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Whether you manage a small team of like-minded professionals in a startup or a large enterprise with dozens of departments, employee development is important. It allows your staff to stay up to date on industry trends, improve their skillsets, and reconnect with their positions.

According to Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 71% of professionals see employee training and engagement as important for business success. And they’re right. Employees who participate in development programs generate 21% greater profitability. Training doesn’t only benefit bottom lines. It benefits the employee, too: 89% of HR professionals agree that ongoing employee feedback and performance tracking make their organizations a better place to work.  

That means you need to know how to write employee training learning objectives to facilitate your staff’s professional development.

6 Things to Do BEFORE Writing Learning Objectives

1. Clarify Departmental Objectives

Before developing employee training learning objectives, clarify the departmental goals of the employees you intend to train. Understanding the broad objectives will allow you to make more informed writing decisions for employee learning.

Let’s say a departmental objective is a 1.5% click-through rate from social media posts. This naturally steers the learning objectives toward social media management to help achieve that goal.

2. Determine Expertise

How skilled are your employees? Staff management training will require you to perform an audit before delving into new learning goals. Consider interviewing team leaders and their subordinates with a standardized set of questions to determine their expertise.

There is no point in implementing employee training modules that are too advanced for your staff. Instead, adjust the employee development program from the get-go to yield the best results.

3. Identify the Purpose of Each Training Module

When working on employee development, each training module needs to have a clear purpose. Do you need three different training modules for your digital marketing department? Can you cover everything your sales team needs in a single module?

If you’re regularly coordinating training or doing so for more than one department, you probably won’t be able to standardize the number of modules—nor should you try. Focus on purpose. That will keep your employees engaged and avoid confusion or boredom.

4. Describe Expected Outcomes

To motivate your staff to engage in the training, outline the expected outcomes for each module. Let’s say you are developing a training module for content marketers. Learning outcomes might look like this:

  • Understanding and command of SEO rules
  • Familiarity with trending content types and social platforms
  • Stronger link building and SEO within content

Each module should feature 3–5 expected outcomes to motivate employees.

Regardless of whether the training modules are optional or mandatory, including expected outcomes will have positive results. Optional trainings will see better employee development completion, while mandatory trainings should see employee participation during the training increase.

When doing employee training, keep track of objective progress using a kanban board.
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5. Explain the Learning Conditions

How exactly will your employees engage with learning modules? Given how expansive cloud-based learning platforms have become in the digital age, it might be worthwhile to host your training modules on the web.

Platforms such as Lynda and Coursera have built a reputation among some great employee learning and development programs in the form of online courses. Such courses would allow your staff to engage with learning modules at their own pace wherever they are, be it their home office or a coffee shop.

Whatever medium you choose, be sure your employees know how to use it.

6. Establish a Standard for Mastery

How will you know an employee has mastered a learning module? By setting standards for skill mastery. This ensures employees are ready to implement their new skills in a day-to-day workflow.

Decide how you will gauge employee training success and reward individuals who achieve goals. In doing so, you will boost employee morale and encourage your staff to engage in further learning.

Write Your Employee Learning Objectives

1. Use Simple, Direct Language

Once you’ve done your research on how your training modules will function and which goals your staff will pursue, write easy-to-understand objectives. Don’t assume  your staff members will be familiar with niche terminology, abbreviations, and industry jargon.

Write directions and objectives as conversationally as possible while maintaining a sense of professionalism. If employees are conducting this training by themselves, include contact information in the modules. Ensure department leaders and HR are available for any technical or content-related assistance during the learning process.

2. Link to Company Objectives

Just as you linked your learning objectives to departmental goals, you’ll also want to make employees aware of how their training fits into the bigger company picture. Employee learning modules should be as closely related to your company’s long-term vision, culture, and goals as possible. This is how you illustrate the relevance of your training.

As a bonus, upper management will appreciate that the employee development program considered the greater company goals and mission statement.

3. Include Your Standard for Mastery

Make sure the standard for mastery you established in the planning phase is clear from the start of the employee training program. With a performance goal in mind throughout the learning modules, your employees will pick up relevant information more quickly.

Professional transparency is always a good idea. Clearly outline what is expected from the employee upon completion, and they’re far less likely to get confused or distracted along the way.


Piloting a new employee development program in your company takes time, and you will likely encounter implementation bottlenecks early on. That said, the hard work is worth it. Amazon recently invested more than $700 million into new training modules for its employees. The expected outcome? Retention of one third of its employees by 2025. Now doesn’t that sound worth the effort?

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