Learning & Development

Do you trust your training program?

If your professional development strategies are starting to feel a bit stale, it may be time to switch things up. According to the Wall Street Journal, up to 90 percent of new skills learned during training programs can be lost within a year if there’s no proper follow-up. However, there’s certainly more to this statistic than how your company helps employees retain knowledge for the long term. Finding a respected and well-suited training program requires investing substantial time and energy into professional development. This means that a training program should be tailorable, directly relate to your business, catalyze collaboration and make it easy to follow up with employees about what they’ve learned.

“Customization is key to effective corporate training programs.”

Is it tailored? 
For a business simulation to be truly effective, learning goals must be customized to fit a specific organization. An experienced trainer should be brought in to help explain and navigate the software, as well as provide feedback and insight. Whereas asking employees to take time out of their workday to complete a brief online training may seem most efficient, in reality it will likely lack comprehensiveness and fail to inspire genuine engagement. Moreover, eLearning Industry notes that organizations often opt for online training without having a specific goal in mind. A customized program allows you to define and prioritize your goals, ensuring that time invested in professional development better serves its purpose.

Does it have real-world applications?  
Another area where many training programs fail is in regard to examining practical workplace scenarios. This is yet another reason customization is key. If employees can’t contextualize learned skills and utilize them within the course of their jobs, then it’s likely most of the information won’t be retained. Remember that the whole objective of professional development is giving your employees the resources to succeed. Without any on-the-job applications, a training program has little value.

More importantly, most workers can easily identify when their time is being valued. A uniform training program overloaded with text will seem like nothing more than a means of delaying employees from more important tasks, thereby decreasing engagement. Yet if employees feel that a company is genuinely investing in a program that will help them improve professionally and advance their careers, they’re more likely to make valuable usage of the time provided.

Does it encourage teamwork? 
Keep in mind that a healthy organization relies on employees working together to accomplish large goals. For a company to thrive, workers in different departments must feel comfortable collaborating and socializing. A team assessment is therefore a valuable component of a training program. Your professional development time can serve as a chance for unconventional teams to work together, which then inspires more long-term collaboration throughout an organization.

Does the design encourage learning? 
Far too many training programs simply inundate employees with information that will quickly be forgotten. Employees shouldn’t go into professional development feeling like they’re cramming to pass a test, but instead they should feel that they’re benefiting from learning new professional skills and refining old skills that may have decayed over time. Rather than overload employees with information, find training tools that require interaction, collaboration and critical thinking.

Does it provide tools for follow-through?  
A good training program highlights the areas in which employees excel and need improvement, making it possible to implement future development strategies. Also, respected programs bring in experienced trainers that can debrief an organization and discuss what has been learned. This time allows employees to identify important takeaways and assess their capabilities honestly.

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