Workplace training is a key component of continuing education for your employees. It can help you understand their strengths and weaknesses, give you the opportunity to motivate your staff, and ensure that your team is gaining new skills. But sometimes its too difficult or too expensive to send your employees to outside training. If you want to develop your own training course, you’ll need CREST’s help.

Here are five essential steps to developing a workplace training program.

Training needs assessment

Before you start developing your workplace training program, it’s important to find the weak spots. A training needs assessment is a great place to start.

You can assess your employees’ needs in several different ways. Listening in on office talk or discussing issues in one-on-one interviews can help you hone in on what help they need to improve. Some staff members may have had long time problems with certain business processes and have been waiting for a training opportunity to come along. Take advantage of their opinions and make note of similar themes that pop up in conversation.

There are also several pre-existing surveys or self-assessments to hand out to employees for different industries. Some surveys will even cover many different areas of improvement. A survey is a quick and easy way to understand where your employees want training. It’s especially good if you work with a lot of software or other technical programs. Introducing new processes, instruments or protocols presents opportunities to train all personnel to the same standard.

However you choose to assess your employees’ training needs, make sure everyone in the office has been informed and the workplace training program that you choose addresses the areas where your team needs to improve, or required areas of regulatory compliance. Large organizations typically utilize training matrices for specified positions and track training on at least an annual basis.

Prioritize subject

Now that you know what your staff wants, it’s time to prioritize the subjects and pick the one that is most needed. If you’ve used a survey to assess your staff, it’s easy to count up which subjects had the most support. However, make sure you’re balancing what your staff wants to learn and what would help the office the most, along with requirements such as CDC, DOD, EPA, or other safety and security needs.

Take a look at your company data to address where you’re failing. Combine what your staff wants and what would be best for the company in order to increase your company performance and enhance employee satisfaction.

Develop training materials

Developing training materials may be one of the hardest parts of the workplace training process. If you don’t have experience in the training area, one option is to pull in an expert. Look for someone who has given workshops or speeches in the past and would be willing to put together a clinic. Here, CREST can help by sourcing an effective and well-respected provider. CREST has networks of both academic and commercial training providers that can be contracted for both existing and customized training.

Alternatively, consider sending your staff to an outside workshop or conference. CREST can also assist in finding off-site trainings. Besides that, CREST is planning on partnering with instrument and reagent manufacturers to conduct trainings open to the public.  This way, you’ll be sure that employees receive the best training possible with minimal effort on your part. Once you come home from the training, set up a debrief meeting for employees to discuss what they learned and how to apply it.

Consider finding an expert book or publication for all employees to read. After the reading, set up a meeting time with all staff to discuss different techniques learned from the material and what they would like to apply.

This round table discussion type of workshop training works best with small companies. For larger companies, it may be best if just the C-suite reads the book, discusses what materials they would like to apply, and takes different employee departments for workshop training.

Other workplace training materials can come from online courses. For broad areas of interest, sites like Coursera have reputable university courses in areas such as 3-D Printing, Particle Dynamics, nanotechnology, robotics and GIS. On the other hand, Lynda.com is a subscription website with thousands of software and coding instruction courses to choose from.

One of the most effective ways to apply online training is for the person heading the workshop to take as many courses as possible on a particular subject and condense the best information from each course into a half- or full-day workshop for the whole company.

Another valuable source of online training is from instrument and reagent vendors. Companies can not only provide on-site training for their instruments, software, analytics and protocols, but some of their websites also provide a wealth of information and video presentations.

Organize workshop logistics

There are several logistics to consider when hosting workplace training. These include:

  • Finding a suitable time
  • Finding a flexible and appropriate location
  • What employees will take the training?

Finding a suitable time for your workplace training will vary based on when the majority of employees are available and the least busy time of day for your office. When training takes place, your office will be missing at least one department at a time. Choose workplace training time wisely to avoid taking away your employees at the busiest time of day.

Finding a location for your workplace training is easy enough for lecture-style instruction. You may be able to fit all of the necessary employees into one conference room or provide a series of instruction times. Lab or production space can be trickier to arrange since this may have serious impacts on production schedules. One way to work around this is by contracting an offsite facility. A number of training-dedicated laboratory and bioproduction sites are available.  CREST can help pinpoint those in the Mid-Atlantic and near regional sites. These regional sites include the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute’s BREP and the NC State University’s Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center.

Another way of setting up your workplace training program is by instructing just one tier of employees at a time. These trainees can then act as trainers for the next tier of employees. However when you use this method of workplace training, be careful that the upper tiers receive the best and most accurate training and know how to train everyone else.

Your choice of workshop setup depends on how your company operates. If you have a very flat company, the trickle down method of training is probably not your best option. If you have a small company, taking in the whole company may be your best bet for everyone to receive the best education.

-host the workshop-

Review and edit workshop/training materials

So you’ve hosted the workshop. How did it go? Great? Horrible?

Even if you had the best workplace training in the world and all employees gave it a 5-star review, there’s always room for improvement. After every workshop, give your employees a chance for feedback. You may discover that you spoke too quickly or that your handouts weren’t clear enough. While these are easy to fix, you should edit and refine your workshop after every time you train.

By refining each training in between official workshops, you’ll be able to keep up with cutting edge techniques and make the experience even better for your employees. Enhance the workplace training experience by discussing what your employees would like to learn about next. Then, head back to the beginning and start again!

Save the hassle, check out Frederick CREST

Frederick CREST specializes in continued learning workshops for the STEM industry. Through our partnerships with universities and industry leaders we help your workforce stay sharp with continuing education. Our mission is to help STEM-based industries in Frederick County and the region forge ahead to achieve greater innovation, employment, and revenues.

Our training offerings are based on our partner needs. We work with local and regional Universities (including the University of Maryland and John Hopkins University), to offer technological and business/regulatory-related programs that will push our business stakeholders forward.

If you want the best expert training for your staff and need help finding a program near you, call CREST today. We’re here to help you move your business forward with continuing education.