Develop a staff training program

Businesses with a culture of training are seen as quality organisations. Having a 'training champion' in senior management is essential for successfully implementing your training initiatives. To develop a strong training culture, you must understand the benefits of training. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions, and will support members of staff who will be responsible for managing the training.

Check your legal obligations

As an employer, you have certain obligations in relation to training your staff. You need to ensure that staff are trained to do their jobs safely and, in certain industries, you may be legally obliged to provide staff with specific training.

Learn more about your legal obligations when training staff.

Assess your staff training needs

To implement the right training for your business, you need to identify your business and employee training needs. You can do this yourself, or you can recruit a human resources (HR) consultant or training organisation to help you assess your training needs and advise on training options.

Review your business plan

Your staff training program should be described in your business plan. You need to make sure you know what training your staff need, how much it will cost you and how frequently you will offer it. You should also decide how often you will undertake staff performance reviews.

If you decide to exit your business or hand it over to a family member, training may be an important part of your succession planning. In your business plan, you should:

  • assess your business goals and the skills you need to meet them
  • work out if you are on track to achieve your goals, and identify any gaps
  • think about whether your staff are happy in their jobs, and if your customers are happy with your products and services
  • consider how you are doing compared to your competitors
  • review any existing training
  • identify areas that need improvement and find out who may benefit from training (e.g. staff may need more knowledge of your products and services or your business processes).

Learn more about preparing a business plan.

Talk to your staff

Close collaboration and open communication between management and staff on training issues improves working relationships and, in most cases, productivity.

When you are assessing your training needs, you should ask your staff what sort of training they want or need. You can talk to them in one-on-one interviews or in a group meeting.

Engaging your staff in the process will help you make sure the training is suitable and that staff are likely to want to participate. This will help both you and your staff get the most out of training. You may also consider undertaking a staff skills assessment as part of performance planning, to work out what training individual staff members need.

Consider your training options

Once you have reviewed your business plan and discussed training with your staff, you should update your business plan with a new training program. Make sure you consider whether any imminent changes in your business will make training necessary for any of your staff.

Record your staff feedback, taking note of any training needs or requests. Work out how each type of training would be delivered, such as on-the-job, internally, or with an external training provider. Include details of all of the courses scheduled and the staff who are participating, as well as the dates, venues and times.

Communicate your training program

Let staff know what training you have booked for them. Communicate the training program to all staff so they are aware of what is happening in your business. Make sure you offer all staff equal opportunities for training and that you are not breaching anti-discrimination laws by excluding any staff. You should also take the opportunity to identify training opportunities during staff performance reviews.

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