5 Steps to Design an Employee Training Plan

Marina Agranionih

Training employees and constantly improving their skill sets can positively affect their performance and the company’s bottom line. In fact, companies that regularly train their employees experience higher employee retention, and higher profits, than companies that forgo employee training.

An employee training plan for new or existing employees can help you streamline the training process, increase employee engagement, and set a roadmap for constant evaluation and analysis. To create a robust training plan, consider factors such as the type of training, the training objectives, and how you’ll deliver the training.

Types of employee training programs

There are many types of employee training plans, and you must understand what type of training will be most effective in a particular situation.

InternalCustomizable sessions with information delivered by existing staff or dedicated departments
OutsourcedInformation delivered by subject matter experts who can provide a fresh perspective
Classroom-styleHigh-level, objective information delivered to large groups
Workshop-styleDynamic subjects or ideas that require brainstorming, creativity, and teamwork; great for role-playing techniques
In-personPromoting interactivity, soft-skill training sessions or creative training
VirtualIntroductory courses that will be further detailed down the line, and self-training sessions
IndividualTrainees with a flexible training schedule to work on hard-skills such as coding, web design, or analytic
GroupSoft-skills and team building; interactive nature of group training makes it a great way to enhance the performance of an entire department
Skills-basedHard-skills for new hires or employees who need to patch-up skill gaps
ManagementSoft-skills such as communication, managing people, conflict resolution, and decision-making
New-hireOrientation/onboarding new employees or transferees

Internal vs. outsourced

First, decide whether you will conduct training internally—with a dedicated department or existing staff—or if you will use the services of a specialized third party. Deciding factors may include: your training objective(s), your budget, and the resources you can dedicate to the training. Both internal and external training have pros and cons, and your choice will have an impact on your ROI.

Internal training requires more preparation. You must select trainers, decide on subjects, create the content, and find a suitable location. Nevertheless, internal training gives you the advantage of being able to customize your sessions so you’re sure to provide employees with the information they need in the time they have. It also helps you create a sustainable roadmap for similar training to use in the future. 

One drawback is that internal training presented by your staff is limited to their own knowledge, so be sure they don’t stray too far from their area of expertise; they may, unbeknownst to the company or trainees, deliver subpar information.

External training has the advantage of information delivered by subject matter experts who can provide a fresh perspective. Keep in mind, however, most external training sessions usually follow a template regardless of the nature of trainees or their business, and customizing training sessions to your exact need may not be an option. External training may prove costly in the long run, so keep an eye on your budget as well.

Classroom-style vs. workshop-style

If you’re going to deliver high-level, objective information to large groups, classroom training may be ideal because it does not require many resources; all you need is a room and a projector.

When it comes to more dynamic subjects or ideas that require brainstorming, creativity, and teamwork, workshop-style training usually is the way to go. While workshop training requires more preparation and resources, it is useful for conveying soft skills to smaller teams in an interactive way. Workshops can be extremely useful when guiding employees through creative exercises, or when trying to improve customer service using role-playing techniques. They are more customizable than classroom sessions, but may also require a bigger budget.

In-person vs. virtual training

In-person employee training is a great way to promote interactivity, arguably better for soft-skill training sessions and creative training. It does require scheduled training sessions, which can be difficult on a larger scale; finding a perfect time upon which everyone agrees can be challenging. And, in some situations—such as the current Coronavirus pandemic—requiring all parties to be physically present can be problematic.

Virtual training can be done anytime and anywhere; however, it does lack a personal touch, and many trainers struggle to connect with an audience, preventing them from expanding on certain matters in real-time. Virtual training may be the right approach for high-level, conceptual information, or for introductory courses that will be further detailed down the line. It can be a good choice for self-training sessions, as the abundance of amazing material online can allow employees to hone their skills on their own schedule.

Individual vs. group training

Individual training provides trainees with a flexible training schedule to work on hard skills such as coding, web design, or analytics. One drawback is the lack of multiple perspectives, so individual training may work better for scientific or rigid subjects.

The interactive nature of group training makes it a great way to enhance the performance of an entire department or team. While group training does allow multiple perspectives and thoughts to be shared, information may be lost due to the hectic nature of some sessions, so use it for soft skills and dynamic subjects.

Skills-based training vs. management training

Maintaining constant upskilling of your staff is crucial for both staff retention and the success of your company. You’ll want to prepare your best performers for management positions to ensure the continuity of success.

Skill-based training can help new hires—or employees transferred between departments or physical locations—hit the ground running. This type of training is a great way to patch-up hard-skills gaps. For example, if you need to eliminate errors in your finance department, skill-based training can help you do exactly that.

Management training is more concerned with soft skills such as communication, managing people, conflict resolution, and decision-making. Management training can boost employee engagement, identify future leaders, and ensure you have capable people managing your departments. 

New-hire training

Everyone gets the jitters starting a new job, and new-hire training can give new employees a sense of control. No one likes to ask how the printer works on their first day, so it is up to you to make sure their onboarding is smooth and streamlined. Here are a few subjects to consider when creating an onboarding training plan:

  • Company overview: Provide new hires with additional information about what the company does, its mission, vision, values, organizational structure, communication lines, and department layouts.
  • Policy training: Provide policy training as soon as possible for new hires, allowing them to understand the do’s, do nots, leave types, and employee evaluation processes.
  • IT: No one likes to struggle to set up their email or hardware, so providing them with detailed explanations, checklists, guidelines, and all relevant setup information is imperative to help them settle in.
  • Benefits: Review an employee’s benefits package right from the start to answer any lingering questions they may have.
  • Safety & security training: Employees want to feel safe, so review the company safety regulations and explain visitor rules and cybersecurity measures.
  • Role-specific training: Discuss the job description, department hierarchy, team member roles, and relevant KPIs.

Employee training checklist: 5 steps to an effective employee training plan

In order to create a resilient and effective employee training plan, there are five important things to do:

Evaluate and document your specific needs

Before creating a plan, evaluate and document your needs to understand exactly why the training is needed: What is missing? What are the goals, or outcomes, you expect to achieve?

The need usually stems from:

  • Underperformance, or
  • a need to be proactive and/or build upon a strong foundation

For instance, if you were to create a training plan for employees in the marketing department, a basic evaluation or analysis might look like this:

Q: Why do we need this? 
A: The marketing department takes too long to resolve requests.
Q: What’s missing? 
A: Communication skills and analytical skills are both subpar.
Q: What do we hope to achieve? 
A: Streamlining all marketing operations, elevating the level of communication within the marketing department, and enhancing analytical abilities.

Now, you have a clear vision of what your employee training should include, why, and how it can address the problem.

2. Set goals and objectives for the training

Setting practical goals and objectives for training is a way to use a data-driven approach to calculate the success of a training session. In the example above, goals might be:

  • Marketing employees take 30% less time to address marketing requests
  • Marketing analysts produce reports that are more comprehensive and accurate

By setting clear goals, you can then measure the effect of the training session.

3. Design an employee training action plan

An action plan allows you to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, making sure every part of the training experience is optimized for the trainers and the trainees. The type of training, the setting, the content, and the materials will affect the outcome and the ROI. Create an outline and decide how to promote the training session(s) to the relevant parties.

4. Execute the employee training program

Now it is time to set a schedule and invite the trainees. Make sure someone from IT is present to deal with any technical issues that may arise, especially if the training sessions are conducted virtually. When training is underway, monitor employee progress; advancement in the training session is vital to its effectiveness and to employee engagement.

5. Evaluate the employee training program

When training is concluded, continue to monitor and evaluate the trainees to see if your goals and objectives are met. Collect employee feedback to see how they benefited from the training, and document any suggestions to improve or amend future sessions. 

Standardize and automate the employee training process with Pipefy

With so much to consider, evaluate and analyze, creating an employee training plan can seem daunting. But, you can make the process simple and effective by standardizing and automating many of the steps needed to create and execute an employee training plan.

  • Standardize: Customize a form and build self-service portals to collect all the necessary information such as the department, the type of training, the documentation of needs, goals, and outcomes,  so you can expedite the process and avoid any rework and errors.
  • Automate: Automate the process to save valuable time and resources, as well as ensure that all data and updates afforded to the stakeholders in the training process are accurate, so everyone knows what to do next.
  • Connect: Centralize and connect workflows such as hiring, employee training, onboarding, performance evaluation, and offboarding while simultaneously integrating relevant departments such as HR, IT, and finance to ensure an optimized, streamlined, and mistake-proof handoff process

Employee training is just one part of a first-class HR department. Pipefy can help your team provide top-notch digital experiences with self-service HR. Increase team productivity with no-code automation, and enable leaders to show higher ROI through custom workflows. Start managing reliable, efficient processes today with a free trial of Pipefy.

Written by
Marina Agranionih
HoneyBadger from the Curitiba office, she is responsible for the Culture and Endomarketing at Pipefy's People Team.

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