Top Mistakes You’re Making with Your Employee Training Plan

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A good employee training plan will lay a solid foundation for the future success of your workers and your company. Develop the right training plan and you will inspire your employees and help them reach their full potential, which will help your company grow in the long term, staying at the cutting edge of the marketplace. Unfortunately, most companies make a lot of mistakes with their training plans – mistakes that they don’t even know they’re making. Learning how to avoid these mistakes can go even further than learning the right things to do, in some cases. Here are some of the top mistakes that you and other companies are likely making with your training plan:

Not Creating a Specific and Detailed Timeline

How can you expect your training to be focused and effective if you don’t have a detailed timeline for it? Without it, the training plan could go on and on. You will waste time (which also costs money), and you won’t have a clear sense of direction to guide your teaching. Your employee training plan should have a specific timeline that has a start and end date, as well as a detailed schedule for how each day and each hour will be spent. You should have goals for each session, and you should have a specific curriculum for meeting those goals. By creating a clear schedule, you can better plan what material needs to be in the training sessions to make the most impact.

Using Dull Materials and Formats that Fail to Inspire

Who wants to sit in front an instructor lecturing in a monotonous voice on dry facts and figures? Not too many people would sign up for such a thing, and not too many people would be able to make it through such a training without nodding off or fantasizing about being elsewhere. Your employee training plan should include interesting materials and exciting exercises that will engage your employees and make them excited about the work ahead. They should feel motivated and inspired when they are done with training, which will position them to bring fresh ideas to the table and make real, positive changes at your company. In contrast, dry, dull training materials will produce employees who are ready to do the bare minimum to keep the job. Employees will show up and do what they’re told, but they won’t do much more than that. Include a wide variety of materials to appeal to all learning styles, and include different types of materials and exercises to engage people of all types of interests. Your training should be fun, and employees should feel excited when they are done with it.

Focusing Too Much on Company Goals and Not the Employees

When you design your employee training plan, you are going to be thinking about what you want to get out of it. You know you want your employees to learn certain skills within a certain time frame, and you know you want your employees to meet certain expectations in terms of performance. But did you stop to think about how that might be motivating to employees? Has it ever motivated you to hear a list of demands and expectations? Effective training will be designed around what the company needs, as well as what the employees need. It will show employees how the skills they are learning will help them grow in their time not just at the company but also in their careers. Effective training will also be targeted at employee interests. Just introducing exercises focused around hobbies or recreational activities like tennis and golf can help engage those employees who enjoy them. It’s important that you find as many ways as you can to create training materials that keep employee interests and goals in mind.

Failing to Designate a Point Person for Support

No matter what kind of employee training plan you have in place, there will be times that people have questions or need support. The software may experience problems, or employees may become confused about particular points of the training. You should have a primary support person designated to answer questions and to help troubleshoot problems. This can be a current manager, or it can be an employee who you promote for the training. Choosing to promote is a good way to take advantage of the training opportunity by finding an employee to recognize and advance in the company. Your employees should feel like they always have the support they need so they feel more confident in the process. Having a designated support person will also lower the risk that the training is derailed by some problem since issues can be resolved quickly.

Not Choosing the Right Software for the Training

Good training software can facilitate your employee training plan so that it is timely and successful. The software can help you stay on schedule, and it can help you stay focused so that you meet your goals. However, many companies conduct their training without the aid of such software. Doing so is a serious oversight that can cost you a lot of wasted time and money. There are dozens of employee training software platforms, so you can be sure to find the right program to meet your needs and your budget. Spend plenty of time researching the options before you commit, and request a demo of the software to try out all its features. Look for software programs that include customization options. You’ll be able to tweak the appearance to conform to brand identity, and you may be able to do more advanced things like adding your own training materials or creating an online resource for your employees. If you can, find out what training software your competitors are using. You’ll get a good idea of what software is effective in meeting their goals. Also look at customer reviews to find out what people are saying about the software before you buy.

Not Including It in Change Management Process

Your employee training plan should always be included in a larger change management process. Even if you are only training new employees, you are instituting a small change process that involves adding new staff and acclimating them to the company culture and its processes. If you are training all employees on new processes, you are enacting a larger change process that involves changing your procedures, getting new equipment, or possibly adding new products and services. You definitely need to include this training as part of a coordinate change management plan.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.