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How to Build a Strategic Training Plan for Year End

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It’s year end and a new year is already upon us.  Pretty soon your organization and your staff will be caught up in the year end hustle, the holidays will arrive and the office will go quiet for a week or two. Then all of a sudden a tidal wave of activity will ensue as your organization gears up for the new year.

Get ahead of the game start your Strategic training plan now!  In this post we will share a few ideas to get you started on building your organizations plan and some best practices to follow.

 

1-Finish What Was Started (or what you did not start!)

Inevitably a few of last years objectives are floating around waiting to be completed and perhaps others put on hold.  Speak to your stakeholders and your team and get a real picture of what is required to complete the old before starting the new. Making headway on new objectives is always challenging when the existing ones are holding you back.  Getting a real picture of what resources are required to complete 2016 work and the real priority will help you frame how much time you have for 2017 work.

2 – Align to Corporate Goals and Objectives

Hopefully your executive team has laid out a plan for 2017 and started to push it down through the organization.  Top level management typically provides very high level objectives and each successive level of management linking their objectives to the top level of strategic planning.  Executives will provide top level goals such as ‘increase earnings by 8%’, ‘Enter new markets and geographies’ ‘launch product xyz’, or ‘increase customer base and retain existing customers’.  The corporate training stakeholders you likely support are from operations teams that will have objectives a bit more granular but still align to the C-Level objectives.  For example - ‘Launch Sales Automation System (IT) ‘Identify marketing agencies in new geo’ (Marketing) and so on.   Each of these more actionable strategies should be your starting point as you work with the department heads and their teams to support their initiatives.  Understanding the linkage and importance to the organizations overall objective demonstrates that you understand the environment and can deliver training that moves the needle.

 

3 – Use Designers and Corporate Training Consultants

You likely have an instructional designer on your staff (retained or a consultant).  Leverage this individuals experience to quickly identify training needs from your stakeholders and convert the training needs into high level training assessments that can be shared and approved by stakeholders.  The ability to quickly listen, digest and create a targeted training need from abstract objectives is a skill where instructional designers and corporate training consultants can be very valuable. 

4 – Resource the Training Plan!

Once your Corporate Training consultant has outlined a high-level assessment for each training initiative go one step beyond the assessment phase and provide high level planning to support each corporate training initiative.  Estimate the number and type of training resources and Subject Matter Experts needed.  The latter is very important in letting your customer know what what resources they will need to supply.  Put all of this information into a high-level plan for training development and deployment.  Don’t forget the financials and estimate the costs and the benefits of your proposed training.

These additional details help substantiate your plan, communicate where, when and how long the organizations resources are needed and brings a level reality to the training you are proposing. 

5- Get it Approved

Seeking approval is perhaps the most difficult part, but if you have gone through steps 1-4 carefully and with rigor it should be a relatively simple matter.  Each of the preceding four steps helps to bring alignment and agreement with staff, management and stakeholders.  Putting the finished plan in front of stakeholders should be a procedural act at this point.  Even if you are not required to have your Strategic training plan approved, make sure you float it to your manager and key stakeholders. 

6 –Keep it handy

There is little point in creating a strategic training plan to let it be “shelf ware”.  A good training plan should be part of every conversation you have with key stakeholders and management.  Nearly everything your organization does should be able to be referenced in this plan. Project review meetings, employee performance reviews, stakeholder meetings should all somehow relate to the strategic training plan and as such it should be your guide.

Finally you should know that the best laid plans are bound to change.  So be ready for this and be flexible.  Training is often a “downstream” activity that is subject to the “upstream” change management activity.  When the organization takes a step in a different direction be sure to refer to your plan, review it for impacts and update it accordingly. 

These methods are tried and true, but not every step in my list will work for you, try them all or choose a few that feel like a good fit. Good luck with your planning.   I am always interested in hearing from peers and industry leaders in the training, eLearning and corportate training consulting industries about how they engage in planning.  Feel free to conact Matchstick Inc or reach out to me directly at peter.matamala@matchstick-inc.com

PETER MATAMALA