Developing and maintaining a successful training program is a difficult thing to do in a world of variables. The people you’re training change. Technology evolves. Learning styles change.
So why does our training program always stay the same?
If your company is experiencing challenges with your training program, never fear. We have developed a list of three common training challenges facing learning and development professionals, as well as an innovative solution to each.
Challenge #1: Time and resources are limited; after initial formal training there is no time for structured learning.
Solution: Okay, first things first. If you haven’t already invested heavily in your training program, there’s no better time than now. People these days are more qualified than ever before, therefore talent is richer but tolerance is scarcer. “65% of employees say the quality of training and learning opportunities positively influences their engagement,” according to BizLibrary. Investing in training is no longer a choice if you expect your employees to spend their career producing, advancing and staying with your company. Make training a priority in the budget, and prove its ROI to the rest of the company with actual data and analytics.
Your learners want and expect proper training and performance support all throughout their careers. Employees need to get a sense of advancement potential and investment from their employers. Make that investment! If time is limited, make sure you have a digital and mobile option for your training materials and keep them updated. That way, your learners have easy and immediate access to their training content whenever they need it. At the very least, give them a way that fits their learning style to reference their materials easily. Rather than “making” time, we ought to encourage time for our employees to learn. Designate time for ongoing learning every day. Promote it. Your employees will be better for it, which translates to talent retention and ROI on your training investment.
Challenge #2: Failure is viewed as a negative too often.
Solution: With every mistake, comes a learning opportunity. Don’t be afraid of failure! Failure is not only inevitable, but necessary for life-long learning. Treat every single mistake as an opportunity to grow, learn and evolve.
Unsure how to do that? Scenarios would work great here. What could your employee have done instead to change the outcome? Act it out! Use these situations as examples of what not to do and grow from it. Change and adaptation are necessities.
Challenge #3: Your training isn’t engaging or effective for your learners.
Solution: If you’re struggling to gauge and prove the effectiveness of your training, you aren’t alone. To solve this problem, first it’s important to ask yourself “does my training program fit the audience of learners?” Your employees are from different generations, backgrounds, experiences, so they inherently have different styles of learning. If you’re training a group of Millennials (which is what 75% of the nation’s employees will be by 2020) they aren’t going to perform as well without technology. Since Gen Y’ers are digital natives, companies that aren’t using technology are not only missing out on unlocked potential, but drawing them a map to their next career move. Always address your audience with your training program. Know who you’re training and teach how they’ll learn best. This is going to significantly improve your training effectiveness. If you’re teaching the way your employees want to learn, they’ll perform better in the actual job.
To make your training more engaging, be strategic! What about your training is causing your audience to rebuff it? Based on their learning style, how can you improve the way your message is being delivered? As in the Millennial reference above, if you’re not using technology in your program then you’re losing that group’s attention and engagement. Gamification is a hot topic in L&D because it’s shown to work! Our culture responds positively to a little healthy competition and incentive-based learning. If what you're doing isn’t working, you can’t be afraid to try something new or switch it up! This is the key to engagement- keep your program familiar yet surprising. Unexpected twists always keep attention.
The biggest takeaway from this post is to invest in your employees. Your investment is noticed by your employees and pushes them to strive harder to prove their worth to your organization. Not investing results in the opposite behavior.
“10 Practical Insights to Improve Your Learning Culture” by Big Think Editors, bigthink.com; “How to Create a Positive Learning Culture” by Paul Schoemaker, inc.com; “Top 5 Training and Development Challenges” by Margot Carmichael Lester, content.lionbridge.com; “Training and Employee Engagement” by BizLibrary, slideshare.net.