By Eliana Ifill
Crazy schedules, distracted staff, uninterested stakeholders—these are the enemies of a robust training program. You might be like one of the many managers who have juggled factors like these and are worried about meeting your team’s training needs.
Agencies that power through the barriers to bring next-level training to their staff will benefit, however. An efficient training plan will keep your participants up to date and informed. Plus, doing training in-house (as opposed to sending them to on-site workshops) lets you stay flexible and keep on budget.
As a bonus, your staff will thank you for it. Many studies show that effective training increases engagement and improves retention. A recent study of millennials shows development opportunities are one of the most compelling reasons to work for an organization. This is the leading age group in the workforce according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A successful organization-wide learning initiative starts early, before you launch. Here are five important tips to keep in mind to get the most out of your training programs.
4 steps to follow to build a training plan
1. Decide who will be your program admin
First off, find someone to manage the training program. Some agencies make the mistake of purchasing a professional development package and then neglect to manage it. So take time to hire or assign someone to be the touch person for the program.
Depending on the program and requirements, you may need to bring an outside party to manage your training program. For example, for a one-off, agency-wide compliance course, you may only need to recruit your HR team to guide the process since the course content will be supplied and standard.
On the flip side, if you’re developing a comprehensive course that will run multiple cohorts or more involved learning, you’re likely better off hiring a dedicated provider. Such is the case of specialized or niche training.
Unsure of what you need? Find out How To Hire a Remote Training Admin To Manage E-learning Programs.
2. Select your delivery method — remote, in person, or blended.
How and were will your training take place? It might be remote, especially if your staff is still at home part or all of the time. If your organization is back at the office, you may consider in-person learning. Or, you can set up a blend of the two for an enriching experience.
As the world transitioned online, it’s easier now than ever to launch a remote or blended program to upskill your staff, train in new technologies, or simply comply with new regulations.
One of the pros of in-person learning is that there’s a dedicated space and time for each session. With in-person learning, it’s easier to stick to the commitment and complete the program on time. However, after a year of shifting obligations, new routines and pandemic concerns, your team might push back against in-person training.
On the other hand, remote training may be the best choice for many teams. Especially those who haven’t returned to the office or are doing so only a few days a week. Remote training has big benefits, including:
- Flexibility can boost motivation
- Learning from home can have fewer office-based distractions
- It’s easier to keep up with legal obligations
If you’re going the online learning route, will it be asynchronous or synchronous? Asynchronous training simply means that the content is available through guides, downloads, videos, and more, for the learner to work on their own time. And synchronous training is one where the facilitator is working through the course materials with the learners in real time.
A blended training plan can take the best of each modality and help bring the program to fruition. With the engagement and timeliness of in-person sessions and the flexibility of remote training, this option could be the best for bigger teams that may struggle to find a time or place that works well for everyone. In-person sessions are the perfect time to spark conversation and clarify doubts, while virtual classes are an opportunity to absorb the content and research as needed.
3. Offer the curriculum in the languages your team speaks
Depending on your staff and possibilities, it’s worth exploring different languages in your course material. English is the default language for many courses, and your team might even speak English at work. But consider that learning may be easier for them in their native language.
At minimum, non-native English speakers will simply understand the information better. And the better they understand it, the better they can do their job. Even better, courses offered in Spanish, Mandarin or other common languages can boost staff members’ understanding and make for a more effective learning experience.
At Talance, we’ve worked with companies to provide training materials in Spanish and other languages. Here’s a quick guide of how the process works: How To Offer Virtual Courses in Spanish and Other Languages.
4. Encourage engagement and participation
A successful training program has an engaged group of learners. Without active participation from your team, the program simply won’t achieve the goals you’re after.
First, it’s important to make the format feel accessible and easy to work for. This starts with the delivery method and includes everything from the software you’re using to the content itself. An easy way to kickstart the training is to provide a starter kit showing users:
- The tools they need (and where to find tutorials for them)
- How to sign up
- Where and when to access course materials
- How to submit assignments
- How to communicate with the facilitators
Here are 9 ways to support your staff as they embark on an online training program:
Next, you want to make sure the person in charge is experienced with the modality you’ve chosen. An experienced in-person facilitator may not always translate their skills to online settings. The right trainer can make even the most complicated course feel attainable and keep learners interested and engaged.
Bonus: Virtual training FAQs for program managers
We’ve compiled the top 10 questions from program managers and directors toying with the idea of transitioning from in-person to remote or blended learning. In this guide, you’ll find everything from synchronous learning examples to the top ways of accessing virtual training content.
A successful training program starts with your staff’s unique needs
Designing a training program around your staff’s needs and existing skills sets all of you up for success from day one. A custom-made training program helps team members achieve their fullest potential and keeps them competitive, engaged, and interested in their work. And in turn, your agency’s initiatives will thrive.
Setting up an online training program for your team? We’d love to help
At Talance, we’re here for you. If you’re exploring a custom-made online training program, book a consultation and one of our experts will walk you through any questions and help execute a winning training plan for your program.
Talance offers custom learning solutions for program managers and directors looking to provide new tools and updated training to their staff. Click here to book a consultation.