How to Keep Employees from Fighting Training

a cartoon figure is fighting with a shark

The transfer of training to the job is predicated by having motivated and engaged participants.

At some clients, training has about as much allure as fighting with a shark. Leaders scoff because they don’t see real value and employees resent having to take time away from their high-pressure and under-staffed jobs with no clear payoff. This, then, becomes our challenge as a business consulting and training company: prove the value of training done right and ensure the measurable transfer of desired new skills and behaviors to the job.

In a corporate setting the view of executives is generally that training is without value unless it actually changes the behaviors that will have a meaningful and positive business impact. And we agree.  The challenge is three-fold:

  • Show leaders that training done right has business value
  • Convince participants that relevant training can help them succeed at their jobs
  • Design training that engages learners and is transferred back to the workplace

Training has gotten a bad rap. Employees are under enormous pressure to do more with less and faster. A recent research report from Deloitte stated that today’s learners have only 1% of their time open for professional development.  That being the case, no wonder workers complain that they don’t have “time for training.”

We need to persuade them of the value of training…the “what’s in it for them.” Then, when we get them in the classroom, we have to make the training relevant and impactful. It has to connect directly back to what they need to do to succeed now and in the future. The skills they learn need to be immediately applicable and useful in making them and their teams more successful.

To ensure the transfer of training, be sure you:

  • Know your audience
    The better you know your audience, the better you can address their concerns and help them to succeed. Do some pre-interviews so you know what your learners care most about learning. What is holding them back from doing their job more effectively? How is their success measured?  What is most important to them, their boss and their team?

  • Change it up
    Use a variety of delivery methods to keep learners engaged. And be sure to incorporate as many experiential exercises as possible. The best way to learn is to learn by doing, reflecting and trying again with timely feedback and supportive coaching.

  • Reinforce the learning
    Keep the learners focused on practicing their new skills. Include job aids, check in on a regular basis and provide ongoing performance coaching and feedback. This is the best way to ensure the transfer of training back to the workplace. 

Remember, without the effective transfer of skills to the job, the training will have little effect.