In today’s competitive, constantly changing business world, employees make or break a company. One of the best ways to help them, and the company, is through professional development programs. Training keeps employee skills current, enhances productivity and promotes growth — all of which contribute to job satisfaction and loyalty. In fact, in LinkedIn Learning’s 2019 workplace learning survey, 94% of employees said they’d remain longer with a company that invested in their learning and development.

The first step in developing an effective training program is identifying the skills necessary for success and determining whether there are knowledge gaps. Then, through dialogue with staff, you can set goals for advancement. By helping employees hone their skills, you can make them more engaged in their work, the LinkedIn report shows.

Many organizations reskilling for digital transformation are pouring money into training, only to realize that it’s not working. Instead of seeing results, they’re seeing blank stares from bored employees beset by PowerPoint fatigue.

What makes training effective? How do you determine whether your program needs fine-tuning or even an overhaul? Here are some ideas on how to measure, manage and accelerate training performance.

Take a Hard Look at Your Programs

Don’t assume the training methods you’ve always used will continue to work. Needs and attitudes have changed, and your approach has to reflect those changes. Conduct an audit of your programs to see which are most and least popular. Check the number of enrollments, time from enrollment to completion, drop rates, employee feedback and other statistics.

Data alone isn’t enough, though; ask participants what they think. Is the content still relevant? Is the format of the presentation engaging? Are you promoting the program adequately? You may find that some programs are fine as they are, others need updating or supplementary material, and some should be dropped.

Make Training Accessible and Engaging

Training programs cannot be successful if participants aren’t engaged. Time and place matter; training works best when it’s available when and where employees can use it, whether that’s at headquarters, at a branch office, on the road or at home. Deliver online training to provide this anywhere, anytime access.

You also have to play to your audience. Gamification can vastly improve participation, for example; hands-on training based on real-world scenarios increases retention, and adding challenges for participants to solve can inject fun.

Consider using a purpose-built cloud platform that can accommodate complex environments, automate administrative tasks, and provide tools for tracking and metrics for insights. Look for features like over-the-shoulder monitoring, which enables virtual instructors to help struggling users.

Assess How Well It’s Working

The job isn’t done once you’ve launched a new, improved program. You have to see whether it works, which requires ongoing monitoring and reporting. Track platform use and learners’ progress. Determine whether they’ve gained knowledge or enhanced their skills, and see whether that learning translates into better performance or improved business results.

Further, ask learners what they thought of the training, either informally or through surveys. Motivate them by recognizing their achievements with credentials or certificates. To maximize return on investment (ROI), analyze key metrics, including costs, and then adjust as needed to make the most of your training resources.

Take Advantage of Technology

Managing training is a tall order, especially when there are learners in multiple locations. Scalability is also a challenge as training departments face growing pressure to do more with less. Fortunately, the right technical systems can help.

Software that can integrate systems into one platform enhances visibility and efficiency. It can streamline the process of rolling out and administering programs, minimizing manual involvement. Finally, access to detailed reports makes it easier to evaluate results and see where you need to make improvements.

Prove It’s Worth the Investment

The ability to accurately report the impact of training on the bottom line is critical to getting support from the C-suite. As Pat Durante, president of the Customer Education Management Association (CEdMA), a nonprofit that supports training leaders and professionals, recently told CloudShare, “Measuring the impact of training on business results has helped CEdMA members get the resources needed to build world-class training, badging and certification programs … Once you have the data, these are numbers that speak to the C-Suite in a language they understand and respect.”

The right training accelerates business success. Show leaders the proof, and you’ll gain their support.

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