The average training budget for companies is over 4 millions dollars per year and in the US over 160 billion dollars are spent each year on training alone.
Training is indeed a big priority for companies and according to this survey, training and learning opportunities are more and more important to employees these days for job satisfaction, especially among younger generations.
Quote: “Given the changes in the way organisations are operating and the shifting demographic composition of the workforce, offering career development opportunities to employees could be extremely beneficial to employers.”
The overall demand in quality training and development is high and companies are doing everything they can to satisfy their precious workforce.
Unfortunately, too often the trainings seem to frustrate employees or to leave them disappointed.
Most trainings are aimed at teaching people to know more and are mostly job specific. But when you look at criteria for job satisfaction, this kind of training only comes in 20th position. What is much higher in the rankings are the following: trust between employees and management, opportunities to use skills and abilities on one’s work, relationship with supervisor, overall communication, and career advancement opportunities.
Unfortunately not many trainings offer insight on these topics and when they do, they often do it wrong.
So what’s wrong with most employee trainings ?
It’s too short:
When you attend a seminar or a class, it’s usually a one day event. Sometimes a couple days if you are lucky. But on average people spend very little time in training each year. In the US, it can be as little as one minute a month !
We expect people to sit and digest slides and a whole year of training in one big gulp. The truth is most employees have high expectations from training and they want more of it.
Sometimes, a very condensed training is made more palatable with the help of mnemonics, visual content and some practical training but you will still find many trainings where people are sitting in a chair while staring at a powerpoint for several hours. Then after a few days, most of the training is forgotten and people get back to their routine.
It’s unpractical and content focused:
Only 12% of learners say they apply the skills received from training to their work. What point is there to learn about MBTI, Process Com or sales techniques if people don’t use it ?
Trainers and coaches present people with new tools and concepts and after a couple exercises you are expected to apply it in your everyday life. Implementing new habits and developing new skills require more than just knowledge.
There is a trend nowadays to make the training more experiential and to make sure people enjoy it and actually use it. Unfortunately there is still little training which aims at developing skills rather than transferring knowledge. One key way to make sure you get a return on investment in training is to test the skills learned throughout the year and to have strong follow-ups and performance feedbacks for the trainees as well as for the trainers.
It’s not individualised:
In training, classroom style is still king. Technology has provided us with more delivery options than ever before. However most companies still teach in classrooms with a single instructor addressing the crowd. It represents more than 75% of trainings.
There are other methods which are proven to be more effective than instructor-led training. For example coaching and mentoring is one of them, not only it is more efficient, there is usually a much higher satisfaction and engagement from employees who have this opportunity.
Other types of training like e-learning, on-the-job exercises and peer-to-peer learning are still underexploited and provide an important variety in the employee’s experience.
The challenge is to deliver the training people want and not the training the company ordered. People learn best when they are engaged and have a strong desire to learn. If they are not into it and don’t see the point, they won’t retain the information.
The first principle of learning is readiness which implies a strong focus and an eagerness to learn. Making sure the training you provide to employees is the one they want is the best way to ensure they will get the most out of it.
What can we do to change it ?
If you are an employee and want more quality training: ask your management for more frequent and longer trainings which correspond to your specific needs. Don’t hesitate to handpick something you are interested in and to present it to your management.
If you are an employer or in charge of training and development at your company: make sure you involve your employees in the selection of the trainings and that you get feedback from them once the training is done. Asking for follow-ups from the trainer would also be a big plus.
Sources and references:
Performance coach, world traveler, tribe builder, NLP enthusiast and mnemonist. I am passionate about self-development and life changing coaching tools.
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