Training Calendars: Why Your Company Needs One

August 2, 2017
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What’s a powerful way to increase your employees’ ownership of learning, stay on top of compliance training, and create a culture of personal development?

A training calendar.

Getting and maintaining a training calendar is a tiny workplace adjustment, and it can reap a lot of rewards.

In fact, you can use a training calendar to:

  • Manage the upskilling process of existing staff members.
  • Plan the onboarding and training needs of new staff.
  • Keep ahead of compliance training requirements.
  • Share information on training needs with others.
  • Create a culture of personal development and learning.

How to Make a Training Calendar

You need to decide what type of training culture you want to create.

Is your development strategy going to be collaborative? A collaborative culture might involve employees taking responsibility for their learning and requesting training opportunities.

Or is it going to be individualised? Where an HR team or group supervisor manages a training system, here the calendar would focus on compliance training or a strategy to minimise a skills gap.

An interactive training calendar works when opportunities are available to all and employees are encouraged to take on available training to develop as much as possible.

Then there’s the personal or team training calendar that belongs specifically to the people who are in charge of managing the personal and professional development of employees.

There are so many ways to create a training calendar and development strategy, and many of them encourage employees to take ownership of their development.

Take a look at our interactive training calendar template to see how to you can structure learning and development within your business.

HR personnel using a training calendar to share training opportunities


Manage Compliance Training

Compliance training is essential. And some training, like food hygiene or health and safety, is also a legal requirement for many businesses.

It’s worth setting aside some time to get on top of who needs to do what and when. Giving employees specific time to do their training also means that compliance training becomes an integrated part of the job.

Many employers struggle to get employees to do their compliance training, and more struggle to get employees feeling like it isn’t a waste of time.

You can combat this by setting aside specific time to do training. By setting this time aside, employees will be less inclined to worry and rush through training because they fear losing valuable work time, which ultimately makes the experience more efficient.


Share Upcoming Training Opportunities

If there’s ever an opportunity for an interviewing skills workshop, a wound care conference or a presentation skills lecture you never know who might want to get involved.

A training calendar can help you schedule potential training days and sharing them lets you find out who’s interested. You might just be surprised. Sharing opportunities for training through email or a noticeboard can also provide bonding time for staff, boost morale and uncover hidden talent within your existing workforce. So give it a go, there’s nothing to lose.

Team leader discusses training opportunities with employees


Promote a Learning Culture

A culture of continuous learning creates a healthier, happier workplace as employees feel empowered to learn more and to bring more. To instil a learning culture, you need to create a collection of learning-centred organisational values, practices, and conventions. A good way to do this is to create a learning contract. A learning contract allows you to discover the training needs and desires of people in your organisation.

One of the quickest ways to develop a learning contract, and thus a professional learning culture, is to invite employee responses to these four questions and to summarise them in a single working document:

  1. What is the impact and benefit of continuous professional learning in our organisation?
  2. Which are the most cost effective techniques for professional learning?
  3. What knowledge and skills will help us to meet our goals continuously?
  4. What can get in the way of our professional learning and what can we do about it?

The learning contract is a shared, working document that you can update in light of experience. It’s called a ‘contract’, but it operates more like a memorandum of understanding.

Provide employees with a fixed time slot each week to read and research at work. Formalising time for employee development encourages employees to use the time and will cement your learning culture. You can even ask employees to share what they’ve learnt or the articles that they’ve read with the rest of their team to foster mutual development.

Woman at a personal and professional development day


Fix a Skills Deficit

Sometimes there’s someone on your team who irks everyone because they lack an essential soft skill, like communicating tactfully or emotional intelligence. Or perhaps it’s a hard skill they’re missing! Either way, you can use a training calendar to manage skills within your existing workforce and plan opportunities to close skills gaps.

By 2020, the World Economic Forum reckons that the most wanted skills will be:

  • Complex problem solving.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Creativity.
  • People management.
  • Coordinating with others.
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • Judgement and decision-making.
  • Service orientation.
  • Negotiation.
  • Cognitive flexibility.

Does your team have these skills? If not, do you have a plan about how you’re going to get them?

You can also use a training calendar as evidence. So if you ever get into the situation where you have to let someone go – a training calendar can demonstrate that opportunities were made available to fix the problem, behaviour or skill deficit via informal means and training.


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