Employee training has become one of the major ways to ensure longer tenure and create opportunities both for workers and businesses. The first step is to find a training and development specialist.
Nowadays, working in a company is not limited to bare operation and task execution. The changing social and corporate landscape demands from businesses and their people a more creative approach to ever-evolving challenges that hardly have standard solutions.
That’s why those businesses that aim to maintain a competitive edge find it critical to create an effective environment for the training and development of their teams. A well-established training framework is an important aid to motivate employees toward success and retain them longer. It enables growing talent in-house without opting for expensive external training, and results in greater business stability.
Plus, it’s plain to see that almost no one enters a company with all the needed skills and competencies under their belt. In turn, that makes it essential to plan and streamline effective onboarding processes.
Every company is different, so training new hires for the needs of your business can be a great investment in the long run. Additionally, it facilitates recruitment and lets you enjoy a larger talent pool.
Another point is that, in the world of the great resignation, it’s particularly important to provide employees with opportunities to grow and take on new responsibilities. This requires developing clear career roadmaps and showing employees transparent paths to promotion in a company.
According to studies, training and development increase your chances of retaining employees longer. Up to 94% of employees admit that they are ready to stay in a company that provides training opportunities.
In this way, training initiatives complement employees’ overall impression of your company and affect their expectations of what kind of future they have with your organisation.
Two indicators that it’s time to search for a T&D specialist
With these two aspects in mind, namely employee attrition and career development, we can identify two indications that a company needs a training and development (T&D) specialist at the very least (subsequently, it’s best to establish a designated T&D department):
- Indicator 1. Employees leave to advance their careers in other companies;
- Indicator 2. Employees are uninformed about promotion criteria.
It’s like you’re starting to see the issue from the perspective of your employees and understand why they choose to leave or why your team lags behind. Of course, you can dive into details and vigorously search for bottlenecks in operation and processes instead.
For example, you may find out that attempts to conduct on-the-job training are sporadic and only distract seasoned employees from their tasks, making them spend extra time explaining basic things to newbies. Or you may notice the continuing decline of sales managers’ productivity.
Finally, you can discover that your marketing team keeps exploiting the same old techniques and doesn’t keep up with trends. Investigating these issues is great, but the two bold indicators above will show you the same thing: the business needs to change its approach to employee development.
These indicators are interconnected, so if you see either of them, take matters seriously.
Hiring a freelance or full-time training and development specialist
It may seem that if the lack of training and development opportunities has something to do with human resources, it’s in the purview of your human resource department. Indeed, HR managers tend to double as training specialists in some companies. But let’s be frank: if you accept that your HR manager doubles as someone else in the company, do you anticipate their complete success in both roles?
Likewise, training matters require a designated coordinator – a training and development specialist who will be in charge of planning and rolling out training programs all across the company. But since training approaches and delivery methods changed, one of the T&D specialist’s core responsibilities nowadays is launching effective corporate eLearning as well.
By the way, is it a T&D (starting with ‘training’) or an L&D (starting with ‘learning’) specialist? These terms mean pretty much the same, with ‘learning and development’ having a slightly different function of creating the intended ‘learning experience’, particularly in online training. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll use these terms interchangeably.
All in all, when searching for a training and development specialist, you can invite an external training professional or look for a suitable candidate for a full-time position in your organisation. Check out the pros and cons of these options below.
If you look for an off-the-shelf solution, you can opt for an independent training consultant with expertise and years of experience under their belt.
- Creates full-fledged, interactive online courses;
- Has shown proven success with other companies;
- Proficient with complex authoring tools and training software.
- Excessive cost;
- Needs to learn your corporate policies and tailor to your industry.
From a strategic perspective, hiring a freelance training consultant will enable you to learn from experts and lay the groundwork for further development of training expertise in-house.
Full-time in-house training and development specialist
It’s possible to find prospective candidates for an L&D position among your HR team. Homebred training and development managers stay focused on your company. You can be sure it’s their top priority and they don’t run multiple side projects simultaneously.
- Familiar with your policies, culture, and staff;
- Have an industry-based perspective;
- Engaged in the daily life of a company.
- Probable lack of knowledge about instructional design;
- Lack of practical experience with eLearning.
Developing a learning and development function in a company may take some time and require a sufficient knowledge of instructional design theory. Your company will also need an authoring software to create learning materials, like courses, video lectures, and assessments. However, growing training expertise in-house tends to be more cost-effective in the long run, even when considering the purchase of authoring software needed to create learning materials.
In fact, your training specialists don’t necessarily need to work with some complex authoring solutions, which are rather expensive and difficult to use. There are user-friendly options on the market that anyone can master.
If you don’t want to risk purchasing complex authoring tools, it’s better to choose from PowerPoint-based eLearning software solutions. They make course building similar to creating PPT presentations.
With such tools, anyone who has ever used PowerPoint can make interactive courses with quizzes, interactions, and even role-plays within a few hours – not weeks.
And what about freelance L&D professionals who are experienced with a range of professional authoring software?
User-friendly solutions help them create diverse and effective learning content under a tight deadline and meet training needs with less effort. That’s why PowerPoint-based authoring software is a surefire way to speed up the process of training content creation for users with any background.
Top 5 tasks performed by training specialists
Besides preparing development plans and learning materials, a training specialist executes a range of strategically important functions. Below, you’ll find the five main tasks, and practically speaking, these are the things you hire a training specialist to do.
Training needs assessment
It is within the purview of a T&D manager to find out what training employees need, how staff members prefer to be trained, and ask supervisors about possible skill gaps and desired training results. Also, a training manager should know what skills and competencies are relevant for the business strategically, what projects are on the agenda, and what talent is in demand.
One of the major T&D tasks is to find a way to fulfil the training needs externally or internally. At this point, a training specialist can look for external training providers, get validation for them from decision makers, and facilitate their access to the company.
Another option is to accumulate internal expertise and organise training in house without outsourcing. In this case, a T&D manager embarks on building a team of full-time instructors and trainers inside the company. Maintaining communication with them and motivating a T&D team toward success is a part of the deal for any training manager.
This function is more administrative and entails budgeting and planning training events, preparing development plans, and taking care of any emerging issues and management tasks. This is where proper online training software, like a learning management system (LMS), comes in handy. It’s a single online platform for organisations to store courses, enrol learners, and track learning progress on all levels.
LMSs help training development specialists lighten their workload and manage training processes more effectively by automating tedious tasks and collecting reports.
For instance, an LMS allows you to schedule online and offline training events, enrol learners into necessary online courses, and send notifications of any upcoming changes, deadlines, etc., all in one place.
It is indispensable for T&D specialists who want to focus on the quality of training instead of repetitive manual tasks and excessive paperwork.
Training evaluation and analysis
Result tracking is essential for any training, and this process should be well controlled. To ensure the accurate matching of training needs, the manager needs to take charge of training return on investment (ROI), which entails collecting data for reports and presenting it to supervisors. Based on reports and feedback, it is also important to refine training approaches and update learning content.
At this step, an LMS can also be of great help. Instead of monitoring attendance and grading learning performance manually, your company can leave these matters to a proper LMS with robust reporting features.
A training and development specialist will be able to see the full picture of training across various departments, identify areas that require growth in a given team, keep track of how employees are progressing through courses, and who lags behind.
An LMS also facilitates knowledge checks and regular appraisals by making them automated and paper free.
Meeting on-demand training requests
Companies do have particular training requests, which become increasingly relevant. For example, a company has brought in some new blood. Then, training and development specialists will be responsible for facilitating successful new hire onboarding.
They will have to introduce either mentorship or scalable online courses on the basics of work, or establish systemic training for frontline employees to get them up to speed and prepared to work faster.
Or, if there are developed career roadmaps in a company, recently promoted employees who took on new roles now need managerial training. A training manager will have to organise leadership, communication or problem-solving training sessions or online courses for this category of workers.
Finally, there are mandatory training programs on workplace behaviour and safety, and training specialists run these regularly for the entire staff and each new employee. All in all, training and development specialists are the ones who keep their finger on the pulse of the team and monitor current trends in the corporate world.
If you found yourself reading this article, chances are your approach to employee training and development is about to change.
Opening a position for a training and development specialist will help you pave the way for effective training programs, longer employee tenure, and, consequently, stable business development. We wish you the best of luck!
About the Author
Sofia Green is committed to lifelong learning, and transmits this passion through her texts. At iSpring, she finds her spark in writing on the theory and practice of eLearning.