The rate of digitization and technological advancements have never been higher, constantly requiring an evolving set of skills and talent. Thus, the need for continuous training and development programs has also never been higher. With businesses constant focus on ROI, employee training and development programs are no exception. Yet it’s notoriously difficult for many organizations to create and run L&D initiatives that are effective both in terms of cost and results. So – how can you create a program that checks all the boxes: Is cost-effective, business goals and KPI-oriented as well as measurable, and is accessible for all who need it? Here, we break down the steps to help you design and implement a cost-effective L&D program.
Training and Development Programs Are Essential for All Employees
At some companies, employee training and management development are synonymous. It’s true that managers are more visible and that the effect of their efforts can be more noticeable, so they often get the lion’s share of L&D opportunities.
However, management development should be only part of a company’s training and development program. Continuous professional development for all employees is becoming increasingly critical to arm employees across the entire organization with the skills and knowledge needed to perform well in quickly evolving positions with quickly evolving technology and methodology.
To truly derive the maximum benefits from employee development, programs should be deployed across the organization. When done correctly, the positive impact on organizational performance can be massive.
[See how Taboola has been able to scale employee development by more than three times within their existing budget in our latest case study.]
Enhancing the employer’s reputation in the eyes of the workforce is one important benefit. When an organization is seen as caring about, and willing to invest in, continuing professional development, the result is loyalty. In the current climate of frequent turnover, better branding can inspire higher employee retention and its resulting advantages. These include higher morale, motivation, and a culture of learning and professional development in the image of a growth mindset company. Leadership can show how integral employee development is to the organization by offering both L&D programs and the time and space to learn and develop themselves personally and professionally. When leaders truly care about their workers’ development, both current and potential employees will take note, making your organization an attractive place to work.
Effective L&D programs tend to create a snowball effect, as ‘graduates’ have the ability to change the organization for the better. A recently trained employee can impart their knowledge to others, which will make their activities more productive without additional investment of training resources. And when employees receive soft skills training, they will exhibit improved creativity and problem-solving traits.
By developing an organization’s rising stars and potential leaders, a company will be ready for challenges in both the near and distant future. Training for employee growth through forward-looking skills can contribute to succession efforts and negate the challenges posed by the Great Resignation and the pending mass exodus of Baby Boomers from the workforce.
Creating a Cost-Effective Training & Development Program:
8 Important Considerations
Now that the pros of L&D programs have been laid out, let’s discuss eight basic steps in employee training that can expedite such initiatives – and wield the best results.
- Begin identifying employee training and development needs by starting backward. What do you want the end product to look like? How do you see the L&D program being integrated within the organization, how will you handle the rollout, and who will be part of administering it? By understanding the full scope, you’ll be better equipped to get leadership buy-in and the rest of the organization on board.
- Sit down with leadership to understand their current and near-future business goals and use that to inform your programs and the skills that will be needed in the near future. They likely have plans that will require reskilling and/or upskilling programs. Ensuring your L&D program includes the skills that will be vital to the business in the next six to 12 months will minimize strategy implementation lags.
- Get an understanding of where employees are in their professional development. Determine which skills employees are missing through employee and manager surveys, and speak with managers to understand what skills are lacking on their teams. Remember that not only technical skills are necessary. Soft skills are often more important for productive organizations.
- Decide which type – or types – of L&D program(s) you’re going to use. There are many options to consider: One-on-one coaching and/or mentoring? A self-paced LMS or virtual training platform? On- or off-site lectures or workshops? Depending on your organization size and ambitions, you may want to offer different programs to different cohorts. A great example is Fyber’s rollout of their “Grow Yourself” program, offering employees three development tracks: Mentorships for managers, ‘A Day in the Life’ program, and GrowthSpace sprints for all employees with a year under their belts at the company.
- If external experts such as coaches and trainers are to be involved, examine all costs and contract conditions thoroughly. A common stumbling block at this stage, which will affect both cost and efficiency, is that of scale. It is a real challenge to precisely match a coach with exact skill requirements, and this gets more difficult when more employees are to be trained.
- Create ROI metrics and a plan for including employee and manager feedback as a cornerstone of your measurements. The program will succeed only if managers and employees are engaged and putting their newly learned skills to work.
- It’s now up to you to get buy-in from upper management and be ready to explain why this is the right direction for your organizational development roadmap. Expect a lot of questions about ROI and metrics. In light of the poor performance of many L&D programs, it makes business sense to hold training efforts up to a standard.
- Once the program receives approval, it’s time to coordinate the experts who will actually provide the training. If you’re planning on hiring external coaches, it will be necessary to first identify them, either locally or online, and check their ratings and reviews. The International Coaching Federation is a good place to start, but while their standards are high, they don’t provide any quality measurement information. Make sure you hire the coaches that are right for all your employee’s needs.
Get Going with GrowthSpace
Companies across the globe are discovering an additional and vital step towards L&D program efficiency. GrowthSpace fulfills critical aspects of training and development programs through customized matching of employees with experts, sprint-based sessions, and simple but illuminating measurement tools. If you want to unlock the potential of your people at all levels, start by utilizing the GrowthSpace platform.