How An Employee Training Plan Template Taught Me to Pursue Progress Over Perfection

When you are planning personnel management for yourself or others on your team, how often are you thinking about how to provide training for employees? I can tell you that it didn’t cross my mind hardly at all early in my career. I can tell you with certainty that there wasn’t even a plan. When it came to professional development and training that wasn’t with the initial onboarding, it was a “build the plane while flying it” type of situation.

From Formal to Fluid

The only time I’d think about training and development was usually around a yearly review. I don’t know about you, but in my review—regardless of where I’ve worked—there was always a question on it asking for my own self-assessment regarding professional development and training within the last year and/or setting goals for the upcoming year. It was that, or we had to complete an annual training plan template Excel sheet. One employer required an employee training log Excel sheet to track our hours throughout the year for certification purposes, while another hoped we tracked on our own.

I can confidently say that my previous employers did not take a proactive approach to training and developing their employees. Most of the strategy was defensive. Can you relate?

If so, or even if there’s room for improvement on your team, I would challenge you to revise your employee development plan template from a summative (annual and very formal) view, to a formative (informal and fluid) one. Planning on the front end can hopefully alleviate some problems and help support employees before gaps or deficiencies arise, which ultimately leads to Better Work. And the behaviors can be reinforced with steps from the Better Work Method: Assess, Plan, Build, Learn, Practice, Perform. It’s the last three that are going to truly carry the weight of an effective sample training plan template for employees.

Planning is Everything

I once had a former coworker often say a past relative would proudly remind her that “Prior proper planning prevents problems.” Don’t ask me how or why I remember that phrase today, but I think it’s derived from a military adage. Whenever she would say it, I was reminded of my own family and our involvement in scouting. I heard the phrase, “Be prepared,” on many-a-campout. I like the sentiment behind these phrases so much because great preparation absolutely helps prevent problems, but you cannot always anticipate every problem. Therefore, in recent reflection, I tweaked my coworker’s phrase for myself to, “Prior proper planning promotes progress.” This helped the perfectionist in me, and it elevates the phrase with positivity.

This mindset for planning isn’t a defensive one—it’s offensive and active. Problems or issues will arise in just about every area of life, despite how in control we think we are. We are human, and that’s how life goes. However, those who are resilient and adaptable to problems as they arise are going to be stronger problem solvers. And I challenge you to take this same sentiment and approach to your employee training. Focus on progress, not perfection. In the long run, resilience and grit will get you further.

Building Training for Progress, Not Perfection

Ok, so how can you make this happen? Do you have access to or already use a staff training and development plan template? This wouldn’t need to be anything fancy. In fact, it could be an employee training template Excel sheet, employee training plan template Word document, or even a training plan pdf. Even Lessonly has a free employee training plan template you can use!

You’ll want this individual employee training plan template to be independent of the onboarding process and the evaluation/review process. To start, try identifying three core skills that the employee must have to perform in his or her role. These core functions won’t be all inclusive, but they’ll provide you with an initial guide to success. Once you’ve identified the core functions, you’ll want to answer questions that will help your employee learn, practice, and perform. Answer questions like…

  • What training course or topic encompasses this skill?
  • What skill needs ongoing practice and progress?
  • What business outcomes or KPIs indicate success in this skill?

Make the plan work for you and your employees. Ensure that you can evaluate how it’s working and that all parties involved know what success looks like. Start small with a free employee training plan template, and then work your way up to a more formalized training process. I hope this post empowers you to go “build your own plane,” but hopefully not while flying it. ?


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