Companies that value well-trained employees often have ongoing training programs in place. Ongoing does not mean continuous, so how often should you provide ongoing training to employees?
Training new hires to perform tasks in accordance with your expectations is a given, but other circumstances also require training. Training should be offered whenever you identify a skill or knowledge gap in your workforce, when you install new equipment, and when regulatory bodies change their compliance requirements.
Benefits of Ongoing Training
Ongoing training needs to be targeted for maximum efficiency and a positive return on investment. By incorporating needs assessment into your training program, your organization reaps multiple benefits, including:
- Employees stay up-to-date on industry changes
- Employees learn to correctly use new equipment and technology
- Your business gains an edge on competitors
- Employees have opportunity to advance in-house
- Greater job satisfaction
- Lower turnover rates
- Training opportunities attract new talent
Training new hires is a necessary part of preparing them for their job duties. Bringing workers up to speed on regulatory changes is also fairly straightforward—when an organization overseeing compliance on tasks as important as industrial hazard control changes it’s guidelines, that information has to be provided to your employees. For other circumstances, you can determine training requirements with needs assessment tools.
What is Needs Assessment?
Needs assessment describes a set of tools used to identify sections of your workforce that lack the skills or knowledge needed to perform job duties at peak efficiency.
Needs assessment is an important part of any training program. The data it provides helps you decide how often you should provide ongoing training to employees.
Needs assessment tools include:
- Focus groups
- Incident reports
- Observation of employees
- Pre-training tests
- Post-test course evaluation
- Staff interviews
Data gathered from needs assessment tools provides you with an understanding of which employees and work areas would benefit from additional training, allowing you to bridge skill gaps and ensure all employees are operating with the same skill set.
Needs assessment is usually an ongoing, systematic process capable of providing measurable and actionable data. It is possible for smaller businesses or departments to conduct informal, limited needs assessment, but long-term assessment yields more accurate results.
Based on data gathered by needs assessment tools, you can determine who needs training when and take steps from there to correct the issue. Sometimes an in-house mentoring program can help bridge an employee’s knowledge gap. In other cases, your entire staff may need in-house or online training. No matter what your training choice, the goal remains the same—a workforce that operates consistently in accordance with up-to-date regulations and work processes.