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4 Tips to Develop your Developmental Training Program

Your new hires are onboarded, they’re equipped with the skills and training needed to do their jobs, and you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Well…not quite. 

The training journey doesn’t end here, because the employee journey doesn't end here. What about that promotion 18 months from now, how do you make sure your employee is ready? Or what about that manager job that’s going to open up at the end of the year, do you have someone on the team in mind? Do they have what it takes to be a manager? 

The goal of developmental training is to strengthen the set of skills that employees have to use on the job, and work towards building a new set of skills that will equip them for the future. 

Developmental training is a strategic tool both for the growth of your employees, as well as the growth of your business. 

Similar to new hire training and ongoing training, developmental training comes in many forms, and is typically most valuable when it’s a combination of formal and informal, classroom and “on-the-job”, virtual and hands on. The way you administer the training depends on who you’re training, what you’re teaching, and your desired outcome. There’s no silver bullet program, or we’d be selling it with a bow. 

There are lots of things to think about as you future-proof your team, so we’ve put together a few pointers to help you provide developmental training that is valuable and accessible to your people, as well as realistic and relevant for your business. 

#1  Start with a Training Needs Assessment 

At Metafora, we believe the best way to find out what’s most important to your people is to ask them. It’s no different when it comes to training. If you’re wondering where to start in building developmental training for your people, sending out a training needs assessment to your team will help you gather inputs on what skills, resources and support employees want and need to succeed. 

It doesn’t need to be fancy, or lengthy, or cover everything under the sun. Survey your team and focus on asking how valuable developmental training is to your employees, what topics are most important to them, and how they prefer to learn. You can use data gathered to help make decisions about what to build. 


#2  Don’t Neglect Soft Skill Training

Upskilling isn’t just about technical skill development, it’s also about equipping people with the necessary social, interpersonal skills to succeed. Take care to ensure that your curriculum covers a variety of topics, both technical and soft skill related.

A study by the Stanford Research Institute International found that 75% of the long term success in a given job role is based on the proficiency of soft skills, and only 25% of that success comes from technical skills. Soft skills are what makes someone a good team player, a strong mentor, or a great public speaker. These “people” skills aren’t just something your people are born with, or not. They can be developed and practiced and learned over time through training.  

Some of the most requested topics for soft skills training are Leadership & Management, Creative Problem Solving, and Communication. 

#3  Take Advantage of External Resources 

The good news is, when it comes to solving the developmental training dilemma your company faces, you’re not on your own. There are lots of resources, courses, and events to take advantage of, many of which are available at no cost to employees. 

As an employer, instead of setting out to build an entire library of internal coursework to cover all the areas of developmental training you want to offer, consider instead a library of resources pointing employees in the direction of coursework and opportunities that already exist on the market. 

One of our favorite spots to look for local events, both virtual and in-person is Meetup. There are thousands of professionals looking to network, brainstorm, and create together. Universities and Institutions are also great places to look for free coursework. They offer classes on everything from professional writing and communication to web development and Excel.

Taking advantage of external resources for developmental training is a great, low lift way to provide employees with immediate access to resources that would take you months to build in-house. 

#4  Leverage Your People: They’re the Experts

You’ve already asked your people what kind of training they want, now lean on them to help you build it. Crowdsourcing training by having experts train each other, means that employees will help build and deliver training for other employees. 

This means training managers to train employees, and training employees to train each other. Think about a technical training on something like Excel, chances are you have someone at your organization already who’s a bit of an expert in the area. They probably sit in finance. Rather than paying to outsource an excel training course, or worse yet, trying to build a course yourself when you’re not an expert, lean on someone who is. 

Collaborate with experts in different departments to leverage their expertise to help contribute training content. Finance can help build an Excel training session, Human Resources may contribute to soft-skill training, and Customer Service might be a great resource for training on difficult conversations. 


We hope you have enjoyed our four part blog series all about training. Metafora has helped develop training programs for multiple companies in the transportation and logistics space, and we are passionate about the progress we are helping people make in our industry. If you are interested in recruiting our help for your own training needs, we’re here for you. Reach out to start the conversation! Click the image below to get in touch.

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Maggie Norman
Maggie Norman
Maggie is the Director of People at Metafora and serves as an HR partner to our teams, assisting with hiring, payroll, engagement, performance and, of course, training.

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