How to Develop an HR Training Program

Owners or managers of a small business know their employees are their most valuable assets. Good employees champion your products and services, maintain your shop and fill in for you in your absence, but employees aren’t able to automatically function at the levels you expect until they’ve been trained to do so. Your HR department staff is the logical choice for performing training activities. Your human resources personnel can deliver a dynamic and effective training program that has been specifically developed with your business in mind.

Planning
The first step in developing an HR training program begins with planning. Your human resources staff must decide first on the desired results of the training. Working backward from these outcomes, human resources can develop the content of the training. For example, you might want your employees to serve your customers in a specific way, such as greeting all customers as they walk into the store or office. Training content for this task might detail what such a greeting would look like — maybe offering every customer a friendly “Hello, how may I help you?” The content for your training session should provide details for each segment of the instruction. A summary of your training content should be provided to employees in a written handout that can be taken for review.

The Heart of Training
Prior to HR’s training session, end a personal invitation to employees. The invitation can set the tone of the training, perhaps describing it as an “engaging and fun learning session.” Once there is a captive audience, HR can use visuals, such as a creative PowerPoint presentation, to hold employees’ interest. Role-playing can be entertaining and educational as well. Describe a pro-and-con situation, such as excellent and poor customer service, and ask employees to demonstrate both sides. Those personally involved in role-playing won’t quickly forget the point they were responsible for demonstrating. Keeping employees focused on the training is key. You can do so by having them participate in the training. Try having individuals read some important text, or keep employees on their toes by asking questions. Certain games are available that form two teams of employees to answer specific job-related questions. HR trainers just need to be cognizant of steering the session in a way to avoid boredom. Encouraging group participation is one way to achieve this.

Breaks and Q&A
Be sure to incorporate time for several breaks, depending on the overall length of the session. You might provide water, juice or soda as beverages, as well as popcorn, cookies or protein bars to provide some energy. Keeping break items outside the training room allows employees a real break from the training and prevents attendees from focusing on the food during training. Be sure to offer a question-and-answer period, which can be provided throughout the session or at the end, as human resources sees fit. People tend to show more active interest when allowed to ask questions during training. Conversely, questions while training might prove too disruptive.

Off-Site
Training is often most effective when conducted off-site. Subject to what the focus of the training is, human resources might take your employees to a nearby park and incorporate some team-building exercises into the curriculum. This is often refreshing and memorable for employees, and though it represents a bit more effort on the part of human resources, the results can be rewarding and lasting. When conducting training off-site, be sure all safety concerns are addressed and any civil permits are obtained, if required.

Ongoing
The most powerful training is ongoing. What human resources has instilled in your employees can be reinforced with periodic reviews. Your HR staff can revisit training issues daily when they interact or observe employees at work and can then determine when or if another training is called for. Following up on training can be achieved through regular performance appraisals. These reviews, typically occurring between the employee and his manager or human resources staff, provide a great opportunity to bring employees back in line with their training. This, in turn, enhances employee growth, which has the potential to add to your business’s profits.

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