4 Reasons For Low Training Attendance (And How To Change It)

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How important are learning and development (L&D) opportunities for businesses today? In the United States, spending on training the workforce exceed $82 billion each year — highlighting the clear value that organizations place on learning.

And when companies invest heavily in their training programs, it follows that they want to realize the return on investment – ​​ensuring that employees actively participate and ultimately demonstrate their proficiency. When you have low training participation rates, it can translate to an ill-prepared workforce and negatively impact productivity.

Conversely, when employees engage in training, there are myriad benefits. According to LinkedIn 2022 Workplace Learning Report, nearly nine in 10 learning leaders say that learning and development has helped their organization adapt to change, and that “opportunities to learn and grow” are cited as the main driver of change. an excellent working culture. In addition, well-executed training positively impacts employee retention and profit margins.

Related: How To Evaluate If Your Corporate Training Is Working

Today, with many remote and hybrid workforces, more and more training initiatives are moving online. If you’re seeing low attendance in your online programs, you can fix it! Here are four reasons why turnout may be lagging — and what to do about it.

1. You’re not addressing the root cause

It seems obvious, right? If participation is not optimal, you need to know why.

You can do this by surveying employees for feedback. Conduct a training needs assessment among employees to understand what type of training is needed and why. Also compare reviews from executives.

There are many reasons why employees do not complete their training. In my previous experience as a corporate trainer, the most common are:

  • The content of the training is too long. Employees have a lot to do in their days. Training is often most successful and easily integrated when it is bite-sized “micro-learning” – think chunks of five minutes or less.
  • The user experience is not intuitive. Make sure employees know how to access learning content and complete their training journey. Technology that is highly visual and provides a simple, clutter-free user experience can help.
  • Training is not aligned with functions. If so, employees often wonder: what is the point? Make sure the training is relevant and not seen as a one-time activity. That is, when employees learn a new skill or skill, reinforce it with follow-up activities. The skill must also be timely – aligned with the activities employees will soon be called upon to perform.
  • The training is not accessible. Training should be inclusive and accessible to employees, including people with disabilities. It should also be centrally available to employees, so there’s no doubt where to find it.
  • Training is not integrated into the workflow. Look for opportunities to embed learning opportunities into the way work is done. This often means leveraging user-generated content and social learning opportunities.
  • The training is impractical. For live training sessions, it is often difficult to align schedules, especially among large workforces around the world. And inevitably, last-minute disputes and “fire drills” arise, distracting employees. So, when training primarily involves one-way information delivery, take advantage of asynchronous (on-demand) methods instead. Then, employees can take the training at a time that suits them best.

Related: 3 Ways to Coach a Hybrid Workforce

2. You left out the “why” of the training

In terms of training, what is there for your employees? Tell them.

Suppose you are hosting a session on a new email sorting method. Explain why it’s a productivity booster and how it will save them time. Or, if employees need to take professional training, highlight how it will help them advance in their careers and apply for higher positions internally.

Before the training, you can send teasers via email campaigns and messaging platforms to raise awareness and get employees excited. Also consider posting online banners on your learning platform and internal portals.

3. Your training is too simple

Whether you watch a TV show or a training module, do you like generic content that is disconnected from your interests and needs? Neither do the employees. For them, taking courses that are unrelated to their duties or that address skills they already master leads to boredom and disengagement.

People are much more likely to take training when it matches their unique goals, skills and interests – so personalize their learning journeys. Luckily, these days it’s not an onerous, one-by-one effort. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), learners can get automatic and personalized learning recommendations that reflect their course histories, career goals, mastered skills, job functions, interests, ambitions, etc

Customized training also means going beyond simple compliance. While compliance training is undoubtedly important, employees valuable skills training to help them do their job.

Related: 5 Training Lessons Companies Learned From the Pandemic

4. Your workout isn’t fun

Training doesn’t have to – and shouldn’t – be monotonous. Opt for inspiration, commitment and fun; it’s much more likely to be memorable.

You can up the fun factor by adding variety, incorporating a range of materials and modalities that appeal to different learning preferences. Don’t rely solely on PDFs, PowerPoints and standard written courses: allow employees to listen to podcasts, ask questions on forums, participate in Q&A discussions, watch videos, share items, etc.

Guest speakers with relevant perspectives, expertise and anecdotes can also make training programs more interesting. They’re not just for big-budget businesses; small businesses too often call on subject matter experts, consultants, university professors and others to share their knowledge.

Gamification – or introducing game elements into learning design – also makes learning fun. Badges, incentives, and low-key, good-humoured competition combine to pique learner interest and increase participation.

Related: Why You Should Personalize Corporate Learning with AI

There is no single, standard solution to increasing learner engagement. This depends, among other things, on the type of training provided and, of course, the needs of your workforce. It’s also helpful to put yourself in the learners’ shoes and think about how you would react to the learning program at hand: with enjoyment, interest, acquiescence, a “meh” attitude or aversion? Next, find ways to improve the learning experience.

Adopting a flexible approach, continuously evaluating your efforts and incorporating the tips above can go a long way to boosting learner motivation, engagement and retention – and giving you confidence that your programs training have an impact.

Norma A. Roth