How — and Why — to Track Your Employee Training Program
Training is a vital part of any business’s long-term growth plan. In fact, a study from the American Society for Training and Development found that organizations that invest the most in employee training have 218 percent higher income per employee.
And to make matters even better, employees actually want to be trained. In a 2017 Randstad US survey, 82 percent of employees said lifelong learning is important, 67 percent said they need more training and development opportunities from their employers.
But if you want to be sure that your training and development programs are actually delivering these kinds of results, you need to start by tracking employee progress. Otherwise, you won’t have any window into how things are going — and how they could be better.
How to Track Employee Training Progress
Every business leader wants to know whether the time, effort, and money being invested in a project is paying off — and that includes employee training. Training programs can generate tons of value for both your business and employees when done right.
You should never put employee training on autopilot! It’s important to be proactive with your efforts so you can make improvements on the fly to make training more engaging and more worth your while.
There are typically two ways to track your employee training: using a learning management system or doing it the old-fashioned way with a spreadsheet. Here is a brief overview of each:
1. Using a Learning Management System
A learning management system (LMS) is a tool employers can use to manage employee training programs. As an added bonus, most LMSs come with built-in tracking and reporting capabilities.
Here are the pros and cons of using an LMS to deliver and track employee development:
• Cost-effective due to remotely accessible nature — no need to pay for trainers or travel.
• Consistent training of employees across all locations.
• Contributes to continuous employee development because learning materials can be accessed regularly.
• Best used for compliance training, as LMSs can provide proof of course completion.
• Tracking is built into the LMS.
• When not used properly, LMSs can become more like administrative software to simply store videos, manuals, and training content, rather than dynamic training solutions. Studies show that employees can forget 70 percent of what they’ve within just a couple of days after taking a course on an LMS, suggesting many LMSs are not used to their full potential.
• An LMS is best used as a tool to deliver courses with a clearly defined goal, like compliance, security courses, or training about specific products and services.
• LMSs are not necessarily suitable for all work environments. For example, hourly workers in frontline industries cannot access job training through a desktop-focused LMS. Mobile-first solutions may work better for these types of employees.
• A company admin controls every aspect of training through an LMS, including content and pacing. Without autonomy over how they learn, employees may find LMS content dull and repetitive. Adaptability and end-user customization are particularly important for younger Gen. Z employees, who have come to expect a certain level of personalization from technology.
• Research proves that struggle and failure are critical components of the learning process, but many LMSs are centered around a more passive delivery system of watching videos and checking boxes, which may not be conducive to optimal learning.
• Reporting capabilities can vary from LMS to LMS. Some systems have robust tracking options, but others only track employee progress through simple scores that lack granular insight.
• An LMS may be expensive to scale as your company grows.
2. Using a Manual System
The second most common way for employers to track their employee training programs is through spreadsheets, like Excel. Manual tracking is an ideal solution if you only need a small amount of data, lack the budget for a more focused reporting software solution, or have no other options available
• Very easy to implement.
• Little to no overhead costs.
• No need for additional hardware or software.
• Can be incredibly time- and labor-intensive, depending on the size of your organization.
• Manual systems can be easily applied to all forms of employee training, especially more complex and dynamic training.
As the employee training technology space continues to grow, we’re seeing new solutions for managing and tracking employee development every day. My advice? Research the available tools and figure out which ones meet your needs in terms of budget, headcount, functionality, and more.
The success of your employee training program depends on getting your tracking system right.
Sam Caucci is founder and CEO of 1Huddle.
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