Companies in the United States spent $93.6 billion on training in 2017.
While we absorb this number, let’s see why training has become more than just an organization’s budget line item. The Deloitte 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report says that “executives identified building the organization of the future as the most important challenge for 2017” owing to the pace of technological change. Coupled with that is the concern of the growing rate of disengaged employees and the falling rate of employee productivity. Training and learning and development initiatives have emerged as powerful arrows in the organizational quiver to battle these concerns. And yet, when it comes to training programs, the completion rates for the same remain very low.
HR managers and L&D departments continue to be surprised when the number of active participants for training programs don’t meet the expected numbers – irrespective of the length of the training program. We often find employees escaping from these initiatives citing urgent work emergencies. While the employees do start the programs looking to enhancing their skills, as time progresses, “genuine” reasons such as that urgent email or that unavoidable client call or that unmissable deadline end up taking precedence over learning. Learning, therefore, often assumes a backseat and becomes a chore.
This is not to say that employees are not interested in their own advancement. While it might sometimes seem so, statistics reveal that most employees do not leave an organization because of compensation but for career growth opportunities. Millennials, who are gradually making up the majority of the workforce claim that career development and growth are of prime importance to them.
Organizations recognize that comprehensive training programs can contribute to a 24% higher profit margin through an increase in employee productivity. They are driving training initiatives to attract and retain good employees and create higher levels of employee engagement. And yet, most face an ‘employee interest’ crisis.
So why are organizations battling this ‘interest’ crisis? Here’s why:
Employees are already battling an overwhelming list of competing priorities – work, deadlines meetings…the list goes on. Add taking out time from this compelling schedule and you are just asking them to tick a checkbox and creating the way for the inevitable scheduling conflict.
We need to make training more flexible and available and on-demand to the employees so that they can consume it when their schedule allows it.
Show the value
Many employees skip training programs or do not show interest because they don’t see the value of the training to their personal success. In this age of personalization, if training is taking a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach then flagging attendance can be expected.
Organizations need to show employees how the training is going to help them not only do their tasks better but also how it will contribute to their personal development. This will ensure that training does not get pushed way down the priority list
To maximize training output and minimize expenses, organizations often organize these marathon training sessions -think intensive day-long programs. Understanding and retaining the volume of information disseminated there can lead to cognitive overload making it almost impossible for ‘learning’ to take place. This means all the knowledge will be forgotten and lost in a snap.
Short is sweet when it comes to training. Microlearning, interactive training experiences, gamification, video-based learning etc. improve learning and retention and manage to keep the learner engaged, leading to better training outcomes.
Training is not a focused activity
Often many training programs are conducted during off or down times. The message that the employee gets is that the training is not important as the organization does not find it compelling to make the employees attend the training on their time. Training must be a focused activity, has to be scheduled correctly, and should be made available for reference in a device agnostic manner.
Is training tied to career advancement?
Training is a tool to help employees do their jobs better, become more productive and remain relevant in today’s constantly shifting business environment. Organizations need to help employees understand how the training programs are linked to their career growth. By linking training to career advancement, organizations help employees answer the ‘what’s in it for me’ question comprehensively. It also helps when employees see follow-up activities after the training ends to help them reinforce the skills they have learned. Making training content more searchable and available helps employees understand that this can be a valuable knowledge repository – one they can refer to whenever the need sets in.
To my mind, organizational training now stands at a crossroads. The changing motivations of the millennial employee, the dynamism demanded by the business environment, and the growing skills gap driven by transformational technology development will force training strategies and tactics to change too. Either that or training will not be able to play a key role in the growth of the business and none of us want that do we?
click here to get in touch with us, we’ll help solve your training challenges. With over 12+ years of experience, our expertise at creating custom eLearning courses that engage your employees can be leveraged by your organization. You can also reach out to us at Contactus@enyotalearning.com to know more.