monahan, 2009, para. 2).  A successful program must include many complex elements in order to train new employees, and also refresh or retrain current employees.  When considering all of these elements the real question is: Where does one begin in development of a successful training program that meets the needs of the firm?

There are many different methods of developing a training program.  When performing an online search it seems there are endless journals, articles, and templates to assist human resources professionals in doing just that.  There are, however, some things to consider during the development process to avoid common pitfalls and get the process off the ground. One popular model to use in this process is the ADDIE model (I-tech, 2006).  ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Design, Implementation and Evaluation.  The ADDIE model covers all of the broad steps involved in creating any program and will be the basis of what this paper covers.

The first phase in the ADDIE process is the analysis phase.  During the analysis phase it is important to determine the basic needs for a training program in that particular company.  A needs assessment can be used to determine what type of training will be needed and offered by the firm.  Needs assessments can be accomplished by using questionnaires, asking employees about training shortfalls, requiring management to define needs of employees, or via working groups or consultants.  It is important to determine what the trainee’s job related needs are, what they need to know, and if there is a significant gap between the two (I-tech, 2006).

Next are the design and development phases which are possibly the most critical and involved because they define who, what, when, where and why.  The U.S. Small Business Association (2007) has identified twelve important questions to answer during the design and development phases:

  1. 1.      What is the goal of training? 
  • Do you want to improve the performance of your employees?
  • Will you improve your employees by training them to perform their present tasks better?
  • Do you need to prepare employees for newly developed or modified jobs?
  • Is training needed to prepare employees for promotion?
  • Is the goal to reduce accidents and increase safety practices?
  • Is the goal to orient new employees to their jobs or about overall operations?
  • Do you need to train employees to train others?
  1. 2.      What Does the Employee Need to Learn?

Once the objective or goal of the program is set, you will need to determine the subject matter. The following questions are designed to help you decide what the employee needs in terms of duties, responsibilities, and attitudes.

  • Can the job be broken down into steps for training purposes?
  • Are there standards of quality, skills or techniques which trainees can be taught?
  • Are there material handling techniques that must be taught?
  • Have you determined the best way for the trainees to operate the equipment?
  • Are there performance standards that employees must meet?
  • Are there attitudes that need improvement or modifications?
  • Will information on your products help employees to do a better job?
  • Will the employee need instruction about departments other than his or her own?
  1. 3.      What Type of Training?

The type of training to be offered has an important bearing on the balance of the program. Some types lend themselves to achieving all of the objectives or goals, while others are limited. Therefore, you should review the advantages of each type in relation to your objective or goal.

  • Can you train on-the-job so that employees can produce while they learn?
  • Should you have classroom training conducted by a paid instructor?
  • Will a combination of scheduled on-the-job training and vocational classroom instruction work best for you?
  • Can your goal be achieved with a combination of on-the-job training and correspondence courses?
  1. 4.      What Method of Instruction?

One or more methods of instruction may be used. Some are better for one type of training than another. For example, lectures are good for imparting knowledge, and demonstrations are good for teaching skills.

  • Does the subject matter call for a lecture or series of lectures?
  • Should the instructor follow up with discussion sessions?
  • Does the subject matter lend itself to demonstrations?
  • Can operating problems be simulated in a classroom?
  • Can the instructor direct trainees while they perform the job?
  1. 5.      What Audio Visual Aids Will You Use?

Audiovisual aids help the instructor to make points and enable the trainees to grasp and retain the instructions.

  • Will a manual of instruction — including job instruction sheets — be used?
  • Will trainees be given an outline of the training program?
  • Can outside textbooks and other printed materials be used?
  • If the training lends itself to the use of motion pictures, film strips or slides, can you get ones that show the basic operations?
  • Have you drawings or photographs of the machinery, equipment or products which could be enlarged and used?
  • Do you have miniatures or models of machinery and equipment that can be used to demonstrate the operation?
  1. 6.      What Physical Facilities Will You Need?

The type of training, the method of instruction, and the audiovisuals will determine the physical facilities and the locations needed for the training.

  • If the training cannot be conducted on the production floor, do you have a conference room or lunch room in which it can be conducted?
  • Should the training be conducted off the premises, as in a nearby school, restaurant, hotel or motel?
  • Will the instructor have the necessary tools, such as blackboard, lectern, film projector, and a microphone (if needed)?
  • Will there be sufficient seating and writing surfaces (if needed) for training?
  • If equipment is to be used, will each trainee be provided with his or her own?
  1. 7.      What about Timing?

The length of the training program will vary according to the needs of your company, the material to be learned, the ability of the instructor, and the ability of the trainees to learn.

  • Should the training be conducted part-time and during working hours?
  • Should the sessions be held after working hours?
  • Will the instruction cover a predetermined period of time? (for example, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months.)
  • Can the length of each session and the number of sessions per week be established?
  1. 8.      Who Will Be Selected as Instructor?

The success of training depends to a great extent on the instructor. A qualified one could achieve good results even with limited resources. On the other hand, an untrained instructor may be unsuccessful even with the best program. You may want to use more than one person as instructor.

  • Can you fill in as an instructor?
  • Do you have a personnel manager who has the time and the ability to do the instructing?
  • Can your supervisor or department heads handle the instructions?
  • Should a skilled employee be used as the instructor?
  • Will you have to train the instructor?
  • Is there a qualified outside instructor available for employment on a part-time basis?
  1. 9.      Who Should Be Selected for Training?

Employees should be selected for training on the basis of goal of the program as well as their aptitudes, physical capabilities, previous experiences, and attitudes.

  • Should new employees be hired for training?
  • Should the training of new employees be a condition of employment?
  • Would you prefer trainees with previous experience in the work?
  • Are there present employees who need training?
  • Would you consider employees presently in lower rated jobs who have the aptitude to learn?
  • Is the training to be a condition for promotion?
  • Will the training be made available to handicapped employees whose injury occurred while employed by the company?
  • Will employees be permitted to volunteer for the training?
  • Should employees displaced by job changes, departmental shutdowns, automation, and so on be given the opportunity to be trained in other jobs?
  1. 10.  What Will the Program Cost?

It may be desirable to compute the costs of your training before starting the program. Thus, you can budget sufficient funds for the program and use the budget as a tool for keeping training costs in line.

  • Should you change the program for the space, the machines, and materials used?
  • Will the wages of trainees be included?
  • If the instructor is an employee, will his or her pay be included in the costs?
  • Will the time you and others spend in preparing and administrating the program be part of the costs?
  • If usable production results from the sessions, should the results of it be deducted from costs of the program?
  1. 11.  What Checks or Controls Will You Use?
  • Can you check the results of the training against the goal or objective?
  • Can standards of learning time be established against which to check the progress of the trainees?
  • Can data on trainee performance be developed before, during, and after training?
  • Will records be kept on the progress of each trainee?
  • Will trainees be tested on the knowledge and skills acquired?
  • Will the instructor rate each trainee during and at the end of the course?
  • Will the training be followed up periodically by a supervisor or department head to determine the long-range effects of the training?
  • Should you personally check and control the program?
  1. 12.  How Should the Program Be Publicized?

Publicizing the company’s training program in the community helps attract qualified job applicants. Publicity inside the company helps motivate employees to improve themselves.

  • If the program is announced to employees, will the announcement be made before the program starts? During the program?
  • Are pictures to be taken of the training sessions and used on bulletin boards and in local newspapers?
  • Should employees who complete the training be awarded certificates?
  • Should the certificates be presented at a special affair, such as a dinner?
  • When the certificates are awarded, will you invite the family of the trainees?
  • Should the local newspaper, radio, and TV people be invited to the “graduation” exercises?

After you have answered these twelve questions, you will need to decide how you will implement your program.  Prior to implementation it will be important to present your plan to top management for approval and budgeting purposes.  Your proposal to management should include at a minimum: costs of implementation and maintenance, staffing requirements, training methods and courses offered and benefits to the organization.  After managements approval it will be important to put together a team implement the program and create related resources.

Implementation requires documentation and record of the aspects of the program, training manuals, presentations, and a record keeping process.  During this phase it must be decided whether to maintain and present the program using a web based application or via internal electronic documents that can be updated and e-mailed on a regular basis or used by instructors during training sessions.  Many firms today are using web based applications that allow employees to complete training right from their desktop.  The initial expense of this option may be higher, but the long term benefit and self-maintenance of this type of program would require less in manning costs in the long term.  Also consider that even if the program is web based there will still need to be products and space allotted for other required face to face training or teleconferencing sessions.  Outsourcing can also be an option for printing the documents or maintaining an online program.

After all resources have been created it will be necessary to introduce the training program to managers so that they understand what is required and how they will participate in the program.  Promotion of the training program is the next step.  Employees must be aware of the program processes, what is required of them and most importantly how they will benefit from training.  “Supervisors should discuss the importance of individual and group training with the employees. Employees must be aware that training will be beneficial and is an attempt to help each individual be more efficient. Increased efficiency may lead to increases in pay, promotions, recognition and rewards, all leading to more individual self-esteem. Training awareness can be publicized using the bulletin boards, memos, newspapers and the grapevine (Harmon, 1998, p.2).”

The last phase in the process is evaluation.  Without evaluation, there are no traceable results of the program.  Evaluation can be accomplished by offering surveys to participants after training sessions are completed and also through performance reports from management.  It may also be beneficial to evaluate work processes against the training that was offered.  How closely are employees following the training during their work processes?  Are there significant safety or other important issues coming up during the process?  If so, it may be necessary to reevaluate the course and find out how it can be changed to help employees retain the most important information.  Employee surveys and process inspections offered during process inspections could also assist in making the necessary changes.  During evaluation, it can also be determined whether the current training program needs to be altered to meet the needs of employees or whether new or different training needs to be added to the program.  Evaluation closes the circle of the ADDIE model and allows the process to start again at the analysis phase.  By following the model and running all processes on a continual basis, the program will have the necessary alterations to meet the needs of the firm.

The business world is forever changing, upgrading and downgrading.  Positions are constantly added and removed.  Therefore it is necessary to have employees that are not stagnant who remain to be vital assets to the company (Harmon, 1998, p. 1).  Training programs also ensure employees remain to operate safely, confidently and consistently.  With a clear understanding of a firm’s objectives, human resources managers can develop, implement and maintain a successful training plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Harmon, G. (1989). How to Create an Effective Training Program. All Business. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/careers-career-development/111636-1.html

Liraz, M. (2008). Employee Training and Development. BizMove.com. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from http://www.bizmove.com/personnel/m4d.htm

Monahan, J. (2009). The Importance of Developing a Training Program for Your Company/Business. ContentDig.com. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from http://contentdig.com/business/the-importance-of-developing-a-training-program-for-your-company.html

I-tech. (2006). Creating a Training Program using the ADDIE Model. Go2itech.org. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from http://www.go2itech.org/HTML/TT06/toolkit/design/strategies.html

U.S. Small Business Administration. (2007). Checklist for Developing a Training Program. Canada-Ontario Business Service Center. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from http://www.canadabusiness.ca/servlet/ContentServer?cid=1081945276519&pagename=CBSC_ON%2Fdisplay&c=GuideFactSheet

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