While most companies agree that employee development training is a priority, what should be included in a professional development plan sometimes varies. Navigating the differences of plans and understanding what goes into successful professional development training courses is key. It all comes down to knowing what to look for, asking the right questions, and watching out for red flags. Here are the tips for choosing a professional development program.
Know What to Look For
Once you’ve got your answers to 'What are the benefits of professional development?' and decided to partner with an outside organization for professional development training, there are a few critical things to look for. You should aim to find a provider that:
- Offers multiple customizable paths for professional development training
- Relies on certified trainers who are experts in their field
- Provides the training options you need
- Has success stories to demonstrate its program’s value
Match a Program with Your Company Culture
Choosing the right type of program comes down to determining what works best for your organization and its culture. For instance, a more energetic team is not going to want to sit for hours of lectures and will likely prefer an interactive, gamified approach to professional development training.
Consider Your Performance Goals
Another important factor to consider is how a provider will help you meet your performance goals. Are you looking to increase sales as a result of this training? If so, then setting quarterly quotas may be a good measurement.
On the other hand, if increased customer satisfaction is the goal, a higher Net Promoter Score (NPS) and a lower churn rate may be good measurements. Product management, manufacturing, and engineering teams may aim for increased output or faster time to market.
Factor In Your Training Budget
Of course, you have to consider your budget as well. Look at the professional development training programs that you can afford, but don’t sacrifice quality for cost if you can help it. Remember, you are training people to help meet larger goals. If you save money with an ineffective program, you risk failing to reach those goals.
Ask the Right Questions
When you have a number of professional development training ideas and options for your organization, there are a few questions you should ask potential partners:
- What learning paths do you offer to meet different training needs?
- Can I customize the training to meet my organization’s specific needs?
- How involved do I have to be? How involved can I be?
- Do you have examples of success stories you can share?
- Can I speak with past clients?
- How is the training content delivered? Online? In person? A mix of the two?
- What is the experience level of your trainers/coaches?
- What are the backgrounds of your trainers/coaches?
- How much will this cost? How can we make it fit within my budget?
Look Out for Red Flags
When you are vetting training providers and asking them the questions above, there are some potential red flags that you need to pay close attention to. If a training provider shows any of these warning signs, you may want to take it off your list:
- The training provider does not offer the ability to customize the training.
- The provider cannot, or will not, show you examples of success stories or case studies, or provide references.
- The provider’s trainers lack experience. Maybe they are not certified, they may not be members of any recognized associations, or perhaps they just lack overall experience.
Get Started Today
The last tip is to start immediately. Whenever you embark on a new project, you stand to increase your ROI by starting early. The more time you have to properly plan and deliver your training, the more opportunity you have to help your employees grow and your organization move forward.