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Staff training is part and parcel to elevating the performance of individual employees and an entire company. Today’s work environment, characterized by cascading changes to markets and technologies, demands that workers are regularly and quickly skilled up to meet emerging challenges.
But as a company’s training and development professional, how can you ensure that busy employees attend learning sessions?
An employee with an extensive to-do list will naturally prioritize their assigned tasks over workplace training. A busy schedule is usually the number one reason employees do not attend instruction.
Get your staff in the learning seat ready and excited for workplace training with these four strategies & plans.
1. Ensure You Are Providing Useful Instruction
It is a lot easier for employees to provide excuses for skipping workplace training if the information is not useful to them. In fact, it’s a very reasonable excuse. Why use up valuable time learning a skill they already have or do not need? A critical part of any workplace training plan is to ensure that you are providing new information that is relevant to employees’ jobs. If you are unsure of the gap between their current and desired aptitudes, simply ask. Send out surveys to employees and their supervisors inquiring about what they could learn to make them more productive and happier with their current job.
2. Block off Time for Training
This is likely the most obvious answer, but arguably the most important: make time for training during work hours. Do not expect employees to carve out hours for learning beyond those they normally log in. An employee tuition assistance program is great, but finances are only half the training battle. Workers also need the most precious resource, time. A successful training plan builds education into work schedules. Coordinate with employees and working teams to determine the hours and days when learning sessions are most likely to be fully attended.
3. Increase the Value of Workplace Training
If your organization suffers from a negative view of workplace training, endeavour to transform that perspective. Nurture an environment that values learning. Some tactics to employ include:
Encouraging employees to reflect on their work and share what they learned from their experiences as part of one-on-ones or team meetings
Supporting independent learning within and outside of the office
Nurturing a growth mindset, which promotes continuous development
Connecting learning with advancement and promotion
Aligning learning with organizational strategy and process changes
Need help to increase the value of workplace training at your organization? Our Learning Link newsletter is filled with insights on management and training to advance your company’s learning and business goals.
4. Make It Positive
The old adage goes that you can “catch more flies with honey than with water” - and it’s true for workplace training, too.
Frame learning initiatives in a positive manner, rather than a punitive one. Refrain from tying bonuses directly to workplace training or levelling fines against non-participants. This only serves to connect learning with negative consequences.
This disciplinary approach also creates a dynamic where development is externally driven by the company. The goal is for employees to be intrinsically motivated to learn. Workers self-guided towards improvement are more likely to attend workplace training and apply those lessons to the job.
Finally, savvy human resources managers note: KPIs may need adjustment to accommodate training initiatives. Expecting employees to work at the same level or hit previously determined goals that do not take into account the time for instruction and new skills application is effectively punishing employees, so recalibrate KPIs as necessary.
The Right Training Plan with the Right Training Partner
As a human resources and training professional, you know that getting employees into a learning session is only one challenging step on the development path. Encouraging self-motivation for learning, on-the-job new skills application, and learning alignment with employee and company objectives also must be taken in stride as part of the training plan.
Priority Management understands this. We have served as a training partner for thousands of companies - big and small - around the globe for over 40 years. We do not just show up and talk and teach. We work hand-in-hand with your team to develop customized work training programs that lead to measurable, positive behavioural change in your workplace. We follow up to ensure ongoing skills application that results in more productive, and happier working teams.