This is the time of year when companies start to open up their new budgets for training dollars, but how are you going about your training plan this year? It’s pretty easy to look at workshops or courses as they come around and send one of your people because maybe you have available budget dollars and they “might learn something from it.” But, taking on a more proactive, well-rounded approach to training and professional development is crucial to getting the best ROI from investing in training your people. Here are three important steps to take to ensure you are setting your company up for a sound professional development and training program:

Establish an End Goal — Why do you want to train your team in the first place? Do you want to improve your bottom line? I’d guess this is a yes in most cases, and data backs up your line of thinking. Maybe you want a standard onboarding curriculum to give everyone the same baseline knowledge of customer service, sales skills, or your company’s internal processes. Whatever it ends up being, this is critical. Your own buy-in is going to be the force that gets this thing off of the ground.

Designate Your Training Champion — There is nothing that can kill a training program faster than taking a set-it-and-forget-it approach. Elect a champion of your program. Not everyone has a training coordinator. It certainly makes it easier if you do, but you need someone to be the face of the program for your team. This person’s job is to always keep the ball moving forward. Run a quick report to see who is and who isn’t succeeding. Who is making progress and who isn’t launching their coursework at all. Celebrate the ones who are doing well, and you will see how quickly the others follow.

Embed it Into Your Culture — If you build your team’s goals with training in mind, you have the perfect opportunity to make this part of your annual review process with your teams. Your team will understand the importance of training to you if you keep it in front of them. Money is not always the best incentive. You’d be surprised how big a motivator a kudos is to someone who has spent several days each week improving themselves for the team’s benefit.

Thinking about putting together an employee training program? Feel free to shoot me any questions you have at and loop in HARDI’s training specialist Liz Rock at We’d love to help you and your people grow. For more information, visit

This article was published in HARDI’s February 2019 Thermostatus newsletter.

Publication date: 02/22/19