Workplace training E-learning

7 minute read

Designing Courses to Skyrocket Employee Development

Mark Bentcover

Mark Bentcover

Profit and market share are important measures of success. However, world-class companies understand that they need to focus on the development needs of their employees to accomplish this.

When you improve your employees’ hard and soft skills, you position your company to improve its current market performance as well as its ability to adapt to changes in the market. Simply put, the training and development of an organization’s employees not only improves the individual, but also the whole.

Here, we’ll focus on how to best enhance employee performance through training and development.

Development needs of an employee

Development needs of an employee

Emotional intelligence measures a person’s ability to perform. The DIKW (Data Information Knowledge Wisdom) model has been widely used in education circles for decades. 

We can use this model to demonstrate how best to recognize an employee’s training needs in order to maximize their abilities. An expected outcome of this training is both improved performance and personal growth (Rowley, 2007).

One key point that needs to be considered in training is that one size does not fit all. Training plans have to consider not only the content and context of the information and skills being taught but also the different learning styles of the student. 

For purposes of simplicity and clarity, we’ll focus on the 4-style model (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing) as designed by Neil Fleming in 1987 (Malvik, 2020).

What does the training need to address?

1. Understand the job description.

Employees have roles and responsibilities. In the best of times, these are clearly and simply captured in their job description. However, quite often, the job description and what someone actually does can be quite different.

Efforts should be taken to remedy this situation, but for the purposes of identifying training needs, we need to look at what a person actually does (daily work) and what the company expects of them (performance measures).

In his foundational organization development work, Work Redesign, Richard Hackman asserts that it’s the responsibility of the trainer to understand the employee’s daily work (Hackman, 1980).

So the job description needs to be confirmed and captured as a first step to identifying the training needs of the individual.

Development needs of an employee

2. Identify potential skill gaps.

Once the roles and responsibilities are known and confirmed, a baseline of performance from the organization’s perspective needs to be established. This will help identify the skill gaps as determined by the expectation compared with actual performance.

Next, the person(s) developing the training plan will need to work with each individual and capture what challenges they have in performing the work. These challenges will address both what the employee wishes they were better at doing and what the business requires them to do better. This will help identify the skill gaps from the employee’s perspective.

3. Capture skill gaps and performance needs.

One aspect of Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is that any observer can and will affect the event. This holds true for identifying skill gaps too. In an effort to reduce the influence of a single observer, we need to leverage all three perspectives (the business, the employee, the trainer) combined with coworkers.

The trainer should observe the employee in action and speak with the employee’s coworkers if possible. The coworkers chosen should have the same job role, suppliers, and customers. By marrying all of these perspectives, a clear and robust identification of skill gaps will result.

4. Define barriers to performance.

With skill gaps in hand, the content of the training plan can be established. With any educational process, the context, style, and application must be considered in order to best serve the organization and the individual.

One of the greatest expenses to any organization is hiring and developing a new employee. Employee Benefit News (EBN) reports that it can cost upwards of one-third of an employee’s salary to replace them. Also, many studies have shown that the vast majority of employee turnover is preventable (Bolden-Barrett, 2017).

One major area where businesses can prevent turnover is contributing to an employee’s personal growth through training, development, and reward for improved performance.

Instructor-led and online training can address the initial content needs, but on-the-job training and mentoring/coaching are needed to lock in and improve skills.

Even with the four training methods mentioned above, the learning style of the employee should be considered. If a customized plan is not possible for each individual, the training can be designed so that it meets the needs of all four styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing).

Development needs of an employeeWith all of these things in hand (job description, skill gaps, performance expectations, and learning styles), the action plan can be defined.

It's shown that when all of these things are taken into consideration, the time between training and application is the single biggest predictor of both performance improvement and personal development.

5. Develop a personal development plan together.

Once a partnership between the trainer, the business leaders, and the employee is established, the content (the what), the context and style (the how), and the schedule (the when and the where) can be put into place. The personal development plan captures the who, what, where, when, and how and rolls them into a solution that benefits the employee and the organization. 

Conclusion: putting it all together

Training employees can be difficult. Combining knowledge, experience, and expertise can help you increase your organization’s performance, contribute to your employees’ personal development, and strengthen your company’s ability to increase market share (current and future).

GoSkills already has material designed to align with different learning styles, training practices, and the development of human potential. 

By using GoSkills’ Learning Management System, you can leverage content that is already established and tested. This, in turn, will improve the bottom line through improved performance, developing and retaining the best workforce, and reducing the time between training and application. Contact GoSkills today for your employee training needs.

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Rowley, Jennifer (2007). The wisdom hierarchy: Representations of the DIKW hierarchy. Journal of Information Science 33: 163-180.

Malvik, Callie (8/17/2020). 4 Types of Learning Styles: How to Accommodate a Diverse Group of Students. Rasmussen.edu/degreees/education/blog/types-of-learning-styles

Hackman, J. Richard (1980) Work Redesign. Pearson FT Press, NJ

Bolden-Barrett, Valerie (August 11, 2017) https://www.hrdive.com/news/study-turnover-costs-employers-15000-per-worker/449142/

Mark Bentcover

Mark Bentcover

Mark Bentcover's purpose in life is to help people solve problems and leverage opportunities. He does this by drawing on his experiences making movies, composing and recording music, performing improv and stand-up comedy, and working as an engineer, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and trainer.