For better results, individualise your training programme says Jennifer C. Loftus.
When we first enter school, there’s usually a general curriculum that all students must follow. Only in high school and beyond does more customised schooling come in, providing the opportunity to pick classes or a major that reflects individual talents and goals.
This type of personalised learning and development is a valuable way to grow unique skills and ensure each person lives up to their potential. This same thought process can apply to your employee management and training processes.
Historically, collective training was the go-to for new employees. Its goal is to take the skillsets needed for the specific position and relay them to the relevant audience all at once. However, this fails to take into account the nuances and unique considerations of each individual.
Individualised employee training plans are more tailored to the needs of the employee and can ensure increased personal development and work productivity. While the benefits are clear, it is difficult to envision how individual training can be scalable for larger or growing organisations.
This guide is here to help you begin exploring individual employee training and more personalised learning opportunities, focusing on these two topics:
- Advantages of individual employee training
- Individual employee training program best practices
Advantages of Individual Employee Training Plans
Individual employee training plans dive deep into each team member’s goals, their roles within the organisation, and how they specifically can increase the value they generate. This way, it’s much easier to focus on personal development and flesh out individual ways that each member can contribute more effectively and move up within the organisation.
Whether your employee training lasts a week, an entire month, or is ongoing, meeting on a regular basis ensures that training goes well and that you can answer any questions that come up.
In fact, one of the single largest drivers of employee recruitment and retention is personal development. Without ample career development opportunities and other engaging experiences, you risk team members leaving for new opportunities.
Individual training shows workers that leadership is ready to invest in them for the long haul, presenting them with actionable next steps to grow in their roles. Thus, employees are more inclined to stick with your organisation.
Additionally, businesses are now publicly judged and reviewed based on their working conditions and cultures. Websites like Glassdoor and Indeed are popular resources and often the first place that prospective employees will look.
Individual training plans can bolster these reviews, providing specific positive experiences to refer to. This generates a stronger culture and ensures your organisation looks attractive to recruits. In addition to prioritising personal development and thus driving retention and recruitment rates, individual training plans can:
- Foster individuality. Your individual training plans help grow unique skills that not every employee has.
- Ensure variety and innovation. With more employees giving their all to their roles there is a higher chance of forging new processes that combine unique experiences and individual talents.
- Improve job perception and productivity. Individual training plans can help employees perceive their jobs in relation to their own unique skillsets. Additionally, being mindful of whether the individual learns better through different methods or under different circumstances will in turn increase productivity within roles.
- Help pinpoint individual weaknesses and strengths. Personalised training requires you to dive deep into each individual’s weaknesses and strengths, and figure out the best way to prepare them for their role. This also presents an opportunity to identify a team member’s knowledge status and skill gaps.
Your employees are the essential gears that keep your organisation running. However, excellent employees can’t be excellent without training. Individualised training programs are now increasingly popular across sectors as organisations recognise the long-term benefits they provide for both employee engagement and their bottom lines via decreased churn.
Individual employee training plan best practices
As mentioned earlier, there are challenges to consider. How can you implement personalised learning for all of your employees, especially if you’re a larger organisation or rapidly growing?
In order to make individual training more scalable, implement a dedicated program development process. To help you determine that process, here are some best practices to follow, presented in the core stages of developing and implementing a training program.
Preparing the training program
As you prepare to launch an individual training program, here are some essentials you need:
- Extremely detailed and accurate job descriptions and expectations for each employee. Additionally, organisational objectives and values also must be clear for each role.
- Specific areas that the individual employee can improve on, as well as their unique skill sets and talents.
- A reliable set of metrics for assessment and a solid communication plan that works for each employee. This helps structure how you’ll give feedback.
- Resources or steps that you’ll be using, including elearning platforms, seminars, job rotation, mentoring programs, or job shadowing.
- The technology, procedures, and tools you’ll use for assessment and for monitoring performance.
It helps to have a dedicated performance management system for this entire process. According to this guide to performance management software, your solution can provide an organisational chart for you to refer to, allow you to set job descriptions for each role at your business, as well as offer tools that track areas of growth to better determine promotional opportunities.
Implementing the training programme
At this point, you’ll have the resources you need to execute the plan. You should have knowledge of the employee and their role within your organisation. Use your performance management system to centralise employee data so that you can easily refer to it during the program and offer even more personalised feedback.
On top of these elements, you need to follow a consistent training schedule. Whether your employee training lasts a week, an entire month, or is ongoing, meeting on a regular basis ensures that training goes well and that you can answer any questions that come up.
Remember also to keep track of the performance metrics you set earlier. Your management solution should keep tabs on these data points to confirm that the training is working. These metrics should be specific to the job role to help gauge the success of the individual being trained and of your new process in general.
Evaluating the training program
After the training program ends, likely with some sort of final assessment, both the employer and employee should be able to determine the efficacy.
This helps you improve individual training programs as you continue to implement them. Take a look at those performance metrics you set earlier. Did the employee meet the goals, or were they lacking in a specific area?
This should be clear to not only you as the management leader but to the employee as well. If your employee ends the training program unsure of whether it helped, then it likely didn’t work.
Your performance management solution will be able to offer more concrete insights. It should link each job role to the metrics involved in the training program and provide evaluation points. And, if success in the training factors into your pay and compensation decisions, your performance management platform can determine raises or bonuses based on those points.
Individual training is not an easy feat, especially if you want to implement it for every one of your team members. However, your employees will thank you for it and ultimately bring more value to your organisation.
While each training plan is unique to the individual, establishing set procedures for implementing the program helps to simplify the process. And the more you conduct individualised training, the more data you’ll generate, making it easy to continually refine your approach over time. Good luck!
About the author
Jennifer C. Loftus is a Founding Partner of and National Director for Astron Solutions, a compensation consulting firm.