10 Ways to Create Training that Employees Value

Most of us have participated in boring or useless workplace training. We’ve groaned (whether out loud or just internally) at the announcement of a new training session or program. We’ve twiddled our thumbs or stared out the window as we sat through a presentation that had little relevance to our jobs.

This type of training isn’t helpful or enjoyable. It undermines engagement and trust between employees and leadership. It’s not the type of experience you want employees at your company to go through. As good leaders, let’s provide training employees actually want.

In today’s workplace, this is more important than ever. Twenty percent of employees leave their jobs within the first 45 days of employment and the cost of each turnover is around 16% of an employees annual salary. Employees that receive valuable training and development are more likely to be engaged with their jobs and less likely to be looking for new opportunities.

Engaged employees are also more product and efficient and provide better customer service. A 2016 Gallup study showed that engaged teams offer 17% higher productivity, 10% higher customer ratings, and 41% less absenteeism. It’s not hard to draw the line between better training and a healthier, better performing organization.

So given all of this, how do we create training that equips, engages, and inspires?

1. Listen to your employees

Often, the best source for determining what employees need to perform better is the employees themselves. It’s also a source that is tragically underutilized.

Employees, especially those with years of experience, often know their job better than anyone. They can tell you what’s holding them back from doing the job better, and this can lead to training that has an immediate impact on their day-to-day routine. Involving employees in the discussion shows that their voice is important and helps them to take ownership of the process.

To avoid an unproductive group complaint session, consider facilitating individual interviews or groups of two or three.

2. Create a culture that values training

Training won’t be valued if management isn’t leading by example. By showing up and engaging in training, leaders set a precedent and help to drive the culture of the organization. When employees see leadership consistently participating, it shows that the importance of training is more than just talk.

One way for leaders to model is by sharing specific ways training has helped them overcome weaknesses or inefficacies in their job performance.

An actively engaged leadership can also be an important quality check and help training programs to continuously improve.

3. Personalize Training

Nothing kills motivation and enthusiasm quicker than sitting through training that simply isn’t related to the actual execution and success of employee roles. Whether it’s irrelevant because certain elements only relate to specific jobs or because certain employees have more experience than their peers, a lack of relevance is a sure fire way to ensure training falls flat. Personalized training is attuned to employee responsibility and level of experience.

Try to make sure as much of the information as possible is relevant to everyone participating. This shows you value your employees’ time and genuinely want to help them improve. This can be accomplished by breaking training sessions into smaller, more specialized groups and through the use of online resources like a learning management system.

4. Connect training and advancement

Most employees have the desire to advance in their careers, take on more responsibility, and provide a better future for themselves or their families. When employees can see how training helps them move ahead, both the employee and the organization benefit. By identifying the skills necessary for advancement and equipping employees to attain these skills, companies are investing in the future of the organization and increasing employee ownership.

5. Address employee headaches

Training that directly addresses ongoing employee frustrations is more likely to lead to training engagement and overall job satisfaction. Every job has snags and hang-ups that make doing the job more challenging. By acknowledging these challenges with empathy and breaking them down to their root causes, organizations can then directly address those issues. When management pays attention to the details of their workers’ job experience, employees know they’re valued.

6. Provide time and space to complete training

Nothing is more frustrating than being asked to do more when your plate is already overflowing. Employees often feel like they barely have time to complete their current responsibilities. i Training then is viewed as nothing but an inconvenience. By giving employees the time and space to invest in themselves, organizations are communicating the value of training and taking active steps to make it an important part of their culture. By setting aside specific times when training can be completed, an employee’s load is lightened—another way to value them.

7. Implement gamification strategies

Gamification is the introduction of game-like elements into training programs, typically e-learning. It allows participants to earn points, level-up, or rank on a leaderboard among their peers. As human beings, we’re hardwired to love games, and friendly competition (within reason) can be a great motivator. Gamification may take time and effort to implement and optimize, but it can yield big results for organizations willing to make this investment.

8. Split training into manageable chunks

As employees go about their busy workdays, it can be hard to find hours to set aside to devote to training. Training that is structured into shorter segments can alleviate fatigue and frustration.

Smaller chunks of information are easier to process and assimilate into the workflow. This tends to increase engagement with the material and a sense of accomplishment builds.

9. Compensate employees financially

While it may not be the solution by itself, providing financial compensation for training can be an important step towards increasing engagement. This compensation can come in the form of bonuses or prizes related to participation or exemplary performance in training. While it has its downsides, placing a monetary value on training can often get immediate results and can work extremely well when paired with other methods on this list.

10. Offer choice and flexibility to create ownership

As a rule, people don’t like to be micromanaged and dealt with rigidly. As adults we want to take responsibility and to be trusted.. By giving employees a say in their training, organizations show that they respect them, and will provide important opportunities to take ownership of their own personal growth. Some training may need to be mandatory, but offering choice, where appropriate, can be another powerful way to create a culture where training is highly valued.

Leading organizations realize that training is essential to their future. Your company still has no more important resource than your people. By investing in your people, you are investing in their future excellence, creativity, and long-term success. Your company will succeed by structuring training in a way that gives your employees an opportunity to buy in and take an active role in the training process. When employees see genuine value in training, they participate with enthusiasm, and give themselves and their organizations the best chance of growth and success.

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