Every organization stresses training and it is a legal requirement in many industries. Training managers and human resource personnel spend countless hours identifying, preparing, and delivering training. After training, we test to assess competency and mastery of information and skills.

With any training program, there are the associated training records. Records document who was trained, when they were trained, and what skills they have mastered. Training records provide documentation for regulatory agencies, information for personnel evaluations, and support for promotion or salary increases.

Training records can be used as a basis for goal setting or aid in selecting staff assignments by matching competencies with required skills. They also are useful for charting and reviewing personal progress toward annual goals.

Records are objective. They provide the data needed to make decisions based on actual performance after specific training. Records provide an easy method to identify training gaps that direct future subject matter. As a reminder, this gap analysis assesses the needs of the organization and the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and abilities (KSA) of the staff in relation to the jobs they perform.1

Recordkeeping Methods
Training record management can be very simple or complex, from certificates in a file to a custom electronic database. There is no one way to keep records but some methods make it easier to retrieve and use the data.

There are a number of commercial programs specifically designed for training records. These entities have a web presence and can be easily found. Some offer online database management or data storage. Some are part of a larger training package, while others only offer records management.

Paper records are the most common way to manage training records. Files can be created by person, by subject, or by date. Attendees sign a log sheet which is filed or they receive a certificate. Pick a system that works for you.

In order to maximize the usefulness and functionality of a paper file system, consider using a single summary sheet for organizing training records. If using the file folder method, this form can be stapled to the front of the file folder for ease of access; it can also be managed electronically. To be useful, summary forms must be kept current. The use of a single summary sheet per employee allows the manager to easily see what has been accomplished, tally the training hours logged, identify topics covered and mastered, and see what training gaps, if any, exist.This method enables the manager to easily compare year over year training. A summary sheet is useful when planning for upcoming training or goal setting for the next year. A number of such forms can be found on the internet by using a good search engine.

Employee Recognition for Training
In order to keep staff motivated about training, recognition of accomplishments is vital.We live in a world where employee pats on the back are expected. Younger team members especially are used to receiving recognition and kudos for even the smallest achievements. It follows that they would also expect recognition for these work-related achievements. For major events, such as achieving a certification or a specialty certificate, monetary rewards and sometimes promotion are standard. Often this is coupled with a mention in a company newsletter, a plaque on the wall, or a celebration lunch. But what about routine training? Do we recognize staff enough for ongoing mastery of new materials and new techniques? Such recognition does not need to be expensive or complex. A mention during a staff meeting or a monthly lunch to celebrate new masteries, are an easy way to provide that pat on the back in a meaningful way.

Some other suggestions include:

  • initiating a “Trainee of the Month” program;
  • recognizing achievement in a departmental email;
  • rewarding staff with trips to local or regional meetings;
  • allowing successful students to assist with training for less skilled employees;
  • posting photos of successful trainees with their specialty listed;
  • using masteries of new material as part of the employee evaluation process;
  • including training expectations as part of an annual goal-setting exercise;
  • sending a letter of congratulations from HR or higher level manager;
  • listing achievements in a monthly or quarterly in-house or professional society newsletter.

Another suggestion is to use competent staff as the core of a “Train the Trainer” program, building on their success to motivate other staff members to achieve.

Organizational behavior is important as it tells employees what is valued.2 If we value training, we need to recognize those employees who strive and achieve, not just for major milestones, such as certification, but for dedicated and ongoing learning. Training records can help determine who those dedicated employees are.


  1. Miller, J.A, and Osinski, D.M., Training Needs Assessment, February 1996
  2. Bersin, J., The Relationship Between Competencies and Financial Performance 9/index.php?pt=a&aid=269&start=3114&page=2


Ann Marie Dinkel, RLATG, has over 20 years of facility management experience, and serves as adjunct faculty for SUNY Delhi and Delaware Technical Community College. For the past several years, she has been a consultant and trainer in Laboratory Animal Science. Ann is an account manager for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states for Alternative Design.