Regular training and development for all members of staff should be an integral part of your business culture.
Training is good for everyone. It helps you stay ahead of your competitors by keeping up with the latest developments in your sector. It’s good for staff retention, as it means that nobody will ever feel like they’re in a dead-end job. It’ll help you attract top talent, as people want to work for businesses that care about their ongoing development. And as it can improve job satisfaction, it’s a major contributor to employee wellbeing.
But you should never offer training and development for the sake of it. You need to offer the sort of training that’s actually going to make a difference.
So how can you identify your employees’ training and development needs? In this post, we’ll look at a few ways you can find and fill skill gaps in your business.
1. Understanding Your Employee Training and Development
First, understand that any training you offer your employees will fall into one of three categories:
Industry Training – This could involve helping employees get up to speed on new products, processes, or equipment.
Job Training – The sort of training that helps employees do their job better. This could be sales training for call center staff, or health and safety training for warehouse staff.
Personal Development – Train the person behind the role. This could involve emotional intelligence training, mental health first aid training, leadership skills, and anything else that could make an employee more resilient overall.
Not all employees will need all types of training. But how do you find out just what your business and your employees need?
2. Talk to Your Employees
It’s always good to talk.
We’ve previously explored how talking to your employees can help you optimize many aspects of your business, from mental health issues to long-term sickness absence, to your employee rewards scheme.
Similarly, if you want to know what sort of training your employees need, all you have to do is ask.
Schedule a friendly chat with every member of your team. Make it clear that it’s not a performance review, but ask them if there’s an area of their role that they feel is lacking. Ask them if they have any comments about your current training program, and whether they feel that it supports their career goals.
At the same time, you need to gather feedback from any managers and supervisors about the employees they oversee. Do they feel there are any skill gaps? You can also ask employees to rate their managers for performance.
You’ll gather a lot of feedback, and you’ll very likely spot patterns. The recurring themes in the feedback will effectively signpost the sort of training you need.
3. Set Clear Expectations and Goals
For every member of your team, you need to go beyond the job description. You need to set clear responsibilities, expectations, and goals for everyone in your business. This will make it easier for you to measure everyone’s performance.
And when it comes to measuring performance, you may need an attitude shift. You’re not measuring performance in order to catch out and reprimand employees. You’re doing it as a means of supporting them.
Are they in a position to do their job to the best of their abilities? If performance is lacking, is there any training or development that might help improve performance?
4. Create Personal Development Plans
This is an integral part of job satisfaction, staff retention, and employee engagement. Developing a personal development plan for every member of their team will make them feel like you’re actively invested in their success – which will make them feel more invested in your business. But personal development plans can also help you to identify any training requirements.
You need to routinely discuss personal development with your employees. You need to set goals and review them. Ask employees how they feel things are going. If they struggled to meet a goal, or if they didn’t quite hit their targets, perhaps some training will help?
5. Conduct Organisational, Task, and Work Analysis
An organizational analysis should answer the question – what are your business goals, and what are your strategies for achieving them?
This should be followed by task analysis. Which tasks need to be completed in order to meet these business goals?
Finally, there should be a work analysis. What does everyone do all day? Is any time being spent on tasks that perhaps aren’t so pressing? Could you divert any resources to ensure that you’re working towards achieving your organizational goals?
A series of analyses will help you to identify universal training needs. For example, you may find that some members of the team are spread too thin. Training an additional employee to take on some of their responsibilities will help relieve the pressure.
The CIPD calls this the RAM model – that means your focus is on Relevance, Alignment, and Measurement. The idea is that training and development do not become a rigid box-ticking exercise. Rather, it’s aligned with your business objectives and organizational requirements, and all learning is linked to your desired business outcomes.
6. Leverage Systems and Software
There are many online learning and development tools out there. Some are more effective than others. So before you invest in any training tools for your team, make sure they’ll offer the sort of training that aligns with your goals. Read reviews, gather feedback, and ask for a trial before you fully invest.
Incidentally, our absence management software can help you to identify training needs for your organization. Our employee database feature will give you a clear overview of where every member of your team is placed, which may help you to spot areas where additional training could make things more efficient for everyone.