Employee training is essential to ensuring a company has employees with the skills, knowledge and competencies needed to manage and grow the business. It is also an important tool to attract and retain talent.
Successful training often depends on having an effective employee training plan in place. It can be at the corporate level, where many employees will benefit from the training program, or at the individual employee level. Each type of plan requires capturing similar details.
From a corporate perspective, the learning and development (L&D) team must identify the workplace learning programs it wants to offer employees, both from a compliance perspective and to meet current and future business goals. With the programs identified, the L&D team can then begin building the employee training plans. An employee training plan template can be a good starting point. If your organization doesn't have a template, read on to learn how to create one.
What is an employee training plan and what is its purpose?
A company-level training plan provides the details for an employee training program that the company has decided to offer. For example, if the L&D team wants to offer a leadership development program to employees, the L&D team would develop a training plan as a next step. The training plan will include items such as the goals and objectives of the training, when the training is being offered, prerequisites, the curriculum for the course, training methods, and the different types of learning opportunities, such as instructor-led training, online courses, assessments and perhaps mentoring.
The training plan is meant to educate managers and employees about the value of the program. It will help them determine if the program is the right one for a particular employee. It will also help decide if an employee is ready for the program based on their education and experience, as well as the time commitment required to complete the training program.
When a training plan is written for a specific employee, everything in the plan reflects the short-term needs of one person. Employees may also have an employee development plan that focuses on their long-term growth goals. In that case, the employee and manager should work to align the training plan with the goals in the development plan.
Different types of employee training plans
As the L&D team identifies the need for new, company-level learning programs, it will in turn create new employee learning plans. Companies can have an unlimited number of learning programs and associated learning plans. However, the following types are commonly found in most companies:
Onboarding helps the employee get acquainted with the company, will often cover information that is generic to all employees, such as policies, and may introduce new hires to additional information about the company and the products and services it offers.
Onboarding may also include role-specific training. In this case, new hires will be split into appropriate groups. For example, employees hired into customer service will likely have specific applications to learn, as well as training to be able to answer questions from customers.
Health and safety training
Companies often include some level of safety training for new hires. It might be included in the onboarding for employees who only need to understand the basics. For example, office staff who sit at desks have little risk and only need to know risks that are specific to their role. However, employees working on a construction site or in dangerous roles may require in-depth training to avoid injury.
Product training is often broken down according to the different needs of employees grouped by role, since not everyone requires the same level of detail. However, it is good for all employees to have a general understanding of the products the company makes.
For office staff who don't deal directly with customers, such as HR and accounting employees, a short overview built into the onboarding process may give them the level of detail they need. Salespeople must be able to speak to customers about products but may not need all the details. Technical support staff, on the other hand, may need detailed training so they understand the products in sufficient detail to answer specific questions from employees.
Companies often develop a leadership program to support the development and growth of their current and future leaders. The employee learning plan may include items such as how to give feedback, coaching, and instruction on the systems used to view employee data, approve time cards and measure employee performance. The learning plan will also be tailored to how the company wants its leaders to work, often taking into account the company's values, mission and business goals.
Diversity and inclusion training
A company may offer a diversity, equity and inclusion program to educate employees on how they are expected to interact with their peers, highlighting examples of conduct that won't be tolerated, such as sexual harassment or racial discrimination. The training plan may include a course that is generic to all employees, and courses specific to employees in certain roles who need additional training, such as those in recruiting or leadership positions.
Soft skills training
Companies often develop programs to help employees improve specific soft skills. An example would be an employee training plan focused on communication. Other examples include project management, teamwork, time management and problem-solving skills.
Five key steps to create an employee training plan
Here are the top-level actions most organizations take to develop a plan:
1. Identify the need
The first step is to identify the specific need to be addressed by the training, whether it be for a companywide training program or an individual employee. You should also rank this need against other training needs in the company.
2. Develop a high-level overview
Document the main features of the employee training program so it can be shared with others. Include the learning objectives, courses to include in the curriculum, eligibility requirements and training approach.
3. Evaluate existing training options
Before developing a new learning program and plan, it's important to step back and see if existing programs can meet the company's or employee's needs. This is especially important in large multinational companies where it's not always obvious what might be available elsewhere in the company.
4. Engage key stakeholders
Once you have a high-level plan documented, share it with key stakeholders, including employees, managers and other leaders in the company. For an employee's personal training plan, engage HR and senior members of their team to get feedback.
5. Finalize the training plan
With feedback from key stakeholders and a clear understanding of the need, it's time to develop the employee training plan by using the employee training plan template. This step includes important decisions such as choosing the curriculum, instruction type and supporting materials.
For companywide courses, once the employee training plan is finalized, the L&D team can move on to the task of developing courses, identifying third parties to run courses and developing training materials. For employees, the task is similar, but typically smaller in scope. In conjunction with their manager and HR, each employee should identify courses and learning opportunities that will meet the objectives of their employee training plan.
Employee training plan template
An employee training plan should contain enough information that the people using it need to take action. For company-level training plans, the L&D team will need to know what courses are included in the learning program so they can make sure they have the instructors, rooms and video conferencing systems they need, whereas managers and employees may be more concerned with the training content and time commitment.
For individual employee training plans, the information will be similar to what's in the company plans, but the scope is much smaller as it will mainly be relevant to the employee, their manager and HR.
Once the template is created, it's important to use it for all future employee training plans and review it from time to time to make sure it's capturing all the relevant information.
You can download a blank template here to get started.