This document is designed to help owner-managers of small businesses set up a systematic program for training their employees. The questions are designed to provide a step-by-step approach to the task of organizing and conducting a successful program of employee training.
Use this checklist as a guide. However, in thinking about a training program for your company, consider each question and answer with a “yes” or “no” in light of the training needs of your particular situation.
Components of a successful employee learning experience
Learning happens all the time whether you and your employees are aware of it or not. There are two main types of learning. Incidental, where you learned without really thinking about it or meaning to and intentional, where learning happens when you engage in activities with an attitude of “what can I learn from this”. Make sure when you are implementing an employee training and development program you include these components.
- The goals of the employee training or development program are clear
- The employees are involved in determining the knowledge, skills and abilities to be learned
- The employees are participating in activities during the learning process
- The work experience and knowledge that employees bring to each learning situation are used as a resource
- A practical and problem-centered approach based on real examples
- New material is connected to the employees past learning and work experience
- The employees are given opportunity to reinforce what they learn by practicing
- The learning environment is informal ,safe and supportive
- Learning opportunity promotes positive self esteem
What is your overall goal?
As the employer you will need to define the objective or goal to be achieved by a training program. Whether the objective is to conduct initial training, upgrade training, or to retrain for changing job assignments, the overall goal needs to be determined.
- New skills
- New techniques for old skills
- Better workplace behaviour
- Better customer service
What Does the Employee Need to Learn?
Once the 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 certain skills and techniques which trainees must learn?
- Are there hazards and safety practices which must be taught
- Are there material handling techniques that must be taught?
- 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?
What Type of Training?
There are numerous training types to help you prepare and equip employees to better do their job. It can be daunting to determine which methods to use and when to use them and sometimes even using several methods for each training session may actually be the most effective way to help employees learn and retain information?
- Can you train hands on? This may include cross-training, demonstrations or coaching.
- Should you have classroom or instruction led-training?
- Can you use interactive methods such as quizzes, group discussions, etc to keep trainees attentive?Can you use computer based training? Or E-Learning?
What Physical Facilities Will You Need?
The type of training will determine the physical facilities needed for the training and in turn, the necessary physical facilities will determine the location of the training.
- Do need work space or facilities for on the job training?
- Do you need a conference room or lunch room in which training can be conducted?
- Should the training be conducted off the premises, as in a nearby school, restaurant, hotel or motel?
- What kind of tools do you need to properly train? If you need a projection screen, your location will have to have one.
- Do you need 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?
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 to teach, 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, or 3 months.)
- Can the length of each session and the number of sessions per week be established?
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 also want to use more than one person as an instructor.
- Yourself or your partner?
- A professional from the field?
- A long standing employee?
- Hired instructor
- Supervisors or managers
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?
What Checks or Controls Will You Use?
- 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?
How Should the Program Be Publicized?
Publicizing to your community your training program can help attract qualified job applicants. Publicizing it internally can amp up employee morale and better productivity.
- When will the program be announced? Before, after, during?
- 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 award 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?