Company Training Programs—Reap the Rewards of Learning and Development

A successful company-wide training program provides many benefits for both employees and clients. GAI’s Senior Training and Development Specialist Patty Racz offers best practices to take your training program to the next level.

Developing a comprehensive training program allows an organization to lead its workforce to the next level of improvement, while increasing client satisfaction and profitability. A carefully designed training program can lead to a reduction in employee turnover, and increases in employee morale, job satisfaction, and motivation.

But developing an effective training program—one with measurable outcomes—takes more than a willingness to learn. The program needs to:

  • Appeal to different learning styles
  • Accommodate various schedules and training needs
  • Align with the changing needs of an organization
In 2016, GAI employees participated in over 7,500 hours of training.

Obtaining executive buy-in is often the first hurdle to any successful company-wide professional development strategy. The next step involves developing a program that encompasses all levels of the organization. Key components of the program could include:

  • Curriculum Tracks. Based on key competencies, tracks guide employees through the courses they should participate in as determined by their role. These courses must be continually revised and new courses developed based on the changing needs of the organization.
  • Course Variety. Training should include both internally developed courses and courses developed and/or facilitated by external vendors. Offering both provides a good balance of training from internal professionals familiar with the culture of your business and outside professionals bringing fresh perspectives to your company.
  • Harvard Business School. The yearlong Harvard University Executive Leadership Program provides employees the opportunity to study Harvard Business School’s leadership topics online. Participants meet monthly with topic experts to discuss how the concepts apply to the business.
  • Coaching. A formal coaching program should reinforce material taught in classes.
  • Learning Management System (LMS). Invest in an LMS system to facilitate documentation, tracking, and reporting. Share training information such as training hour participation with employees so they can view and track their progress.
  • Feedback. Continually survey class participants to determine areas to improve and solicit ideas for additional classes to offer.
  • Formal Education Courses. For employees who seek training beyond internal options, offer:
    • Tuition Reimbursement. Employees pursuing advanced degrees can get financial assistance.
    • Professional Development. Such as certifications and technical training programs offered by outside companies.
  • MBA Program. GAI collaborates with Pittsburgh-based Point Park University to allow employees to earn their MBA. GAI pays for half of the tuition and Point Park professors teach the courses from our Pittsburgh office, with employees participating on-site or via Skype for Business. All GAI employees are eligible to apply for the program and go through an extensive interview and application process led by HR and executive teams. While this type of program is not common, it has proven results.
38 GAI employees have earned an MBA since the inception of our MBA program in 2009.

A solid training program can instill a culture of lifelong learners for your company. By investing in your greatest asset—employees—you will reap many benefits from your continued investments in their professional development.

Patty Racz, MA, MSPatty Racz, MA, MS is leading GAI’s training and development efforts. She has more than 18 years of experience, and has developed and conducted training on many subjects including leadership and development, sales and service, and software and technical training. Patty can be reached by phone at 412.399.5305.

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