Do you perform year-end training assessments?

As another year draws to a close, it’s a good time to get feedback from your employees on training they’ve received. I’m not talking about surveys for an individual class, although those may be used if kept, but rather your entire training curriculum.

Assessing the state of your training offerings - how often certain courses are taken and completed, and what works and what doesn’t work - should be part of your year-end efforts as you prep for the year to come.

Step 1

First, assess the content of the training programs themselves. Has the content held up to technological, regulatory and/or process changes? Are the courses still timely enough to be used another year, or are updates needed?

Hopefully, you have a process in place to look far enough down the road and have already been working on such updates. If not, get busy doing them.

Step 2

Make part of your year-end process assessing what the trainees themselves think of your curriculum. Some typical survey questions could include, but are not limited to:

  • What training have you taken over the past two years that you felt was valuable? What training did you consider a waste of your time?
  • What training taken over the past two years has had the most impact on your daily job tasks?
  • Are there areas of your job or certain products/systems for which you feel you need more training?
  • What training have you taken that you feel could be done just as well through eLearning or distance learning?
  • What training have you taken that needs to be more hands-on?

If your training includes third-party programs, ask:

  • What training suppliers have consistently delivered training that you felt was valuable?
  • What suppliers’ courses would you want more of?
  • What specifically in those suppliers’ courses has helped you on the job?

These are just generic suggestions that you will likely need to customize, and for which you’ll perhaps need to add more specific details.

Total Coverage Area

Make sure your training curriculum is covering all areas of your fleet operation, and all personnel.

It’s easy to focus on technical and skills training and forget about administrative and management functions. Likewise, you often over-emphasize new product and new technology training at the expense of core skills and knowledge.

Also look at upcoming personnel moves or promotions, so as to anticipate what training and coaching may be needed.

Outside Help

It goes without saying that, depending on how broad your training curriculum is, you may not have the available personnel or expertise to get these tasks done in time to prep for the new year.

There are a number of agencies that will perform audits of your training design, content and delivery for you, or will train people at your facility to do so. Many agencies will help you prepare customized surveys from a bank of frequently used questions.

If you find that you simply cannot get this task done before the holidays, don’t sweat it. This effort will be just as valuable to your business and your employees if you wait until January or February.

Stephen Howe is employed as a field trainer by United Rentals, the world’s largest equipment rental company, with approximately 600 locations in North America and an a rental fleet worth more than $3.5 billion. He is a past president of the Automotive Training Managers Council - a global non-profit organization dedicated to sharing best practices and recognizing outstanding training in the automotive and heavy vehicle industries.