Education and training are seeing a resurgent interest. With the likes of udemy, coursera, or skillshare anyone with an internet connection can get training. But it’s not only virtual education that’s booming: many companies are recognising the importance of investing in training and the positive impact it can have on both employee performance and engagement.

Yet with all the money being spent, it’s surprising to see how many organisations still approach training in isolation as a one-off “activity” or “thing” to do.   A sustainable training programme needs to be ongoing in order for it to succeed and for an organisation to feel its benefit, it needs to be both continuous and relevant to the business. Hence, importance should be given to personalization and customization of training programmes. There are, of course, some excellent off-the-shelf programmes in the market that can lay the foundation and build groundwork for skills development. But the magic happens in the space that makes it relevant and personal, and brings the content to life for the teams experiencing it.

So, how can you achieve this? The answer to this question lies (as with most things) in the planning. First of all, think about the objective for the training – what do you want it to achieve? Where are the skills gaps? How are current confidence levels in the teams you would like to engage with the programme?   A strong training programme is a significant investment both in terms of time and money, so once you’re clear on the objective, remember to think about measuring the training success in a tangible way. Here are a few thoughts to consider when searching for a training programme that will resonate with your teams.

What does successful training look like?

Relevance & customisation

Standardised training content has the potential to be only marginally interesting and relevant for the participants. When content doesn’t resonate, it can be a stretch for participants to visualise how techniques can be applied in their daily lives and subsequently loses its impact. This leads to disengagement and missing key elements of learning and skills development. Ensuring the training is relevant to the daily tasks and challenges engages participants and helps messages to successfully land. Look to integrate relevant case studies and scenario including messages about your company’s culture and products. Aim to deepen knowledge by linking it to the company’s mission.

Reinforcement

The true success of training lies in how long employees retain the information and use it to their (and the company’s) advantage.  A strong reinforcement programme that engages the whole team will keep the messages alive. It’ll build on the learned skills that reinforce the message long after the trainer has left the building and helps to change behaviour and enhance new ways of working.

Measurement of ROI

In order to ensure that a training programme is filling an identified gap or taking the teams to the next level, the overall objective for the programme must be clear. Only then can a company actively measure if a programme has been successful. Perhaps the target is in increased sales, improved profits, productivity or employee engagement, but whatever it is, the measurement should be tangible. Before looking at training options, it’s crucial to define goals and parameters of success. Both for the short and the long term.

Training is an important and integral part to any successful company. The key is to remember that skills development is an ongoing commitment and not a singular event.

But the evidence is clear, a company that is committed to investing in its employees sees the benefit in many ways, but not least in its staff performance, retention and loyalty.