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5 Tips for Setting Realistic Training Goals

by Karin Klinger
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Published on August 4, 2016

Effective IT training managers often are faced with the responsibility of determining training goals for their team. Setting goals that are too ambitious can be overwhelming, while setting goals that are too low can often result in team members losing motivation. Striking the right balance and setting realistic training goals is critical to the training success of each individual as well as for the team.

  1. Realistic Training Timelines Understanding the real demands of training, and those of the workplace should be a key component as you work to establish your team's training goals.

  • Develop a clear expectation of how much time your team members can spend training on a weekly basis.

  • Develop an understanding of the time required to achieve training goals. For example, can a team member complete the Cisco CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-101 course in a month while still meeting daily work expectations? Probably not! The course is made up of 40 videos clocking in at a total of 23 hours, so it's probably better paced somewhere in the 8-12 week range when you consider practice and reading that will supplement the CBT Nuggets video training.

  • Consider using our Team Goal-Setting Workbook to help guide you through this process!

  1. Training that is Outcome Oriented Your training expectations should always be based on outcomes. With this in mind, what outcomes do you want and need from your team? What are you hoping your team will achieve as a result of their training?

  • Be specific in your expectations. Which particular courses or certifications do you expect your team members to complete or earn? (Keep in mind that you can always have different expectations of different members of the team! You can achieve skill diversity with your team by varying your expectations, giving your team greater breadth.)

  • Your expected outcomes should be measurable. How will you know if your team is successful? Will you use certifications earned as your indicator for success? Hours trained? Demonstrated new skills applied in the workplace? Be specific, and be sure to write down your expectations and clearly communicate your measures of success.

  • Work with CBT Nuggets Accountability Coaches to help develop a training program that will set you and your team up for ongoing, measurable success in the workplace!

  1. Relevant Training The best, most realistic training goals are those that are directly relevant to your team's work. If your workplace is currently using Windows Server 2012, perhaps your training expectations should include the MCSA Windows Server 2012 playlist. Be strategic in choosing which content your team should be using for their training.

  • Give your team the chance to weigh in on what they want to train on or how they want to improve their skills.

  • Consider new technologies or products you're not currently using in the workplace, but may be considering! Training your team on those products or technologies can help you determine if making a move or migration is worth it.

  1. Regular Review of Expectations and Progress Plan now to regularly review your training expectations and team progress, and inform your team of your plans for review! If your team is anticipating your periodic check on their progress, they will be more likely to complete their training as expected!

  • Some IT training managers will include training expectations in performance evaluations. This is a great way to keep yourself on track for reviewing each individual's progress as well as giving you a chance to make sure the training is improving overall team performance.

  • Use the reporting available through CBT Nuggets to better understand exactly what your team is achieving through their training. How many hours are they training? Are they making good use of practice exams? Are they completing assigned training courses?

  1. Seek Commitment Over Compliance Training is important. Help your team understand why! If you can build a sense of commitment to ongoing improvement among your team, there will be little need to force your team members to train.

  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for training, both for yourself and for your team! Use celebration to reinforce positive behaviors around training.

  • Training improves your team's performance, making them more effective and efficient. And it often can create a shared sense of achievement. Take time to recognize accomplishments made possible through team members attaining new skills and knowledge.

Following these five tips can help set your team up for training success! Take some time to create real strategies around your training and you will see demonstrable improvements in at work!

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