The typical challenges of employee training can breach even the best learning and development programs. Here’s how to get around them.
Is your company working toward a culture of learning to ensure that your employees are fully trained, up to date on safety and compliance mandates, and ready for their next professional challenges or promotions?
Creating employee development programs is a smart move for HR professionals concerned with organizational growth, performance, and employee retention. They help employees improve hard and soft skills, settle into new job roles, wrangle time management, and more. New employees rely on them for onboarding and orientation purposes, and those who seek career advancement value the upskilling.
With a well-done learning and development program, you’re bound to notice increased employee productivity, lower overhead costs, and stronger company culture. But through it all, you’re also likely to encounter the typical challenges of employee training.
Here’s a look at some of the most common training challenges faced by HR professionals and training managers in pursuit of a healthy learning culture within the workplace.
With a well-done learning and development program, you’re bound to notice increased employee productivity, lower overhead costs, and stronger company culture.
Lack of engagement
For many HR teams and managers, lack of employee engagement is the biggest training challenge. This occurs when employees don’t view the training as valuable or beneficial. Some may even see it as a waste of time, a derailment from the numerous unfinished projects that need attention.
It’s up to a training manager to effectively communicate the mutual benefits of the training. Often when employees understand how it will help them as well as the company, they become more interested and invested.
For example, the company may notice a problem with communication. The training manager needs to properly explain the issue and how the forthcoming training program will help improve everyone’s written, spoken, and nonverbal communication skills. The trainer may simply say that upon reviewing emails and communications between departments, they’ve noticed a lack of clarity leading to misunderstandings. A communication course can address clarification so that messages are understandable and everyone has what information they need to complete their tasks. Knowing this will bring relief, not angst, to employees who’ve been on the receiving end of miscommunication.
Lackluster engagement can also occur when the training is boring. If you’ve obtained employee feedback from previous training courses, review it objectively. Take note of anything boring or otherwise ineffective, and update new and repeat courses and training methods as needed. Consider new and interactive features, like gamification or artificial intelligence (AI), along with traditional methods. As applicable, take the extra time to ensure that the right employees are receiving the correct training. For those to whom the information is irrelevant, even the best training programs will be boring.
These days, multigenerational workforces are the norm, not the exception. The advantages of this typically far outweigh the challenges, but considerations do arise. For instance, employees of one generation may be more tentative toward training software and apps. They may also prefer in-person learning or videos over AI-driven training and gamification. Those of a younger generation may prefer gamification and be proficient in the use of various training-delivery applications. They may also have hectic home lives that prevent them from spending hours on professional learning and coursework.
Make your training courses available in multiple formats. For instance: Offering a course on communication in the workplace? Consider an in-person version for those who prefer an interactive classroom setting. You can record the class for a virtual version whereby others can view it on-demand. Finally, you can create a micro-learning opportunity by breaking the class down into bite-sized lessons. Use a combination of audio, video, images, and text as appropriate. By offering multiple formats, you help ensure that a given training session effectively reaches all who need it.
To remain on track with organizational development, offer your training courses online via computer-based learning-management systems, instructional videos, and webinars.
Keeping employees engaged with corporate training initiatives can be extra challenging within a dispersed workforce. This is especially true for international companies and those with a combination of on-site and remote employees and contractors. Differing time zones, schedules, and even languages can present barriers to traditional training practices. But as business evolves globally, so does innovative methodology.
To remain on track with organizational development, offer your training courses online via computer-based learning-management systems, instructional videos, and webinars. Live video-conference calls work well for real-time Q&A and broader interactivity, as long as time-zone differences don’t interfere with sleep schedules. In some instances, you may consider hiring external trainers to train staff at your local satellite offices.
Lack of time
If you expect employees to engage in or complete training during their off time, you may be disappointed. Some of them may have professional and personal obligations or other time constraints that hinder their ability to participate in long training sessions.
Ensuring that everyone can access the required training may be as simple as creating micro-courses. Micro-learning courses are short videos and training sessions that can be accomplished in 2 to 5 minutes. They can be presented in a variety of ways, including via mobile apps that can easily be viewed on a phone or tablet. This allows employees with limited time to complete courses in what spare moments they find amid a hectic schedule.
Inability to track and measure training effectiveness
Ineffective training and development initiatives waste valuable resources for all involved. To ensure that your employee training courses are effective, you’ll want to track and measure certain metrics.
First you’ll need to determine what metrics are important. They should be relevant to the organization’s and employees’ goals alike. Then you can custom-build them into your own training software or use the metrics offered by your chosen third-party platform.
For insights, solicit and review employee feedback for past and newly completed courses. Follow up with separate employee surveys 3 to 6 months after they take the course to gauge whether the material has helped them in their job.
By keeping these challenges in mind and tracking metrics, you’ll be proactive in determining the success of your training materials and courses. If you notice that the courses aren’t as successful as you’d like, you’ll know how to update them accordingly.