Over the past six months, something profound has happened to the ways employees perceive and consume training. “It” feels like it started at the end of last summer and continued through the fall and into the winter. I thought things would be different in the New Year, but it doesn’t feel that way. Maybe it is the virtual burnout syndrome of working 18 hours a day in front of a computer with little to no socialization. Or maybe it is higher expectations for corporate goals and objectives because Wall Street always wants more and for many companies, the last few years have been exceptional from a financial perspective. Or, maybe it is that some of the training that has been put out there which was forced upon unwilling employees was really bad. In reality, “it” is probably a strong dose of all three things.
What I have observed is that too many employees don’t seem to have the desire or time for training even though there are more choices than ever to develop the skills and capabilities needed to achieve short-term and long-term success. Eventually, if too many employees become disengaged there will be a significant erosion of skills and capabilities that will impact the long-term success of businesses around the world.
If you are a business leader, line manager, or talent development professional, you should be concerned. Here are 10 positive things that you can do to help support your employees to want to participate in training again. You should make sure your training programs are:
Part of your expectations – Employees need to know the expectations and desires of their organizations. With so many choices they need guidance and coaching on which programs are best for them.
Part of a larger plan – Employees need to know where the recommended training fits into the larger plan of career development and current business execution.
Relevant – Nobody wants to sit there and be lectured to about subjects that have no relevance to their jobs or careers. There needs to be explicit relevance and as importantly, the relevance must be communicated in an effective manner, so employees understand the benefits.
Timely – The topics of new training should be current and valuable for the job at hand today. The training also needs to be concise and focused on the key timely points that are needed to achieve current goals and objectives.
Applicable – Theories and research from the 1970s are for Universities, not the global diverse and inclusive organizations of today. The content must be easily understood and immediately applicable back on the job.
Engaging – Boring, page-turning PowerPoints with unqualified people reading them is not good training. Employees want engaging activities like business simulations that are immersive and designed for adult learners.