How to Tell if Your Employee Training Sucks & What To Do it If It Does

Peter PsichogiosLearning & Development

So many organizations nowadays are using the same old boring methods to train and develop their talent.  This includes long in-person classroom learning with boring PowerPoints, manuals, policies, cheesy videos, role playing, etc. On top of this, much of the information is given to them all at once and they feel overwhelmed by getting too much content, too fast.  They cannot digest the information properly and so much of the training they are given is lost within the first couple days.

Many companies are not taking the time, energy and effort to onboard their new employees properly.  In fact, a recent Quora study showed that 35% of companies spent $0 on onboarding.  This is a huge problem, because if you are not investing the time, energy and money on your employees from the beginning, they are likely not being set up with the best opportunities to delight their internal and external customers.  Also, if you’re not focusing on carving a path for ongoing development, your employees are likely to be un-motivated, un-engaged and un-inspired to want to stay with your company for the long term.

Common Training and Development Mistakes

I would argue that for the most part, even with the billions of dollars invested over the last decade, most learning and development is not effective, suffers from significant drop out rates and is either unengaging, too long or just plain boring.

Some of the most common training and development mistakes organizations continue to make include:

  1. Too Much Information. Organizations try to give learners as much as they can, as fast as they can. I describe this as being analogous to drinking through a fire hose.
  2. Poor Job Converting to Online. When they do focus on an online environment instead of in person training, many organizations do a poor job of converting their instructor led content to an eLearning or mobile learning environment.
  3. Not Enough Time Reinforcing Learning. Most organizations focus too much time, energy and effort on designing and delivering the learning and not enough time on following up, reinforcing and implementing the learning with an action plan. Having an action plan is the key to transferring learning to a real life environment and holding the learning (and their manager) accountable for their training and development.  Read more about Why Action Planning is the Key for Successful Learning.

Fixing Common Mistakes With Training and Learning

If you are a learning leader, it is important to focus on delivering your training and development with a Layered Learning or Spaced Learning method.  Spaced learning focuses on delivering learning in small, digestible doses over a longer course of time to that the learner can digest, practice and retain what they have learned.

Some helpful tips to consider when building your training/learning program include:

  1. Focus on building a learning program that only requires a small-time investment every week. GES’s Layered Learning programs take the learner roughly 15 to 20 minutes weekly. Therefore, they do not require taking people off the job for large chunks of time.  We also develop even shorter microlearning programs which deliver content in small 60-90 second digestible videos. Find out more about microlearning and if it’s a good fit for your organization.
  2. Utilize repetition, follow up and reinforcement as well as accountability, tracking and measurement to make sure that your training will be able to transfer to a real-life environment.
  3. Link your associates development to support and involvement with his or her direct supervisor. Leaders value being involved in the development process with their team and being accountable to their supervisors, learners will be more likely to engage with their learning.
  4. Follow up with an Action Planning process to coach, support and provide developmental feedback to team members.
  5. Give learners a chance to practice, drill and rehearse in a safe learning environment. Make sure there are lots of opportunities throughout your training and learning program for learners to practice their skills before they transfer it to a real life environment.
  6. Deliver every word of the training/learning in the learner’s spoken native language, with cultural sensitivity and relevance (i.e. without voiceovers or cheesy subtitles). Delivering learning in-language is more respectful to learners and they will be more likely to engage and understand training and learning that is culturally relevant to them, which means they are more likely to successfully transfer that learning to a real-world environment.

Additionally, although retention is important, too many organizations focus primarily on learning retention and not on how easily that information is to retrieve for the learner. Learning retrieval is so important because it allows the learner to retrieve the content or the competency when and where they need it to make a difference with a colleague or a customer.

Next month I’ll talk more about the benefits of applying these techniques to your Training and Learning program.  If you want more information on creating a custom learning program in your organization, get in touch at [email protected] and/or check out our learning services here.