A well-developed and well-rounded training program will create a “path of excellence” that impacts the bottom line as well as individual careers. If you are mindful of leadership and function in your training programs, you can see your path of excellence develop in five ways.

First, your functional or job-based training will create expert functionality. From the new hire level into the advanced levels, a skills based program helps employees progress career-wise, and helps the organization build a functional talent pool. To make this happen, your training has to go beyond the new hire level and address each career level in a particular job family. With this type of program, you’ve always got talent filtering through the pipeline.

Second, the leadership side of your training program imparts the skill and knowledge necessary to build functional leaders into organizational leaders. As your employees progress up the skills based training curriculum, be sure they have leadership, coaching, and management courses to go with it. The combination of job function and leadership produces supervisors and managers who can think beyond the function – a person who can analyze issues and create solutions. With this type of leader in your functional areas, senior managers can spend more time focusing on their issues instead of focusing on the front line.

Third, a path of excellence doesn’t exist without the network that a great training program provides. Consider the fact that you have skills based and leadership training occurring at the same time. You have employees who started work at the same time and are progressing together through the curricula. Your leadership programs will have team activities and learning interventions that allow employees from various areas to get together and learn about each other – and each of your organization’s functions. Now not only do you have a leader who can analyze issues at the functional level, but he or she can think about the effects of a decision on the organization as a whole.

Fourth, training creates a virtual path of excellence by creating a talent pool. The functional experts and leaders who prove themselves through the curricula and evaluation become part of tomorrow’s leaders. As you move them through, you can determine if each person is a professional who can lead in his or her own area, or even if he or she is a high potential leader, an employee who can be “plucked” from a functional area and put in a leadership position somewhere else. This talent pool allows you to select the employees who know the functions of the organization as well as have the leadership skills to keep employees moving up.

Finally, the path of excellence is solidified by retention. Your well-rounded training program encourages employees to stick around. It provides them with a definite career path and shows them that with hard work they can achieve many things. All of the pieces of your training program, as well as your talent pool, are insurance policies for a full talent pipeline. When a new hire enters the organization, you can show him or her all of the career possibilities that exist – and prove that there is a path to get there.

Training programs do more than just educate a workforce. They create a path of excellence by which the organization profits from the most competent leadership. Individuals profit from the path of excellence by having a career track to follow – they know how to make a place for themselves at the organization. When you consider building training programs, remember that you are not only creating curriculum, but also a profitable path of excellence.

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