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Training policies are a crucial asset to your organization. They give your training department a day-to-day reference for decision-making, guidelines for taking action, and even guidance for allocating financial resources. A well-written training policy can help your entire training department run more smoothly and efficiently.
How do you create effective training department policies, and what needs to be included? Here are the key points every training manager needs to know.
Theoretically, you could create policies about dozens of topics. But there are six areas in particular that are most important because they are the universal core functions of most training departments:
For example, when a request for training comes in due to a performance deficiency, the training department should conduct a training needs analysis to see if training is the right solution to the problem. When someone in your organization requests training, your department needs to have a policy on how to handle their request.
How formal or informal is your request process? Do they need to make a formal training request via email? Do they need to fill out a form? Or can they stop you in the hallway and casually ask for training on any given topic?
The answers depend on the needs of your organization. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all training policy. But whatever the answers are, it’s important to define them in your policy.
In this case, for example, you might have a policy that all training requests must be made via email. That tells everyone in your organization how they should send a request, and it tells your department how to respond consistently.
Without a policy in place, other departments are likely to make training requests in many different ways. Without consistency, the process will be time-consuming, confusing, and frustrating for everyone in your organization.
Even if you don’t have time to go into great detail, it’s important to have a few basic policies in place.
Start by looking at the six core functions of a typical training department and create policies for the areas that are most relevant.
For example, course design and development are possibly the most important functions of a training department, so you may want to start there. Create a training policy that describes the design process that everyone in the department will use.
Doing that will provide direction for the training department and give everyone a day-to-day reference for making decisions about the design of courses.
Remember that you don’t need a policy just for the sake of having one. But since your policies will define the way your training department operates, having them in place can prove to be tremendously useful.
Simply put, every training policy has five components:
To be effective, your training policies don’t have to be wordy or complicated. But every policy needs to exist for a reason, and it needs to call out these five components.
A training department policy is only useful if everyone knows what the policy is and how to follow it. That’s why it’s important to create policies everyone will actually follow.
Make sure that every policy is documented in writing. A verbal understanding is often not enough. When a policy isn’t clearly documented, it can cause confusion and missed expectations.
Make sure everyone in your training department knows what the policies are and can explain them clearly to the rest of your organization.
In the long run, having your training policies documented can save a great deal of time, effort, and trouble.
Once you’ve established your policies, they don’t need to be carved in stone. They may need to be adjusted over time.
As your organization gradually changes, its training needs may also change. That’s why it’s important to revisit your training department policies and update them regularly.
On a yearly basis, review all of your policies and revise them as needed to match your organization’s current needs.
Effective training managers know how to run a training department like a strategic business partner. Instead of operating in its own silo, your department can position itself as a benefit to the organization as a whole.
Your training policies can provide guidance for allocating financial resources to your department. And they can help ensure your department is viewed as indispensable.
Take a look at your organization’s mission statement. The training department’s mission statement should reflect that of the organization.
That way, everyone knows you are there to support them. It helps break down the silos and positions your department to be viewed as an invaluable strategic business partner.
The training department policies you create will impact the way your department is viewed throughout the entire organization. Rather than being restrictive, well-crafted policies help everything run more smoothly and efficiently. Your training policies can even enhance the perception of the training department to that of a critical strategic business partner.
You’ll learn how to create the most effective training department policies in our Successful Training Manager workshop, where we discuss an exhaustive checklist of 59 different topics to consider when formulating your training department policies.
We'll provide you with some of our top tips and best practices!
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The Successful Training Manager (Recommended)
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