When you’ve identified a skills shortfall at your organisation, it’s understandable to want to tackle the issue quickly.

However, when it comes to procuring the right kind of training, it’s often a case of ‘act in haste, repent at leisure’.

In this guide, we’ll explain why getting the right kind of training for your business is a case of ‘measure twice, cut once’ and highlight some of the most common mistakes businesses make during the process.

The cost of poor training

According to Hay Group, employee disengagement costs UK businesses £340 billion every year, with 28 per cent of employees reporting that they feel more productive with better training. But finding training that fits the bill can be a difficult task for any HR manager.

To make the most of your time – and budget – it’s imperative to correctly analyse your training needs, ensure what you’re looking to procure is fit for purpose and avoid some of the most common stumbling blocks encountered by employers.

Be clear about your training goals

A failure to plan is a plan to fail and if you’re unclear on what your goals are and how you’ll measure whether the training has been a success – the results are bound to be similarly ambiguous.

Training should always be centered on a business goal – something like boosting efficiency, reducing costs or ensuring staff can comply with new safety regulations.

Be sure to set out a definable goal for the training, as well as KPIs (key performance indicators) by which you’ll measure its success. These could be things like increasing sales by 25 per cent, improving call satisfaction rates or boosting organic website traffic to your website.

Cater for your audience

Take the time to understand the people who will be undertaking the training – who they are, what they may know and what experience they already have in this area.

Targeted training always feels more relevant to participants and by building it around them and their day-to-day work, you can utilise real-life examples that they’ll be able to better-understand and relate to.

Also, bear in mind that everybody learns in different ways and different types of content can often be better-communicated in certain formats. For example, kinaesthetic (those who learn best by doing) learners would prefer to learn face-to-face or by practical discussions rather than reading reams of online content.

Understanding both how they learn and will apply the subject matter will indicate what training they need and whether it’s best delivered face-to-face, in a practical workshop or online.

Analyse your training needs

It’s important to analyse training needs before deciding what training is needed to ensure you arrive at the right solution the first time. To do so, you can:

  • Look at the current skill levels of your employees - what qualifications do they have? How experienced are they within their job role?
  • Identify what skills/knowledge gaps there are in your business – you could do this by developing a skill gap analysis to determine what skills are required to complete certain tasks.
  • Decide what new skills your business needs to meet its short, long and medium-term goals –reviewing your business aims and employee needs will help with this - see Business West’s blog on how to define new skills in three easy steps.
  • Plan for suitable training to overcome the gaps – creating a schedule of what training is needed and when will provide a practical starting point in getting the right skills for the business.

Assess your training outcomes

It’s all well and good undertaking the training, but to make it more than just a box-ticking activity, it’s important to find out whether anyone learned anything of use.

Once again, you should refer to the goals and KPIs you set yourself in the procurement phase and decide in advance how you’ll measure these outcomes.

Figuring out if your employees have got something out of the training can sometimes be tricky to determine - even for a seasoned HR pro.

One favoured method of measurement is Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation.

Kirkpatrick’s model assesses the effectiveness of the training that has taken place at four different levels:

  • Reaction
  • Learning
  • Behaviour
  • Results.

You can find out more about how to put these methodologies into practice by using the practical infographic below:

Finding the right training that fits

To limit time-wasting, training spend and resources, ensure you identify what problems, issues or changes the business is facing before you choose what specific course you need. Choosing course without consulting what the problem is, could lead to unsuccessful results and lead you back to square one.

Take the time to work through exactly what you want to achieve, what outcomes you’re looking for and what is concerning you. It will benefit the business by helping to identify the right training solution the first time. Going through a process of how to overcome a certain dilemma, rather than just arbitrarily choosing a course that could fit the bill, will therefore save the business time and money.

Accreditation or no accreditation

Determining whether you need accredited training for your staff can sometimes be a minefield. Understanding why you would need accreditation would be the first point of call.

  • Is it to satisfy your suppliers?
  • Is it to meet CPD requests?
  • Is it for an inspection?
  • Is it a contractual requirement?

It may be to support your staff’s personal development and honour them with a nationally recognised qualification. Normally, if there’s a purpose behind having accredited training then it’s usually worth doing.

However, certain people may need accreditation and others may not, understanding what level your employees are at will help with identifying who needs specific accredited training and who need better awareness of the subject.

In summary

Procuring and delivering the right training can be more of an art than a science, but by being empirical and analysing your training needs, you can ensure that you are undertaking the right training that fits the requirements of your business.

And you?

Hopefully, we’ve managed to shed some light on how to procure the most suitable training for your staff but if you’ve got any questions about the topics above (or anything training-related) - don’t hesitate to get in touch via Twitter or LinkedIn.

And if you’re looking for bespoke advice or business training – our team have years of experience in business support, consultancy and workforce development - book a free consultation today: 

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