Continuous and relevant training are incredibly important components for a business' ultimate success. When undertaken properly, an effective training process enhances the skill levels of a workforce, raises morale, and increases the versatility and adaptability of employees.
The four phases in the HR training process are assessment, development, delivery, and evaluation. An effective training process is an ongoing cycle to continuously improve and enhance the workforce skill set, familiarise employees with company policies and behaviour, and update them for market changes to effectively and efficiently work towards the business' goals.
While it is important that training is a continuous process, it's not just a matter of going through the motions. If an organisation invests in the time and effort of training employees, the skills and learning objectives should be relevant and improve productivity so the business can maintain a competitive edge in the global market.
What is the Objective of HR training?
Board rooms around the world have borne witness to the popular adage, "There is always room for improvement." HR professionals will readily attest to this, particularly since they know that the training process is a continuous cycle. As Albert Einstein famously pronounced "Once you stop learning, you start dying." Training programs need to be able to improve or develop skills, motivate and retain employees, and cultivate a culture of innovation and development among a workforce.
A good training process gives employees the necessary tools to effectively do their jobs. It also helps them develop their skills and become valued members of their team. In effect, good training pays for itself because your organisation will benefit from greater productivity, more effective workers, a positive company culture, lower recruitment costs, and a healthier bottom line.
There are three main objectives of HR training:
- To improve employee awareness surrounding their job roles, the organisation, and their team, and familiarise them with company policies and expectations (this is especially relevant for new employees).
- To develop and sharpen specific skills, techniques, and knowledge which increase productivity and enable employees to perform a defined job role effectively.
- To increase employee confidence and morale so they can perform their job to the highest of their abilities (inclusion of employees in training empowers them to grow within the organisation).
The Four Core Phases of HR Training
The continuous training cycle begins in the Needs Assessment Stage or Phase. Line managers, HR personnel, and employees can collaboratively determine what the training needs of an organisation or unit are. Once the need for training is established, competency levels and skills gaps are assessed so that an appropriate training strategy can be determined.
A 'Training Needs Analysis' is performed with consideration of three perspectives: the individual, the role, and the organisation. This helps to identify the best training method based on the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the employee, the relevance to the role, and the specific organisational objectives so that appropriate training can be established.
In the Development Phase, specific relevant content and training materials are identified based on the objectives determined in the Assessment Phase. It is important that these objectives not only benefit the individual, but work towards the business goals as a whole. By creating specific and achievable objectives, relevant training materials become more readily apparent. Goal- or objective-driven training is more effective for learners since they have clearly defined outcomes that are attainable and even measurable.
In this stage, organisations also identify who is the best person to conduct the training and the manner in which it will be conducted. This includes choosing the location, the scheduling, the medium of instruction, and the metrics by which you will evaluate the success or failure of the training program.
Perhaps the most important phase of training is the actual content delivery. If you have completed the prior phases in assessing needs and developing the program with the objectives in mind, then the delivery should flow naturally from that process. Be mindful that there may be unexpected challenges in delivering a training program, so be prepared and have the flexibility to adjust to these challenges should they arise.
There are various factors that can affect the delivery of a training program including participant demographics, the training intervention, the individual attributes of the trainer and the trainees, the levels of competency of trainees, scheduling and participation hurdles, technology complications, and much more. These factors can make every training program different even if it's been delivered many times before, so the trainer has to be able to think on their feet and adjust as needed.
While many people overlook the value of the Evaluation Phase, it holds equal importance to every other stage leading up to it. What defines if a training program is a success? There are different methodologies to evaluate a training program which may vary depending on the industry, organisation, and profession.
One possibility is evaluating the productivity of the employees after training to determine if the training has been effective in achieving the intended objectives (i.e. bridging the competency gap, developing new skills, changing the attitudes, becoming familiar with workplace culture). Eliciting feedback from training participants is also often useful as it allows them to assess their own learning and provide employee perspectives on the relevance, value, and delivery of the training process.
If the need for additional training or the need to adjust aspects of the training program are identified, then these changes can be incorporated into subsequent trainings and the training process continues.
How do you Measure the Success of a Training Program?
There are various ways in which a training session can be evaluated. The more data you collect on measurable outcomes, the easier it will be to quantify your company's return on investment. Evaluate how the training has influenced the participants performance and delivery at work by using a combination of these methods:
- Self-assessment: Pre- and post- training questionnaires help to clarify expectations vs delivery
- Post-training quizzes or demonstrations
- One-on-one discussions
- Employee surveys
- Focus groups
- On-the-job observation, were the learners able to apply what they learned?
- Behaviour: Actual job performance key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Official certification exams
It is helpful to determine which performance evaluation methods you'll be using and what factors you'll be measuring during the development stage before training delivery begins.
How DISC can help Business Consultants
The fundamentals of business and personal success include being self-aware, as well as aware of your team's strengths and weaknesses, and working out strategies to take advantage of those strengths and improve on the weaknesses. Personality tests such as the DISC Profile are powerful tools to enlighten us as to our behavioural tendencies and preferences. A DISC Profile can provide unique, personalised insights and feedback in several formats to help us move towards more productive communication and relationships within the workplace.
A DISC Profile assesses an individual's personality traits and how they interact with the people around them. By utilising a DISC Profile, business consultants can analyse the personalities of team members and determine best practices to improve communication and increase productivity. For some companies they outsouce their HR needs to skilled consultants who can perform key functions of leadership development, team profiling, and workplace assessments.