Corporations all over the world spend a lot of time and money on training every year. The importance of workplace training cannot be stressed enough. Medium and large corporations lead the training budgets by investing so much in employee training initiatives.
The sad part is that about 90% of the new skills learned in the training initiatives are lost and forgotten in under a year. Failed training initiatives not only come at a cost, but they can also adversely affect employee morale and productivity. Budget is not the only factor that determines the success or failure of corporate training programs. Other factors that affect the effectiveness of employee training include the use of outdated and boring training ideas and methods. We will discuss them in detail later.
This challenge affects companies across all levels. It is imperative to understand why these training sessions fail and more importantly, how best to avoid the pitfalls of inadequate training. No two organizations face the same set of challenges. There are however commonalities that have been observed across a majority of organizations. No business is immune to training challenges.
This post has combined a detailed list of ten most common causes of failed employee training initiatives and strategies for ensuring the effectiveness of your initiatives from the onset.
Poor structuring of the training initiative
Structuring a training initiative is crucial to its success. You have to come up with a well-articulated plan of action, realizable goals, and the expected learning outcomes. Write down a step-by-step guide outlining how your stated objectives can be achieved. It is good to set realistic goals. If your goals are not well structured, realizable or logical, chances are high that your employees will disengage. Avoid dealing with large groups. Try to reduce training sessions to 10-15 people. That way, everyone will have a chance to participate. Do not let a few individuals dominate the conversation.
Complicated learning materials
Some companies try to minimize logistical expenses and maximize available resources. Such companies prefer to offer intensive and long training programs which overwhelm employees. If the workers find it hard to understand the materials, implementation would be difficult. Learning is a process, and people cannot absorb and remember complicated information in a short amount of time. They will learn fast and forget even faster. Ensure that information is direct and easily understandable. Make adjustments to complicated materials before rolling out the final version.
As an HR leader, it is your responsibility to communicate the reason for the training initiative clearly. Most organizations fail to explain to their employees why the initiatives are being rolled out.
Bad timing for launching a training initiative
A training initiative is a highly structured event that included clearly stated training outcomes, steps to realize the objectives and long-term goals. External factors like employee morale can be the difference between the success and failure of an initiative. Conducting a training initiative at an inappropriate time is likely to lead to failure. Many employees lack interest during such times and may fail to see the benefits or value of the training courses. While the intent may be noble, the result is mostly far from ideal. Some workers may skip or leave sessions early if the timing is not right.
Failure to incentivize the training initiative
Failing to incentivize a training initiative effectively is another common reason for failure of training initiatives. Incentivizing does not need to be necessarily in monetary terms. Employees look forward to gaining something from the initiative. A bonus or acquisition of a new skill may be all they need to gain from the exercise. It is your responsibility to come up with an initiative that will make your employees know that they have something to gain from taking part in the process.
Bad physical environment
Choose an ideal location for training sessions. If your employees are uncomfortable or distracted in their learning environment, learning cannot take place effectively. Invest in a well-ventilated room that looks professional and has comfortable seats. Refreshments, audio, and video presentation equipment are good additions.
Lack of proper planning and poor time allocation for the training initiative
Planning is key to a successful training initiative. Early preparations will go a long way in ensuring that your training is effective. Most training sessions take place outside regular working hours. Avoid rolling out training initiatives at busy times of the year. The start and end of the year are both inappropriate times. Most employees prefer undergoing training initiatives on their own time. Some employees work on hourly basis while others work on shifts. Hourly workers may resent training on their own time without being compensated adequately. It is also a bad idea to ask shift workers to engage in lengthy training sessions after work. As a Human Resource leader, it is your responsibility to make sure that your training initiative respects the limits of the demographic in question.
Repeating the same training materials and programs
Times are changing and so are training materials and teaching styles. Challenges, technology, ethics, and policies are changing every other day, and it is imperative to adapt to the changes. All these factors shift the identity and objectives of a company. The changing trends means that training materials and approach to training programs need to be regularly updated. Do not give your workers a tattered training manual that has been in use for years. Your training manual needs to be appealing, relevant and up-to-date for your employees to take the whole exercise seriously. Consider spicing things up by making the training modules accessible online in a convenient and inspiring format.
Failure to take into consideration organisation’s culture by facilitator
Every organization has its own culture. Ensure that the outside consultant understands your workplace values when giving out lessons. Some consultants fail to recognize the climate, unique needs and present strengths of a business and its employees. They ignore what the workers already know which is a recipe for disaster. The result is delivering training initiatives perceived by the employees to be condescending and irrelevant. It is essential to maintain a balance between internal insight and external expertise.
Neglecting what happens after training (evaluation)
Training experts have revealed that most organizations do not evaluate or follow up what their employees have learnt and the impact of the initiatives. New skills learnt in training need to be practiced and applied. A positive reaction to a training initiative is not enough proof that your employees have made the most out of the sessions. Long-term evaluation by HR departments is an effective strategy to gauge the effectiveness of one’s training. Do not neglect what happens after training. After mastering new skills, ensure that your employees make the new knowledge an integral part of their day-to-day job performance. Try adopting a learning management system complete with a built-in tracking, evaluation and feedback tools.
Training Needs Analysis (TNA)
Training Needs Analysis is a learning and development strategy that addresses skills gaps at the individual, group and organizational levels. It consists of a series of activities carried out to either identify or solve a company’s problems and to determine whether the training program in use is appropriate or not. Some of the events that trigger TNA are: technology change, drops in productivity, legal changes and customer service survey feedback.
A Training Needs Analysis considers:
- Training methods.
- Organization’s needs.
- Current competencies.
- Cost of training.
To warrant maximum return from training initiatives, it must be carried out at all the three levels. This analysis pinpoints the required skill level and the current skill level. The ground in between represents the gap. Besides identifying this gap, Training Needs Analysis is designed to pinpoint the most suitable training to bridge this gap. Some of the techniques used by organizations in Training Needs Analysis include one-to-one interviews, SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and SMART objectives.
Steps to conducting Training Needs Analysis:
- Determine the desired training outcomes by clarifying the objective of the training.
- Link the outcomes with employee behavior, skills, knowledge, and qualities.
- Pinpoint and assess critical trainable competencies.
- Evaluate the competencies and define performance gaps.
- Making training needs a priority and identify the portion of employees that need training on the competencies.
- Consider various ways of conducting the training.
- Perform a cost-benefit analysis.
- Plan for training evaluation.
Remember that training is a process, not a one-time event. People do not accept change easily. You should focus on making your employees transfer the knowledge and skills learned into work performance. Focus on making the training stick long-term, or workers will revert to their old ways sooner or later. When done right, training is a wise investment. This article comprehensively explains the 10 reasons why your trainings may fail & how to fix it with Training Need Analysis. Try implementing some of the mentioned strategies, and you will begin to notice positive changes in the workplace.