Training plans: How to boost team learning

Retrato de contribuidores da equipe AsanaTeam Asana16 de maio de 20226 minutos de leitura
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Summary

A training plan teaches team members a skill using a predetermined program and set of materials. These plans can benefit your company and your team by increasing retention and improving team productivity. Read on to learn how to create an effective training plan.

Developing a strong team is no small feat. It takes time to find people that work well together and have the strengths needed to accomplish your goals. Companies place a lot of value on the hiring process because they want exceptional candidates who will stick around. But even the best candidate won’t stay put if they don’t feel nurtured and supported. 

Training plans are one way to improve the skills of your team members. These plans are mutually beneficial to companies and team members because they increase retention and improve team productivity. When you support your team through learning, they can apply their new skills at work.

What is a team member training plan?

A team member training plan is a way to teach team members a specific skill using a predetermined program and set of materials. With a training plan, you can set a standard for how to do things. Then, when other teams or individuals want to learn the skill, you’ll have transferable documentation for how to do so.

The goal of a training plan is to:

  1. Prepare managers before a training occurs.

  2. Provide structure for team members to learn.

Without training plans, it’s difficult for team members to know whether they’ve met the required learning outcomes for their position. Alternatively, team members seeking additional training have no way to measure their achievements.

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What are the basic components of a training plan?

While there are many training methods you can use to teach team members a process, training plans should include a few key components. Knowing the components of a training plan will ensure you’re ready for the training to take place when the time comes.

  1. Learning objectives: Like any project, your training plan should include goals for success. Ask yourself what you want your group to get out of this training. Use your learning objectives as a guide when writing the rest of your plan.

  2. Program outline: The program outline is the heart of the training plan. It explains how you’ll conduct the training and provides step-by-step instructions for the person in charge to follow.

  3. Materials: Depending on the training method you choose, you may need specific materials to deliver it. For example, if your training is a workshop, you may need printed handouts for all participants or a computer and projector.

Whether you deliver your courses remotely or in a large conference room, planning these components is a key part of training management.

Read: What are the stages of team development?

7 steps to create a training plan

Now that you know the components of a training plan, identify where your team needs help before jumping into development. Once you have a training area in mind, customize the program to your team.

[inline illustration] How to create a training plan (infographic)

Use the steps below to create a training plan. 

1. Assess training needs

Conduct a training needs assessment before actually creating your plan. This introductory step provides direction on who or what to train. For example, look at the needs of new hires. Assess whether the training they need for their new role is covered in the onboarding process, or if you should create a training plan that better integrates them into the company.

To assess the training needs of your company or team, consider the following:

  • Ask for feedback from managers and team members.

  • Gather insight from performance evaluations.

  • Assess team member performance using work management tools.

  • Prepare surveys to see where team members want to improve their skills.

After conducting your research, prioritize your needs. Pick one skill or process to focus on and create a customized training plan template.

2. Choose your training plan type

Before you can create your training plan, you need to choose a delivery method. The ideal delivery method you choose will depend on the skill you’re teaching and the size of your training group. While some skills require an online delivery method, you can deliver others through hands-on practice. You can get more involved with smaller groups, while larger groups may need a more hands-off approach.

[inline illustration] Types of training plans (infographic)

Types of training plans:

  • Workshops: Workshops involve active participation from the group.

  • Instructor-led: Also known as conference-style training. These training programs can occur in-person or online. 

  • 1-on-1: Individual training sessions can help those who need varied levels of support.

  • On-the-job: A lot of training occurs naturally on the job, but you can also plan for team members to learn specific skills while working.

  • eLearning: Different from instructor-led online training, eLearning is when team members progress through a set of online training courses, usually comprising videos, quizzes, and readings.

  • Mentoring: A unique way for team members to learn is from a mentor—or another experienced professional—who helps grow their career. Some individuals find mentors on their own, but you can also set up a mentorship program.

  • Research-based: Research-based training may include required reading of articles and case studies or data analysis from reputable sources.

Here are some scenarios of how you might choose a training plan type: 

Scenario 1: Your company switches to a new project management software and everyone needs training on how to use it. Because your training sessions will have a large group, you’ll use an instructor-led or conference-style plan.

Scenario 2: Your company wants to promote the business on social media. This will require scheduling content in advance, so you create a workshop-style training to teach team members how to schedule content for various social platforms.

3. Study your team

Aside from group size, study your team to create an effective training program. Every group has different experiences when they come into training. For example, if you’re refreshing current team members on social media best practices, you can assume they have some background knowledge. 

Ask these questions when studying your team:

  • Is this training optional?

  • Will this training be more effective if I engage with team members?

  • What are the strengths of the team?

  • How can I make this training applicable to the team? 

Team members will likely feel more excited about the training if it applies to them. Make your training relatable by incorporating examples and engaging the group. Point out strengths in your team and use them to your advantage. For example, if your team is most efficient in the morning, set your training schedule accordingly.

4. Create learning objectives

Like every project, you’ll set goals for what you want to achieve with your training plan. Think about what you want participants to get from your training. 

Let’s continue our example from above. For a training on social media marketing, your objective may be for all participants to:

  • Understand Google Analytics metrics.

  • Identify which social platforms the company’s audience uses.

  • Understand how social media plays a role in the marketing funnel.

  • Create one piece of SEO content, post it to social media, and track its progress.

Use your learning objectives as training requirements. You may decide that participants must meet all the learning objectives to complete the training course and master the skill.

5. Develop training materials

Training materials are the bulk of your presentation. Some materials help you present material to your team, like a slide deck or PowerPoint, while other materials get participants involved in the lesson, like a worksheet. 

Training materials may include:

  • Slide decks 

  • Workbooks

  • Videos

  • Online readings

  • SOPs and training manuals

  • Assessments

Plan for any materials you need and keep extra materials on hand. That way, when training day arrives, you’ll feel prepared for any unexpected guests or mishaps.

6. Put training into action

You’re now ready to complete your training program and present it to team members. To feel more confident, write out your program in a step-by-step format. It may look something like this:

  1. Trainer welcomes participants with the first slide of PowerPoint on the board.

  2. Trainer instructs participants to open laptops and navigate to the company website.

  3. Trainer goes through PowerPoint slides and instructs participants to follow along on laptops.

  4. Trainer sends out worksheets.

  5. Participants use laptops and worksheets to engage in an activity. 

  6. Trainer asks participants to share their experiences with the activity. 

  7. Trainer finishes the PowerPoint presentation, which includes discussion questions.

  8. Trainer opens the floor to other questions. 

While a program will fully prepare you for your training, don’t be afraid to veer off the training plan during discussion time, as long as the conversation remains relevant and productive.

7. Review and revise as needed

To ensure your training is effective, review your training plan template and strive to make it the best it can be. A successful training plan helps participants master a process. If you have great things to say but the group isn’t engaged, then the information you deliver likely won’t register.

After holding a few training sessions, conduct an after-action review. With feedback from past participants and insight into their skill mastery, revise your training plan to better fit the needs of your next group. 

Training plan template and example

Here’s an example of a training plan. In this plan, the team identified that they needed a training plan for keyword research within their company. They want to use this course for new hires, but they also believe it can serve as a refresher course for others in the office.

[inline illustration] Training plan example: CRM software company (example)

Use the free training plan template below to develop your team’s skills.

Free training plan template

Create a training plan with work management software

To create custom training plans, you’ll need to know where your team needs support. Work management software offers a bird's-eye view of your team’s performance so you can identify where training would be most helpful.

Use Asana to bounce ideas off others, share your program, and revise it. With this shared tool, you can make a plan and take action all in one place.

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