9 Reasons Your Employees Are Resisting Your Training

Posted by Cortney Peters on Oct 16, 2015 3:00:00 PM


Many companies that suffered hardships during the economic recession of 2008 are still hesitant to invest heavily in anything, let alone training and development.


Many employees do not have a positive attitude toward training. Whether that is due to fear of change or lack of engagement – it is a real issue.


If you are hesitant to invest in your training program because your employees are resisting, discover the nine reasons for their resistance, then address them one by one.

  1. Inability to see the relevance. One reason that your employees may be resisting your training program is because they are unable to see how it relates to them or what the outcome will be. When employees don’t feel as if the provided training is beneficial to their job performance, overall success or daily lives, they become disinterested and resist.  It is hard for your trainees to put into perspective what the training can do for them, so they tend to take a “just get it done” mentality.
  2. Fear of losing control. This comes into play especially for seasoned employees who are required to continue training mid-career. Your tenured employees don’t want to give up control or feel like they are being forced to do something they don’t want to do. Employees will resist training when they fear a loss of control over their success.
  3. The job market is fluid. The time when an employee started a job with one company and finished his career there is long gone. These days, if an employee isn’t getting what they want or need from their employer, they have many opportunities to change jobs. We all have shorter attention spans and limited tolerance, which means employers have to give them a reason to stay or employees will find something else. If your training is not up to par, they will move on.
  4. Fear of change. If your employees do not embrace change, they may not see the value of ongoing training.
  5. Feeling undervalued by their employer. If your employees don’t feel as though they are appreciated, they will likely not take training seriously. Once an employee feels underappreciated, they begin to focus on the bare minimum expectations and fall short in ongoing training opportunities.
  6. Generational differences. Generational differences can play a large part in training resistance. If you are trying to train a baby boomer who has been with the company for years, you may find resistance due to their level of experience. When an employee feels they are highly experienced and overqualified, they may resist training simply because they feel they already know everything they need to know. Likewise, Millennials and Gen Xers can find anything they need to know on the internet or from other sources, and may resist simply because they feel they can find a better way.
  7. Punishment aspect. Sometimes your employees may consider training requirements as a sort of punishment. When your employees view training opportunities as punishment, rather than the benefit it can be, they are sure to resist and think negatively about it.
  8. Lack of input or voice. If your employees feel ignored or like their input isn’t valuable to the training program, they will oppose it. Everyone likes to feel as though their input is valued, and when they don’t feel that way they will be less engaged and less motivated to be trained.
  9. Intruding on their free time. Employees will undoubtedly refuse to participate in training sessions if they feel you aren’t respecting their time outside of the office. Training should not normally be required outside of work hours. 


Don’t fear investing in your training program simply because your employees are resistant. If you address the top nine reasons for their opposition to training, you can create a more positive view of training and garner all-around success of your program and your employees.

Sources: “Understanding Barriers to Training: How to Train Resistant Employees, Trainees or Students”, eleapsoftware.com.

Topics: Corporate Learning

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