“You don’t hate history; you hate the way it was taught to you in high school.”
American Historian Stephen Ambrose

Ever wondered why getting employees to attend a training session at work is such a difficult task?

Regardless of how much fun or informative the sessions are, there is always someone who makes excuses for not showing up. Sigh!

Employers invest heavily in staff training

Businesses are investing more in trying to improve their employees’ skills. $359 billion was spent on training employees (globally) back in 2016.

But is this what the employees want? And is it really worth spending your time and money on?

A study conducted by McKinsey & Co, found that only 25% of respondents thought that training sessions improved their performance.

This means that 75% of the training was worthless, unfortunately.

A basic tenet of human psychology is that people have to like doing something in order for them to do it well.

If training comes across as a boring or uninteresting part of their corporate responsibility, don’t be surprised if they don’t show up for your meetings. Or worse, don’t expect to see no results from these sessions.

When an employee engagement program fails, the most common assumptions organizations make are:

  1. The activity wasn’t fun enough
  2. The company we hired for conducting the session wasn’t good enough
  3. Our employees are lazy and just don’t care

Sadly, these assumptions are not always true.

Unless employees are convinced that they’d really benefit from a training session, they won’t put in any efforts.

Here are the top 5 reasons why employees don’t care enough about your training sessions

1. Your employees don’t see value in the training sessions

Even if the topics are relevant, chances are that your employees don’t really care about it anyway.

Nobody likes boring classroom sessions. Unless you makes your learning programs fun, engaging and interactive, don’t be surprised to find your employees yawning or making excuses to leave.

2. Employees find the training sessions too long

Even if the topic is interesting, a training session which takes too long can be something your employees end up regretting. There’s an inverse relationship between the level of interest in the content and the time duration taken to deliver it.

3. Employees complain that training actually distracts them from work

One of the biggest complaints employees have is that they are busy and training takes them away from work.

Their work piles up behind them when they return. This causes resentment, which leads to significant discontent and a trainee whose mind is elsewhere.

4. The training sessions are too frequent

Overtraining can be a real obstacle to productivity. Learning is great. But only learning and never having the time or the opportunity to implement it can lead to frustration.

Sometimes, it can also become an excuse for employees to miss deadlines. You can tell your employees are being overtrained when they begin to exhibit outward signs of stress and start missing work more often.

5. You didn’t promote the program well

Poor attendance for a training session is not always the employees fault. A lot of it also depends on how you promote it.

Most HR leaders are great at coming up with ideas to engage and motivate employees. But fail to market it well. Training sessions need to be promoted in a way that employees find it useful.

The modern workforce today is dominated by millennials.

The working styles and the general attitude of millennials towards their careers is different from older generations.

This generation is keen on learning new skills. Motivating them to do so isn’t really a problem. All that the HR and Learning & Development teams need to do is to plan how they’ll promote each training session.

Organizational development teams need to focus on internal communication proactively to engage employees and remind the team members to complete mandatory courses. If done well, this can increase engagement, boost attendance, and enhance the ROI of your organization’s talent development activities.

To boost participation in your training sessions, here are 5 things you can do

1. Ensure that the program is relevant

Employers shouldn’t forget that both the work culture and the education system have evolved greatly in the past few years.

Gone are the days when a graduate with a technical degree lacked basic soft skills like presentation or public speaking. Or someone with a degree in humanities wasn’t familiar with computers.

Employees today are more street-smart than ever before. They’re also very proactive and learn most soft skills needed for a job before they graduate from college.

If you really want employees to attend training sessions at work, make sure it’s relevant. Pick a skill that’s in-demand in the market. And something your employees will really benefit from.

2. Give your employees enough time and space to develop themselves

According to a report published by LinkedIn, employees say that they’d learn better if they have control over their learning journey. Everyone has a different pace and style of learning.

While training sessions are great to initiate the learning process, it’s important that you give each employee their own time to learn and develop a new skill.

3. Encourage a blended approach to learning

Bookish knowledge without practical experience is not very useful.

To reinforce what they’ve learnt, training sessions must, ideally, be followed by simulated activities, group discussions or a quiz.

A blended approach to learning, involving several media and methods is what works best for employees.

4. Encourage collaborative learning

One of the biggest barriers to learning is time. 63% of millennials and 58% GenZ employees say they’re keen on learning, but don’t have enough time. According to a LinkedIn report, modern employees prefer social and mobile learning opportunities.

They prefer access to the training material online, so they can refer to it whenever they want.

Employees also like having an online discussion forum where they can share their opinions, ask questions and interact with the trainer.

Collaborative and online learning is also a great way for introverts to open up, gain confidence and bond with their colleagues better.

5. Encourage feedback and involve employees in the design of your training program

One of the biggest mistakes HR leaders make is thinking that they know what’s best for their employees. When picking a topic for a training session, the ideal process should be:
1. Analyse your employees’ skills
2. Find out what’s in-demand in the market
3. And fill the gaps

It’s also a wise idea to ask employees what skills they’d like to learn.

Organising learning programs that factor your employees’ choice is also a great way to boost attendance.

Asking them for feedback after every session is another way to ensure good results.

Employees need to be reminded constantly, that learning is a great way to utilise their time.

Employees are also more enthusiastic about learning a new skill if their manager of a senior they admire encourages them. When promoting your training sessions, do keep this in mind.

Are you struggling to attract employees for your training sessions?

Not sure what training methods will work best for your employees?

Let d’frens help you. Get in touch with us to know more about our experiential learning solutions.

Not sure how to convince your employees to attend your training sessions?

Let d’frens help you design internal communication that’s clear, cost-effective and compelling.

Get in touch with us NOW

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October 18, 2019 in Blog