Organizing Training Department

Today’s job applicants often don’t have the skills you need for your small business. In addition, your particular procedures may require you to train your workforce. Because you can’t always expect employees to arrive ready to work the way you need them to, you must develop a training department. Create a training plan and direct your efforts at teaching employees how to work in ways that align with your company values, mission and goals.

Determine Needs: Before you create your training department, assess your training needs. Identify skills you need now, and skills you will need in the future. These skills must drive your decision making regarding how you will structure your training department. For example, if you discover that you need employees who understand global marketing and worldwide customer service, you can structure your training department as an online network, where you deliver materials electronically. On the other hand, if you see that you need employees who understand your store procedures and policies, you should structure training as an in-store classroom environment with students physically present so the facilitator can familiarize them with your store.

Create Standards: Develop measurements and milestones for training. Understand exactly what skills you expect employees to demonstrate upon completion of training, and determine what will constitute a passing score. This decision helps you structure your training department by articulating what kind of testing and measurement you require. You can structure the department to deliver self-assessments electronically, administer test questions in person, or travel to various branches to observe and grade employees in their work environments.

Examine Learning Styles: Individuals learn in different ways. Determine whether you will use visual elements, text, auditory delivery or hands-on approaches in delivering training. You may have to structure your training department to have a graphic designer, writer, speaker or one-on-one mentors, depending on your learning style decisions.

Design Training Materials: Based on your decisions about what must be taught, how training will be delivered, and what learning styles you will appeal to, have your instructional designer create your training materials. These materials should include assessments to measure trainee progress. At this point, you will need to hire or assign personnel to your training department, even if just a department head at first to handle all training tasks, or to organize everyone’s efforts in a larger department.

Deliver and Reflect: Have your training department deliver your initial training sessions. Ask for feedback from trainees, as well as suggestions from training department personnel. Incorporate necessary changes and finalize the organizational structure of your training department. Decide who your training department head will report to in your company, and provide a liaison with appropriate departments, such as marketing, sales, shipping, inventory and customer service, to coordinate existing and future training needs.

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