Henry Ford once said, “the only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”
On average, a US firm spends $1,111 on training an employee yearly, according to the 2020 Training Industry Report. However, not every training initiative is successful – meaning company money is wasted and unproductive employees. One of the common reasons for failed corporate training programs is poorly defined training objectives – or no objectives at all.
Training objectives add structure to your organization’s training programs and allows employees to get the maximum benefit from them. In this article, we will explain the core functions of training objectives and how you can create clear and concise objectives for your employees.
What Are Training Objectives?
Training objectives are the desirable & measurable outcomes that your employees will achieve after completing their training programs. These objectives should clearly communicate the tangible benefits of the training program in a way that intrigues and resonates with employees. A well-defined training objective consists of three main components- performance, condition, and criteria.
An important question here is why do we need these specific objectives? Wouldn’t a simple training goal in mind suffice? The answer is no. Your training objectives are imperative to set clear expectations and provide a roadmap for all the involved stakeholders.
What Are the Main Objectives of Creating Training Objectives?
Before you set your training objectives, it is crucial to analyze what you want to achieve through training. In addition to completing company-specific goals, your training goals can be beneficial for the following reasons:
1. Faster Employee Training
Once employees are made aware of the purpose of training and have a clearly defined path, the overall time to value decreases for your new employee training programs. The reskilling and refining of an employee’s skill set becomes faster when employees gain clarity over their training objectives. It’s essential as skilled employees are more adaptive to future workplace challenges.
2. Improved Employee Retention
More often than not, employees switch their jobs when they find inadequate career development opportunities. Relevant employee training aided by training objectives can improve employee skills and satisfaction to a great extent – improving your organization’s employee retention rate.
3. Better Employee Performance & Productivity
The most basic but critical goal of any training program is to improve employee performance and productivity by reinforcing existing competencies and developing of new skills. Training objectives should highlight a workflow and timeframe for boosting productivity.
4. Better Product and Service Offerings
The most innovative ideas would fail without proper execution. Training objectives facilitate the execution of ideas, thereby improving an organization’s product and service offerings.
5. Helps You Design Training Material
Well-defined training objectives make content creation easier and relevant. You can target employees as per their roles in the organization to increase relevance. Training objectives help you save project time, money, and resources.
6. Easy Analysis of Training Success
Training objectives allow you to analyze each objective against the training goal and measure your employee training effectiveness. You can also request feedback from your stakeholders to understand if you need to make any tweaks to achieve your training goals.
6 Tips for Creating Employee Training Objectives in 2021
Once you have identified your training goals, it’s time to put them into action. It’s a relatively straightforward task to summarize your desirable outcomes – but you need to convey the main point of your training objectives with a short summary.
Here are six tips for you to create crisp and clear employee training objectives:
1. Clearly Define the Purpose & Outcome of Your Training
Because training happens for a reason, you should clearly define the purpose and the end outcome of all training programs. You should conduct a training-need analysis and knowledge-gap analysis before creating your employee’s training objective(s). Avoid using vague words like realize and learn to create specific training outcomes.
Here is an example: ‘After completion of this course, you will be able to create and modify Excel files’ is a more specific training objective than ‘This course will allow you to learn the basics of Excel.’
2. Keep Your Training Objectives Short & Simple
The training objectives should be concise. Avoid mentioning unnecessary details and use simple language to convey the end goal. A suggested format is to include a time frame, an audience, an action verb to describe the outcome, and any other relevant details.
Example: By the end of (time frame), project managers (audience) will be able to perform(action verb) tasks more efficiently (details).
3. Create SMART Objectives
You should create training objectives for your employees based on the SMART framework i.e. the objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Here is an example of a vague training goal converted into a SMART training objective.
Vague: Participants will learn to operate the new P2P system.
SMART: Post this training(Time-bound, Attainable), the participants will be able to process purchase orders (Specific, Measurable) on the new P2P system (Relevant).
4. Leverage Bloom's Taxonomy
The American educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom classified learning objectives into six categories based on the involved cognitive processes. According to Bloom’s Taxonomy, the objectives are:
- Knowledge: This stage requires recalling and retrieving previously known facts. Memorizing works well for compliance training. For this stage, create training objectives using action verbs like- recognize, recall, list, name, define, match, and memorize.
- Comprehension: This stage requires an understanding of the concept to demonstrate expertise in it. The action verbs suitable for this stage are- describe, explain, summarize, discuss, explain, outline, illustrate, and identify. Example: Post this IT training, participants will be able to identify the security threats.
- Application: This step moves theoretical knowledge into practical application. The action verbs suitable for this stage are- use, apply, demonstrate, execute, solve, employ, and perform.
- Analysis: In this stage, participants should be able to break down the training information into parts and establish a relationship between them. For this stage, create training objectives using action verbs like- categorize, classify, simplify, list, distinguish, and compare.
- Evaluation: Based on the acquired knowledge, learners can make judgments and form decisions at this level. The suitable action verbs for this level are- analyze, compare, contrast, discover, and model.
- Creation: Participants can create something new(like a sales plan, employee onboarding plan) based on their acquired knowledge in this stage. The suitable action verbs for this level are- develop, design, improve, adapt, solve, modify, perform.
5. Align Training Objectives with Business Goals
The bigger picture for any training program is to contribute to your business’ bottom line. Without this alignment between the objectives and business goals, a training program would be a waste of resources.
You can increase the effectiveness of any training program by creating training objectives based on the following questions:
- How do the acquired skills and desired outcomes contribute to the company’s mission & values?
- Will this training improve employee productivity and increase revenue?
Aligning your training objectives with your department and company’s goal will also help you check whether or not the training objectives are realistic and attainable.
6. Analyze Your Training Conditions
When crafting training objectives, you must consider several parameters (like availability of an instructor, budget, type of workforce, pre-requisites) that affect the design and delivery of your training initiative. Further, you also need to identify the challenges to your employee’s learning, if any. Based on these conditions, you will be able to create achievable objectives for your workforce.
Discover how Whatfix’s Digital Adoption Platform can help your organization create continuous employee training and development programs with in-app guidance, personalized workflows, and self-help knowledge bases.
Leverage a DAP to Achieve your Training Objectives
A digital adoption platform like Whatfix disrupts the way employees consume the training content. It reduces the content creation time by creating simultaneous multi-format content and leverages behavioral analytics to personalize the training experience for your employees, remote and otherwise.
To know more about how Whatfix can help you fulfill your training goals, schedule a demo with our experts.