Museum exhibit representing annual training plan
Training & Learning

How to Create an Annual Training Plan For Employees (Plus Free Templates)

As we’ve written about elsewhere, it’s vital for Learning and Development professionals to match their learning strategy with company business goals. And although the process sounds complicated, it doesn't have to be if you have the right tools.

A great place to start is with the annual training plan for employees. Leveraging these documents will help you and your team meet the training needs of employees and make meeting those organizational goals much more achievable. 

Today, we’ll walk you through the six key components that make up an employee training plan, guide you toward some free templates to get you started, and outline how a learning management system (LMS) can help get you going. 

So, what is an annual training plan for employees?

employee training asset cover

Make sure you cover all your bases.

What is an annual employee training plan?

An annual employee training plan is a document that outlines a training program for employees within an organization and is crucial for overall training management. 

The annual development plan will include your learning strategy’s training goals, learning outcomes, and training methods. These plans can either be for the organization as a whole or individual employees. A training plan will consider current employees’ skills in the context of your organization’s short-term business goals. 

To achieve long-term success for employees and your organization, including employee development plans in your annual training plan process is crucial. These plans concentrate on individual career growth and are essential for the maximum impact of your learning strategy and the overall success of your annual training plans. 

Before we move on to what you need in your training plan, let’s quickly address a must for any modern and effective training strategy: a training needs analysis. 

First, a training needs analysis

To design an effective training plan, you'll need to identify the intended employee training objectives your plan will achieve.

To do so, you’ll need to conduct a training needs analysis to identify the skills your employees need to do their job well. It will also help you decide which training materials or programs will impact your employees’ everyday work, helping meet their training needs when and where they need them. 

To help get you started, here are some free resources to help you plan a training needs analysis:

Now, we can delve into the nitty gritty of designing your first annual training plans. 

6 key parts of an annual training plan

Creating an annual training plan that delivers results requires carefully considering six essential components. 

By incorporating these six elements, you can ensure your employees gain new skills and competencies while helping your business reach its goals.

1. Current role or mission

To create an effective training plan, it is crucial to clearly understand the employee's current position or the organization's role and mission. This knowledge will help determine the most beneficial training content based on employees’ responsibilities and functions.

2. Training needs

Your training needs analysis will have given you a head start here, but you will need to define current employees’ skills and the new skills they need to carry out their jobs effectively. 

3. Training goals

A training plan will need to include achievable training objectives and action plans for employees to reach them. Making these training goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) helps you align these goals to benefits for both employees and the company. 

4. Type of training

The annual employee training plan will include the types of training activities or courses that will help employees learn their new skills and reach those training goals.  

Some different types of training to consider when developing your training programs include:

  • In-person training: Job training that occurs face-to-face and can include mentoring, instructor-led training, coaching, or seminars. 
  • Virtual training: eLearning is a training process that includes online training courses, virtual reality, recorded lectures, or videoconference seminars.
  • Blended learning: An L&D approach that traditionally splits learning into in-person training and self-paced eLearning.

4. Resources

A training plan will list the training materials and resources employees can access or leverage to help them reach their goals. These can include resources supplied in training sessions, such as textbooks or company policy.

5. Metrics of success

When planning your training program, it's essential to consider how you will measure success. Creating SMART goals is a good start, but it also helps to clearly define success metrics so you and your employees can understand how the training will improve job performance.

6. Training schedule

Finally, you will need to set a timeframe for the training plan. This includes the dates for training sessions, the time necessary to complete the plan, and when check-ins will occur to discuss and adjust the plan.

Why is an annual training plan beneficial?

By now, you’ll be wondering what makes an annual training plan useful to you, your employees, and your organization. 

Training plans help you and your team understand the gaps in employees’ skills and knowledge, ensure they have the competencies to perform in their roles, and help the organization reach those crucial business goals. 

On that note, these plans also empower employees to enhance their job performance as they set goals to learn those new skills or even just attend a training session as a refresher to help boost their confidence and ramp up productivity.

Leveraging training plans is a sure way to help impact employee retention. A recent report shows that companies with a strong learning culture have 30%-50% higher engagement and retention rates

By implementing training plans, you demonstrate to employees that you are providing them with growth opportunities, increasing the likelihood that they will stay with the company. A well-designed plan can also help with succession planning and retaining organizational knowledge.

Templates for annual training plans

We’ve lined up some annual training plan templates to provide you with a foundation and help inspire ideas to get you started on implementing your plans. 

We’ve curated two types of free employee training plan templates you can leverage today: New-hire training and individual development plans.

New hire training plan 

When it comes to onboarding, we recommend that you implement a new employee training plan template for all your new hires. 

These new hire training plans can be the same for everyone, covering the organization’s culture, policies, and business goals or role-specific plans to help employees learn the new skills needed to perform their new role. 

Here are some templates and checklists to get your new hire training plans up and running:

Individual development plan

These training plans are for current employees and will generally be part of a regular performance review or an employee development plan. 

These plans will focus on developing an employee’s existing skills with training programs designed to help them ramp up their job performance. Additionally, you can leverage individual development plans in succession planning, developed in collaboration with the employee. 

The following employee development plan templates can help you get started:

Collaborative learning and annual training plans

You can also leverage these 23 employee training templates and checklists for better training programs to get your annual training plans up and running.

To make a significant difference in employee retention and achieve organizational objectives, we suggest leveraging a modern, all-in-one learning platform that exceeds the capabilities of a typical learning management system in conjunction with your training plans.

360Learning will gear up your L&D practice by leveraging AI-powered tools to ramp up your upskilling and reskilling training activities, automating your routine tasks with a few clicks, and empowering your internal experts to collaborate with your team to create impactful training programs at pace.