Posted by Caveo Learning ● January 9, 2015

5 Ways to Initiate Employee Training

employee training programCreating a learning and development program from scratch can be one of the most daunting challenges faced by companies as they make the transition from small startup to established mid-market organization.

A good first step for any company launching training solutions is to put together a One-Page Learning Plan, which guides the overarching initiative and makes it easy to align learning KPIs with organizational business goals. Once the One-Page Plan is in place, there are a host of options for making learning strategy an integral part of a company, ranging from quick and informal to long-term and well-structured.

So, how do you create a new employee training program? Let’s take a look at five ways companies can get a training program off the ground and aid employees with ongoing professional development through their learning journey.

1. Communities of Practice

Organizations create communities of practice (COPs) to share with and learn from each other. Communities of practice usually center on a specific topic or job role and are typically informal, collaborative learning. Members of the community can share best practices, industry knowledge, and latest trends through regular virtual or in-person meetings. Technology can enhance learning collaboration among these groups, whether through social media interaction or the banking of information on a company Intranet.

2. Informal Mentoring

Mentoring relationships can help with knowledge sharing and can prove to be particularly beneficial for long-term professional development. Organizations can act as a matchmaker between employees; these relationships not only lead to valuable information sharing among workers, but can help cement worker loyalty and improve retention rates. More senior-level employees can mentor employees new to an organization. Alternatively, new employees can mentor senior level employees by sharing technology tips.

3. Learning Paths

Career learning paths can help with long-term professional development of employees. They progressively build the knowledge and skills required for success in a particular role or focus area. They also make it easier for employees to identify what they need to learn for their job, and they give business leaders visibility into overall readiness levels across the organization. Learning paths can include formal learning, such as classroom training, virtual learning, and web-based training, along with informal activities. On-the-job training, job shadowing, and performance auditing can be incorporated into learning paths. Organizations that implement role-based learning paths typically have reduced attrition, and workers are better equipped to develop new skills within current or different roles.

4. Learning & Development Departments

Middle-market organizations that invest in establishing learning and development departments demonstrate a commitment to professional development, which all employees appreciate—but especially those high achievers that organizations are so eager to retain. L&D organizations have the skills and expertise to enable business goals through learning. Initial investments may be modest—the hiring of a training manager, or bringing on strategic learning consultants to oversee the development of training deliverables—but they can then scale with the growth of the organization.

5. Social Learning and Collaboration Platforms

Organizations can implement learning technology that provides for sharing and collaboration among employees. Many such social learning and learning collaboration platforms now add a social gamification component where employees that “share” information gain points or badges, all of which encourages and incentivizes learning. It's important to keep in mind, though, that social learning should not have unique learning KPIs—it’s not about “likes” or engagement, but rather it's about delivering measurable business value via effective learning solutions.

A few final thoughts for companies preparing to launch new learning solutions:

  • Before you embark on any performance initiatives, make sure they fit into your overall learning strategy and provide measurable business impact.
  • Use organizational KPIs—not L&D-centric measurements—when assessing the value of any learning tools.
  • If you are already using any of these learning styles or formats, take some time to align their impact to your overall organization’s future state and KPIs. (The One-Page Plan will help with this.)

Topics: Learning Strategy