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How to scale your training and development programs


5 min read

How to scale your training and development programs

Nikki Thorpe

Nikki Thorpe

Aug 18, 2017


    How to scale your training and development programs

    As your company grows or you start to open franchises, the challenges you face will become exponentially greater.

    Not only do you need new ways of managing employee schedules, juggling more complicated books and ensuring that you’re always fully stocked and ready for customers, you have to train all the new hires that come with growth.

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    Scaling training and development programs can pose a significant challenge to a growing business, but it’s an absolute necessity.

    Only about 40 percent of employees today feel that they really have opportunities to learn and grow at work, according to a recent poll by Gallup. The polling company predicts that if that number were to double, companies would see about 44 percent less absenteeism, 41 percent fewer safety incidents and 16 percent higher productivity. That means real dollars and cents to your business, both in the long- and short-term, simply by properly scaling your employee training programs!

    Always begin and end with measurements

    It seems like every business, both big and small, is being encouraged to collect more and more data on their customers and employees. It might feel like overkill, but the truth is that you really have no idea if what you’re doing for training and development is even working if you don’t know where your people started. This is why it’s so vital to assess and track development at regular intervals. For example, if you implement a training program for new hires, you might want to check in with them every 30, 60 and 90 days to see if that training did its job.

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    Don’t underestimate the value of data when it comes to improving training efficiency and ensuring that your programs are scaling properly. In the end, the goal is real human results that can be translated into improved work performance and, ultimately, improved return on your training investment. Using customer and manager surveys is just the beginning, you could also monitor items like order entry errors, absenteeism and upsell volume, just to name a few.

    Micro lessons can be simple and effective

    Micro learning is all the rage in today’s business environment, and for good reason. Simply by breaking up tedious training sessions, it may be easier for you to maintain the attention

    and focus of your employees. It also offers these benefits:

    • Improved Lesson Retention. According to Shift, an expert in the field of eLearning, micro learning makes lessons about 17 percent easier to retain as they travel from the learning environment to the field. In addition, these shorter lessons make it more likely that skills learned will be immediately applied instead of forgotten. If your employees can’t apply the lessons soon after learning them, chances are good that they’ll revert to behaviors that are less desired or poorer performance overall.
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    Micro lessons are 17 percent easier to retain

    • Employees Like It. Your employees want to be working, not spending hours in a classroom going over mundane training items. In fact, 58 percent would be far more willing to use online content training tools if they were broken up into small, five to seven minute modules. These mini-lessons would only cover one or two points at a time, but your workers would be able to pick up all the same skills as they would in an hours-long training in a classroom setting in smaller bites.
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    58 percent would more willing to use micro lessons

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    • Flexible and Easier to Maintain. When you’re trying to keep your training in house, it’s vital that you make decisions that will be easy to support long term. A complicated training with lots of slides or sections can be cumbersome to keep updated. These mini modules are easily updated and can be strung together to make longer trainings when you need them.

    Automate More, Stress Less

    Today’s immense computing power makes it possible to automate jobs that were once believed to require a human to perform properly. On the job training often falls into this category, especially if your training is specifically geared toward your own brand’s philosophies and how to apply them. There are several ways to automate training, but these are a great place to start:

    • Choose Adaptive ModulesStudents and employees alike tend to check out when they’re not being taught something new. That’s where adaptive learning can be so helpful. Instead of just being fed information and tested over it at the end of the lesson, adaptive modules assess the knowledge of the learner, then responds with content that’s new and different. It cuts the boredom down and can help increase overall engagement with learning tools, since they’re no longer considered time-wasters.
    • Build Computer Learning LibrariesSometimes, your employees are busy self-directing their education, but need a specific solution to a common problem or answer to a question. This is where learning libraries really shine. A lesson or document can be a single page or include lengthy presentations, as long as the information is easy to extract and the interface is intuitive. With the added power of chat bots, you could implement a virtual instructor who can answer basic questions with information pulled from the same library.
    • Use Better ToolsYou can’t always rely on workers to be able to self-train, sometimes you really do have to get a trainer or senior team member involved to demonstrate a skill or discuss an important topic that cannot be skipped. Even so, there’s a lot of this process that can be automated. For example, if you need to do a training for the entire team, creating a digital calendar that everyone can use to sign up for seats is a lot easier than going around and asking people individually. It’s better for employees, too, since they can look at the training schedule when they’re not in the middle of other tasks.

    Don’t forget the power of mentorship

    Although you can’t count on mentors in your scaling efforts, you can encourage these relationships to form between new employees and mid- to high-level staffers. Mentorship is an old and time-tested method of showing new people the ropes, helping them to truly understand the corporate culture, and above all else, feel encouraged and needed.

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    Only about three in 10 workers today feel like someone at work encourages their development, according to Gallup. The company predicts that if six out 10 felt so encouraged, organizations like yours would realize significant improvements in several areas:

    Improvement in customer engagement:

    Six percent

    Improvement in profitability:

    11 percent

    Reduction in absenteeism:

    28 percent

    Furthermore, if eight in 10 employees felt like someone at work cared about them as a person, safety incidents would drop by 32 percent and absenteeism by 41 percent.

    There are many great ways to scale your business training and development programs with the various tech tools available today. No matter if you’d prefer to try micro lessons or simply automate more traditional types of training, make sure that you develop trainings that are appropriate for your company and your workforce. Canned trainings are quick and sometimes very inexpensive, but can be less successful for growing businesses like yours.

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