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How to Set Realistic Training Objectives

How to Set Realistic Training Objectives

Posted on 01/21/21 By Brittany K. King

One of the most important steps in creating an employee training program is setting (and sharing) training objectives. Yet oddly enough, this phase of the process is often neglected.

Training objectives help guide your organization’s learning strategy, communicate the importance of training to your employees, and ensure your training program stays on track long-term.

Below is your go-to guide on how to write learning objectives for your employee training and development program.

What are Training Objectives?

Training, or learning, objectives are the intended outcomes you want your learners to achieve after they complete training modules. A training objective provides detail about what information needs to be acquired and what learners will accomplish with this new information.

Effective training objectives have these factors in common:

  • Realistic timelines
  • Outcome-oriented goals
  • Relevant coursework and training
  • Regular reviews and assessments to ensure long-term success

When writing training objectives, keep in mind they should highlight the specific and measurable goals you want to see from your employee learning and development efforts.

Common Training Goals for Employees

Before you work out how to set your training goals, consider your organization’s overall business goals and identify where gaps currently exist in your workforce. Your training objectives should center around closing those knowledge gaps so you can fulfill key initiatives.

You may have goals unique to your organization, but some employee training objectives are universal, including:

  • Employee retention. The modern worker values training and development opportunities. Investing in your employees will help increase retention rates.  
  • Upskilled workforce. Closing knowledge gaps and making sure your employees possess necessary skills will help future-proof your organization. Upskilling helps your workforce adapt to change and improve individual performance.  
  • Better offerings. Your employees define the quality of your company’s goods. Training helps fuel innovation and new ideas which ultimately helps improve your services and products.   

How to Write Training Objectives in 3 Steps

Now that you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to write out a learning objective that will help drive your training initiatives.

Here’s how to write learning objectives for your training program in three simple steps:

1. Clearly state the purpose of your training

Your learning objective should explain what you want to achieve with your training program and point out the specific skills or knowledge gaps you are addressing.

2. Define actionable and achievable goals

Make sure your training objective is based on realistic goals. Take potential obstacles into consideration so you can set your organization up for success with reasonable training goals.

3. Make sure your objectives align with organizational initiatives

Your training objectives should support your organization’s business goals. For instance, if your organization wants to improve customer relations, then your learning objective should reflect that sentiment.

Examples of Training Objectives

Your organization may even identify several training objectives – an overarching company goal, different departmental goals, and individual employee goals. But keep in mind that these different learning objectives should still support the overall company objective.

Remember to keep it short. Your learning objectives should be succinct and clearly communicate the overall goal of your training program.

Below are examples of various training objectives that may exist within one organization: 

Business Goals:

The organization needs to increase revenue by five percent, improve customer relations, and ensure proper safety measures are in place that follow new industry regulations by the end of Q2.

Organizational Objective:

Employees will learn new skills they can apply to their roles to support our business goals in Q1 and Q2.

Departmental Objective — Sales:

Every member of the sales team will partake in a minimum of 2 hours of weekly training to learn new techniques that will help improve sales numbers and increase profit.

Departmental Objective — Customer Service:

Customer service representatives will partake in a minimum of 1 hour of weekly training to learn new communication techniques to improve the feedback on our customer satisfaction surveys.

Departmental Objective — Warehouse:

Warehouse workers will partake in all state- and industry-mandatory compliance training to remain up to date on laws, regulations, and workplace safety.

Individual Objective — Salesperson:

Jane, the senior sales associate, will receive a certification in Advanced Sales so she can help improve departmental processes and assist with sales calls to support the rest of the team.

Set SMART Goals for Your Training and Development Program

Your employee training objectives need to align with business goals as well as address individual learning needs. All the training within your organization should either directly or indirectly drive toward the same overall goal.

However, attempting to fulfill everyone’s training expectations – all while trying to support organizational initiatives – can seem overwhelming. To make this easier, follow the SMART model when crafting your company training objectives.

SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Utilizing the SMART model helps you communicate your training objectives to employees in an engaging way.

the SMART model format

The above departmental and individual training objectives are specific and support the overall business goal. If you’re unsure whether or not your training objective is too vague, apply the SMART method.

Here’s how the SMART method would apply to the above business goal and customer service training objective examples:

The organization needs to increase revenue by five percent, improve customer relations, and ensure proper safety measures are in place that follow new industry regulations by the end of Q2.

Customer service representatives will partake in a minimum of 1 hour of weekly training to learn new communication techniques to improve the feedback on our customer satisfaction surveys.

Both the business goal and departmental objective include items that are:

Specific: Customer service representatives will partake

Measurable: improve the feedback on our customer satisfaction surveys

Attainable: a minimum of 1 hour of weekly training

Relevant: improve customer relations (business goal)

Time-bound: by the end of Q2 (business goal)


Remember: in order to write a successful training objective, you simply need to state your purpose, highlight actionable goals, and ensure those goals align with larger organizational initiatives.

Getting assigned the job of writing your company’s training objectives seems like a tremendous task. However, if you follow the above steps and utilize helpful models like the SMART format, writing a learning objective will no longer seem like a chore.

Looking to develop stronger employees? Follow these 7 steps to build an effective employee training program.



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