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What does a typical day look like for your employees?
If you’re like a lot of employers, your team probably shows up in the morning, grabs their morning cups of coffee, and heads to their desks—where they’ll spend the rest of their days cranking through their to-do lists (between attending the occasional meeting, of course).
Your staff is productive. But, ask yourself this: are they growing?
No, not growing in a sense of size, but are they growing professionally? Do they have the opportunity to try their hand at new experiences, pick up new skills, and expand their knowledge?
If you can’t confidently answer that question with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” it’s probably time that you look into corporate training programs and the numerous advantages they can offer to your company.
What is corporate training?
Here’s the most straightforward definition: Corporate training captures the efforts you make to support the professional development of your employees through organized programs or activities.
It’s synonymous with other terms that are popular in the employment landscape, such as “professional development opportunities,” “learning programs,” “learning and development initiatives,” and even “learning culture.”
When you make resources available for your employees to hone new skills and expand their knowledge during their working hours, you’re offering corporate training. As an article for Wyzowl explains, these resources can take shape in many different forms, including (but certainly not limited to):
- Instructor-led classroom training
- Interactive methods (like small group discussions or demonstrations)
- Hands-on training
- Computer-based and e-learning training
- Video training
- Coaching and mentoring
Of course, corporate training is also used to educate employees on the formal policies and procedures of your specific organization (such as your sexual harassment or workplace bullying policies).
But, as learning and development has become such a point of focus in a competitive hiring environment, the term has since expanded to capture any and all structured learning opportunities you make available.
Why is corporate training important?
Your staff is busy, and it can be hard to imagine piling more onto their plates. Why should corporate training be at the top of your priority list when there’s so much else that needs to get done? How can corporate training benefit an organization?
As it turns out, making these training opportunities available to your employees offers numerous advantages for your entire company.
1. Corporate training boosts the knowledge of your workforce
This first one is pretty obvious: when you give employees the chance to learn new skills, solidify best practices, master new pieces of software, and more, they’re equipped with the information and tools they need to do their job better.
Your employees will feel empowered, and you’ll have a smarter, more efficient, and even more productive workforce. In fact, an IBM study found that well-trained teams can lead to a 10% increase in productivity.
2. Corporate training improves employee engagement
The more your employees feel like another cog in the wheel, the less motivated they’ll be to do their best work. By investing in corporate training and learning opportunities, you prove that you want to support their growth and development as professionals.
In turn, that improves their engagement and commitment to your organizational goals. One report found that 52% of high-engagement companies have employees who spend an average of 31-50 hours learning per year, compared to only 20% of low-engagement companies.
3. Corporate training reduces employee turnover
What’s one of the biggest risks of low engagement? High turnover. When employees don’t feel valued or invested in, they run for the hills—or worse, for your competitors.
That same IBM study found that employees who don’t feel that an organization is providing the development they need are 12 times more likely to leave for another opportunity than those who say they’re receiving enough training.
How to develop a corporate training program: 6 tips to keep in mind
You’re convinced of the importance of creating a corporate training program to boost quality and productivity, increase engagement, and keep your top talent around.
But, good intentions aside, actually building the program is an entirely separate hurdle. Here are six important tips to keep in mind as you begin pulling these learning resources and opportunities together.
1. Determine your needs
There’s no shortage of corporate training opportunities that you could offer. With such a variety available, your smartest starting point is to figure out what your employees need.
Do you have a significant skill gap on your team? Is there a certain program or piece of software that everybody has been struggling with? Those are issues that you could address with a more formalized corporate training program.
Remember to involve your employees in this discovery process. Ask them what they’d be eager to learn (whether that’s through a survey or an informal conversation), so that you can develop programs that support them best.
2. Set your learning objectives
There are plenty of advantages attached to corporate training, but you still shouldn’t offer it just because. These initiatives should move the needle for your organization, and in order to accurately track your progress, you’ll need to have some success metrics attached to them.
For each training that you offer, ask yourself this: What’s our goal in offering this?
Keep in mind that your objectives can differ for each learning opportunity. You just don’t want to skip the step of actually establishing them, so you can ensure you’re taking steps in the right direction.
3. Decide on your delivery methods
As mentioned previously, there are tons of different options for delivering training. You could offer an in-person seminar with guest speakers, or you could create an online course that employees can fit into their own schedule.
When you’ve landed on a training program that you know you want to offer, evaluate what delivery method will work best for that content. This is another area where you could poll your employees to get their insight on what they’d prefer.
You’ll likely want to use a mix of delivery methods for your various learning opportunities (you don’t need to stick with just one!). Different content lends itself to different mediums, and that flexibility will help keep things fresh.
4. Promote your learning opportunities
Learning opportunities can be a huge benefit to your employees—provided they actually know that those opportunities exist.
This shouldn’t be guesswork. Your employees should be able to easily identify, find, and access the training that you’ve made available.
Make sure to actively promote those programs in your team meetings, your company intranet, instant message channels, and more so that employees don’t miss out on chances to expand their skill sets (especially if you’re offering a live training that can’t be accessed later!).
5. Dedicate time for training and development
Imagine that you make these programs and resources available. Yet, nobody seems to be taking advantage of them.
Before you start scratching your head, think about whether or not you’ve actually given your employees the time to make use of what you’re offering. If their plates are still full with daily work tasks and emergencies, how are they going to be able to devote adequate time to learning and development?
According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, time is the number one reason that employees feel held back from learning. So, if you truly want to prioritize professional development, you need to be prepared to dedicate a chunk of the calendar to it.
Exactly what this looks like can vary. Maybe you’ll choose one full day per month when work obligations are put on the back burner and learning takes precedence. Or, perhaps you’ll opt for a few hours every Wednesday. The important thing is to make sure that you’re penciling in adequate time—otherwise training will continue to be low on the priority list.
6. Lead by example
Offering training programs is a great first step, but you’ll still be hard-pressed to get employees to leverage them if learning isn’t a core part of your culture.
There isn’t a quick fix for this, as shifting your company culture will require long-term effort. However, one of the best things you can start doing immediately is leading by example.
Make sure that you’re dedicating time to your own development and openly sharing with your team what you’re learning. The more they see you dedicating hours and energy to those initiatives, the more inclined they’ll be to do the same.
What to look for in a corporate training solution
Leveling up your company’s corporate training can feel like an overwhelming undertaking, but technology can help make it easier.
There are plenty of corporate training solutions and software options out there (the GoSkills LMS is one of them!) to help you organize content, track progress, and engage your employees in the process.
Of course, with so many options out there, it can be difficult to figure out which training solution can best meet your needs.
What key things should you be looking for when evaluating your choices? Here are a few ideas.
1. Easy access and organization
Consider this your golden rule: the easier your solution is to use, the more likely employees are to actually do so. Your learning software shouldn’t be cumbersome or complex. It needs to be user-friendly—the last thing you want to do is provide training on how to access training.
2. Detailed tracking and reporting
It’s not that you want to monitor every single step your employees take, but it is helpful to get the lowdown on things like what courses have been completed, the time it takes to complete them, what tests have been taken, what certificates have been earned, and more.
Look for a program that makes it easy for you to access this sort of reporting, so that you can measure the effectiveness of your training programs (and make adjustments as necessary!).
3. Flexible training assignments
Not every training you offer is going to be useful or necessary for everyone within your company. That’s why your software should have the flexibility to assign different courses to different teams or people.
That way, it’s easy for everyone to immediately understand what learning opportunities are highly relevant (or even mandatory) for them.
The GoSkills LMS offers all of these features (and more!). Find out more here.
Is corporate training worth it? You bet
Gone are the days when employees were willing to simply show up, punch in, and crank through their work tasks in exchange for only a paycheck.
Today’s talent wants to know that their employers care about them personally and professionally, and investing in their growth and development is a surefire way to prove that.
Building a corporate training program is a more formalized way to get that point across. Use this article as your guide, and you’ll continue fostering a team that’s productive, engaged, and committed to your organization!
Start training your team today with the GoSkills LMS. The GoSkills LMS makes it easy for you to support your employees' learning and development, quickly creating customized training programs in a matter of clicks.