Today more than ever, it is essential that the skills of employees be updated periodically to keep them relevant as new technologies and business best practices evolve. Companies of all sizes host or outsource training and development (T& D) programs to help their employees become more effective in their jobs and more engaged with their organization. These T&D programs are designed to enhance the hard and soft skills an employee may need in their current or future positions in the company. Despite the time, effort and money put into developing these T&D programs, however, many business leaders are disappointed to discover that their investment in T&D did not yield the expected benefits as the programs were not well received by the employees enrolled in them.
How Can You Tell if Training Programs Are Meeting Resistance?
In many cases, employees will not directly address dissatisfaction with new training programs. Instead, they will read the course material and complete the needed exercises, but will not fully implement the recommendations in the real-life execution of their duties. If after training, employees continue to approach their jobs in ways that differ from the processes outlined in a training program, it's a good indication that the program has failed to achieve the required results.
Why Training Programs Fail and How to Improve Them
One of the common reasons that training programs fail is that the employees who go through the program are only introduced to details and specifics, but never to the big picture. If an employee is never given the full view of how they, their co-workers and the company will benefit from the new knowledge and skills they’ve learned, it is less likely that they will apply the new skills and practices diligently. Presenting the big picture conveys a sense of purpose and respect to the employee, making them feel as if they are a truly important part of your company, its mission and its vision.
Many employees simply don’t find the training programs relevant enough to participate. They are content with status quo of doing things and do not appreciate or understand the benefits of learning new skills or techniques. Gamifying a T&D program can help increase participation and engagement in a program whilst giving them an appreciation of the value the new knowledge, skills and practices brings to them and their organization.
Another issue that can prevent employees from responding well to training programs is a poor user experience. Most people have seen examples of the infamous "boring training video" that is almost ubiquitous in the business world. If the content of your training program fails to captivate the viewer, it is less likely that the full amount of information contained within it will be absorbed by them.
In the case of training programs that are created to help long-time employees adapt to new policies and processes in the company, comprehension can also be a factor. A person who has been doing a given task the same way for several years may evidently have a very strong habit of doing it that way. When a new system is put in place, it should be explained carefully and completely, rather than run through briefly. Though new hires may be able to quickly adapt to new systems, it may be more difficult for a veteran employee to rapidly employ new processes in their work.
These are some of the most common reasons for training programs to fail. Ultimately, if your business has hired good employees who are truly dedicated to the success of the company, the success of a training program is simply a matter of presenting the new information in the right way.