Organizing trainings for your team is very important, but it can be expensive. It’s natural that you would want a maximum ROI, but sometimes mistakes happen. It can be frustrating to have a training fail and usually it’s because of common mistakes.
Mistakes that usually can be avoided, but after all we need to know what to look for first. Most companies view trainings as simply gathering a bunch of people in a room and learning stuff. The IT segment is a bit different. The companies there are using newer techniques with great results.
But still, there are mistakes that everyone makes. Some can even make the difference between a successful training and a failed one. What is a failed training? There are two ways to find out. One of them is the initial response from the participants. It’s the obvious one – they simply give you a negative feedback. The other one sadly shows up after a while when you see that the participants haven’t really acquired new skills or they don’t really remember what they learned.
So, why did this happened? While each case is unique and requires a separate analysis, there are some common mistakes which can lead to the same results. Mistakes, that are easy to avoid in order to maximize the potential ROI of each training. Here are some of them.
The common mistakes why trainings fail
Poor “idea sale” and no plan. The team which will take part in the training needs to be “sold” on the idea. It should be something more than a simple “you will work easier with the new system”. You should give them a better idea of the long term effects of a successful training. For example what new skills will they acquire? How will this help the company in general, thus improving their careers? There are many benefits from a training along with the simple “you will be better at your job”. Also, don’t forget to show them *why* this training is needed. Show them the current state of the situation and how it should change afterwards. Have a plan what you want to accomplish.
Poor training design. It means to break away from the “traditional” way of learning. Learning is not simply reading from a textbook anymore. It should be more interactive, more modern, more engaging. Add gamification elements and make sure you know what is the learning style of the participants. Some can actually learn by reading from the textbook, but others would prefer something more visual.
Poor training structure. Trainings should be modular which would allow that learners to read and engage with as much content as they desire. The content should also be accessible via more than one medium, preferably on mobile as well. This will motivate employees to engage more with it.
The content is “dry”. Speaking of engaging content, the training should not be a wall of text and terminology. It should be more in tune with today’s world. Include more graphics, interactive features, even storytelling. Guide the learners through a scenario and give them the knowledge they need as things progress. Allow them to see how this will actually help them in the real world.
It’s too theoretical not practical. This one is similar to the one above. Don’t pour a vast amount of content without giving the participants in the training a chance the try it out. Practice is as important as the content. Let the participants make most of the inevitable mistakes during practices.
No reinforcement. You can’t simply have a training and then expect that everyone have learnt what they have to and will always use it. You should set up ways for the participants to refresh their knowledge, like access to training modules later on. Ask them for feedback how things are going and see if they need more training. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Actually, if someone from your team asks for a training, that’s the best thing ever. It means that the person(s) is/are invested in doing their best and you should give them this opportunity.
Poor integration after the training. Well, even if you’ve had a great training, it will be for nothing if learners can’t apply the new skills. If you are training your team for a new system or a platform, make sure it is fully deployed by the time the training is done. Also, make sure beforehand that the training you will have is suitable for your current processes and tools.
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / Dark Dwarf