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How to make the effects of training last longer

A sad truth is that sometimes training is effective only for a certain amount of time. Then it seems like the employees are slowly going back to their old habits or knowledge pool. Usually the reason for this is not a bad training, but a poor approach by all sides involved.

Ago Cluytens is a practice director for the EMEA region at RAINGroup. In a recent blog of his, Clutens says that in Sales training there is a saying “The 120-day Curse” which means that between 85% and 90% of sales training has no lasting impact after 120 days. Sometimes the questionnaires given to employees show they feel like they are more knowledgeable after a training, but the overall results show different.

Cluytens gives out a few advices to improve the effects of training and make them truly last longer. Amongst them is one of the most important – engage the participants of the training well before the training will actually begin. Focus on the positive effects like “look, team, this might be a good way to improve our results even more” and avoid things like “you are all going training because we need better results from you”.

But you can go further than this. Involve the employees in the process. Ask them what they would like to improve on, what they would like to know even better. If your interests align, perfect. If they don’t, then be honest and say it: “We would love to help you train you in the things you want and how about learn these things right here, too?”. Then show them a few reasons how their performance will improve. Make them invested in the training.

Don’t be afraid to customize the training. Not everyone can learn new things the same way. Some prefer to read, others to watch, third to do it and so on. Then there’s the approach itself. Most people don’t really like training for the reason it feels like going back to school. Try to create a more open feeling, not teacher-students. Try to tailor the training towards the audience doesn’t simply show them what they can read from the book anyway.

A rather cool way would be to not even use the word “learning” or “training”. Instead why not “develop” skills or a mindset towards accomplishing specific strategic goals one might have. Focus on the goals and then show the results.

Use this approach for the selection of the training material, too. Find stuff that is actually tried in the real world and works. It may not sound so cool or inspiring, but you will know that is implemented right, it will work. There are materials that look great, but would be difficult to achieve the results they claim.

One last thing that most companies and people miss – the post-training engagement. For many after the training is over it means that is that and things should start happening by themselves. Instead try to actually find out if that is the case. Seek the feedback of the employees on a regular basis, ask them if they need something else or would like additional short webinars or tips and tricks and so on. Keeping them involved for longer will have a better overall effect and would make them more interested.