Your Learners (Employees)
(1) Do your learners feel satisfied with your current training offerings?
It’s a softball question on the surface, but only if you’ve put in place the tools to measure learner satisfaction. Many companies start with the process of implementing training, but forget that if the training isn’t measured, it can’t be improved.
(2) Are employees able to get training outside of your company?
Employees who want to improve and learn may have learning needs beyond the scope of what you can currently provide at your company, what are we doing to support them? External training takes on many forms including lynda.com classes, conferences, and both online (MOOC) and in-person courses.
(3) When does training occur in your company?
At most companies, training takes place at two key moments: gaps and starts. “Gaps” refers to the skill gaps that occur when a current employee changes roles and doesn’t have the foundation they need for their new role. “Starts” are the first several days of a new employee’s experience. The strongest companies have thought through answers to both of these moments.
(4) Who conducts your training?
If you’re doing any kind of technical training, you may hire professional trainers or rely on employee volunteers to support your training efforts. Volunteers from the company are subject matter experts, but may lack the experience to build and deliver instruction.
(4a) And what level of training does everyone have?
(5) Are the outcomes for training incorporated into employee success via goals, OKRs, KPIs, or another system?
The worst training is the kind of training that ends when people walk out the door. Accountability boosts training retention from 12% to over 80% in most cases. In technical training, this is often solved by applying technical skills to current problems. In non-technical training, this must be incorporated in another way.
(6) Are the materials in your training are updated regularly and in response to current company challenges and discoveries?
Evergreen training is a concept that sounds good on paper, but if your training isn’t adapting and evolving, your company might not be either. As business priorities and technical requirements change, the training too must change with this shifting landscape.
(7) Do you own your training materials?
Are you licensing a training system? You might not be allowed to modify it. There’s a reason LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google have all built their own training programs; they need to adapt the material as their business needs change.
Your Self-Assessment Results
Still some open questions
To get an accurate assessment, you'll need to answer the following questions:
It's Time to Start
Training the team matters. A Gallup poll found that a staggering 87% of millennials rate "professional or career growth and development opportunities" as most important to them in a job. Finding ways to create development opportunities in your company isn’t just a way to retain the best employees, it’s also a way to build what’s called a talent advantage. Your next managers, leaders, and architects might be a part of your company today. All you need to do is give them the opportunity.
I don’t recommend going whole-hog with a training program, though. Building out L&D for your company should start small and the team needs to believe in it. If you’re ready to take the first step, schedule a call and I can share insights on how other companies have started the process of developing their teams.
A Case for Investing
You’re right in starting the effort to train and develop the talent at your company. A Gallup poll found that a staggering 87% of millennials rate "professional or career growth and development opportunities" as most important to them in a job. Yet in that same poll, less than 15 percent of all employees surveyed had received useful training or development opportunities in the last 30 days.
Even if you’re not ready to commit to a large scale Learning & Development effort, there are simple things you can do to help your employees feel valued and make them more effective. Reach out, I'm happy to share what other companies of your size are doing to gain a talent advantage.
On your way from good to great!
You know what needs to be done, and you’re already on the way there. It’s a good thing, too. The next generation of employees rate "professional or career growth and development opportunities" as most important to them in a job. You’re creating a talent advantage at your company with your current training program, so don't stop!
I love hearing about companies that have invested in developing their talent. If you have a moment, tell me your success story. And if you ever want help with scaling your training or specializing your training for engineering, don’t hesitate to reach out.
You're the company we all deserve
Either you’re gaming the system, or you’ve absolutely crushed it with your talent development plan. Not only are you treating talent as the advantage that will help you win, you’ve put in place the systems, processes, and tools needed to make it thrive.
Honestly, I’d like to tell other companies about your success. If you have a moment, tell me your success story. More companies could benefit from hearing about you win the long game by having a good Learning & Development program.
Lead SV Research consisted of an anonymous survey of 212 self-identified software engineers within the San Francisco area, conducted through Google Forms. Survey topics included opinions on professional development and opportunities for growth at their current employer. This training self assessment also pulls questions and insights from the following sources in addition to my own client experience.
- The Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation
- Can MOOCs Solve Your Training Problem
- Closing the Training Feedback Loop