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How to Implement an Employee Training Program your CEO will Love

£30,614 – the astounding cost for replacing an employee, according to an Oxford Economics study. Combine this financial impact with the negative effects a dismissal can have on office morale and employee training programs become all the more attractive. Employee training programs also embody a company culture that promotes longevity, an 'employee-first' mentality, and can serve as an important talking point when circumstances require new talent recruitment.

When an organisation sets out to deliver a comprehensive training program, it is crucial that the CEO not only give approval, but deeply believe in the content and its impact on business objectives. Here are 5 tips for delivering an employee training program CEOs will get behind.

  1. 1. Identified Champions

Champions can be effective, and are needed, at all seniority levels. A motivated employee can impact how seriously fellow colleagues take training. An engaged Department Head may be able to offer proprietary insight (and even in-house training) that an external agency may lack. Seeking and securing these champions will give leverage to building your case and help with long-term impact. Don’t forget to identify the growth needs of the champions themselves. Training can be impactful at all levels.  

  1. 2. Alignment with Company Goals

Just because your Creative Team wants to tap into the healing powers of sound therapy, doesn’t mean a workshop is in order (maybe a team building). Training should not be on a whim, but should focus on big picture, strategic goals that align with company values. Seeking employee input is essential and deciding which feedback to pursue is even more important. What makes the company competitive? What direction is the company heading? Answer these questions to check in with priorities.   

  1. 3. Skill Gap and Profit Loss Based

There are two aspects of employee performance that every CEO is concerned about; productivity and error-led profit or opportunity loss. Stagnant productivity may be a result of an unidentified skill gap. It’s management's job to compare business needs with the strengths and weaknesses of his or her teams.

Profit and opportunity loss caused by human error might also be related to a skill gap. Do members of your sales and procurement teams have the right communication and negotiation skills? Is your customer service team equipped with the right customer experience knowledge to retain customers? How about your marketing team? Do they understand how to best navigate the advertising platforms they’re using to save costs?

Identify skill gaps that are keeping employees from meeting their full potential or are missing entirely from your teams. Do you need to create a new roll, or can someone be trained into this missing piece? Where are human mistakes coming from and how does this impact profit loss? (wrong order shipment, missed RFP)

  1. 4. Measurable ROI

The cost difference between replacing an employee (£30,614) and training an employee (£1,068) is an argument unto itself, but a weak ROI case without supplementary measurements. Define goals that can be measured on multiple fronts; quantity, quality, time, cost and effectiveness. Considering adapting the Four Levels of Adaptation Model designed by Donald Kirkpatrick of the American Society for Training and Development.  

Reaction (stage 1) - ask employees first hand what they thought of their training. Was it relevant? Engaging? Consider this an exit survey that can be compared to other trainings.

Learning (stage 2) - this stage helps identify how much the skill gap has closed (on paper). Did the training meet the intended objectives? What do pre and post evaluation surveys demonstrate about participant’s knowledge and skill level.

Behavior (stage 3) - now it’s time to examine real world behavior and understand the longevity implications of the training. Are the learnings being applied to the everyday job?

Results (stage 4) - this is the most telling of measurable ROI, the tangible results the company has received, including reduced cost (less human-error), improved productivity (managers spend less time coaching), lower staff turnover (improved morale and company culture), increased profits and sales (more opportunities seized).

  1. 5.Training Reinforcement and Longevity

This ain't no Snapchat story. Effective training lives well beyond the course(s) itself and needs to be felt in business practices of the near and long-term future. Soft-skills like communication and critical thinking can be continuously honed through periodic workshops. Technological skill-needs are ever changing. Stay up to date with the needs of your graphic designers, marketers, developers, and other tech focused roles to understand their educational skill gaps as platforms evolve.

Leading universities like Oxford, MIT and Harvard, technology companies like Google, and marketing platforms like HubSpot offer free courses online to anyone interested. Keep the learning spirit alive and encourage employees to pursue a course they believe in. Additionally, set aside budget that allows key employees to attend relevant conferences and events that promote continuous education in their field.

Do you have experience implementing an employee training program? We want to hear about it? Share your story with us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

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