Avoid employee training mistakes

5 Key Employee Training Mistakes HR Trainers Must Avoid

LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report reveals that a high number of employees, particularly the younger demographic forming both Gen Z and the Millennial generations, value career training, and development.

94% of employees polled in the report said the chances of staying with companies that invest in their learning are much higher.

The great news is that HR practitioners are beginning to catch on. Today, a substantial number of organizations engage in one form of employee development and training or another.

There are so many obvious benefits to investing in employee training, including:

  • improved inter-employee collaboration
  • attracting and retaining great talent
  • creating a highly skilled pipeline of replacement leaders
  • improved company culture

One cost-effective method HR managers use in their goal of investing in employee training is the use of customized online training tools.

LinkedIn research shows that from 2017, 59% of talent developers began to focus their major budgets on online learning. 39% of these instructors spend less on instructor-led training models.

Most companies today prioritize the allocation of their training resources toward increasing the effectiveness of training programs for three key purposes:

  1. Saving time
  2. Saving money
  3. Achieving positive learning outcomes

Despite careful resource allocation, many training managers are falling short of achieving learning goals.

While the effort to enhance employee engagement and retention is a great first step for HR managers tasked with training, some basic missteps still occur.

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How You Can Avoid Making Potentially Grave Mistakes During Employee Training

Using Outdated Training Tools

There are two key gaps identified within different training programs selected for employees:

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  1. using generic materials
  2. not directly addressing or improving specific employee roles or skills

Forcing adult learners to fit into a broad training model can drain employees’ time and passion.

For most, traditional methods such as textbook learning and lectures have little to no benefit in terms of information retention.

Employee training programs that incorporate contextual learning accelerate the learning process in real-time.

How to fix it

For most adult learners, and for those funding the process, the classroom experience is a wasteful use of time and money.

To solve this problem, begin by classifying learning outcomes into two broad categories:

  • Essential training: This should be compulsory
  • Complementary training: An optional, value add, nice-to-have addition for each role undertaking the training

Training managers can incorporate digital training tools such as gamification (points, rewards, or badges) to inspire learners to engage with optional content.

  • Enforce the concept of just in time training whenever the company needs to convey new information related to the skills employees are in training for.
  • Make employee training relevant by using relatable case studies and scenarios to reinforce the training program in relation to their jobs.
  • Continuously carry out surveys to get real-time feedback on what areas employees find most useful and which need to be refined.

The outcome of applying these intentional training changes include:

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Being Ill-Prepared

Before finding the right training model for their staff, a training manager needs to understand his audience.

Being ill-equipped for employee training is an expensive, efficient draining affair.

But perhaps the biggest mistake an employee training manager can make is being professionally tone-deaf.

The training manager must understand each employees’ current knowledge levels, skills, and learning capacity in order to create a successful program.

LMS tools like World Manager are extremely effective at helping managers get to know their employees’ capabilities and feedback.

These tools can be used before, during and after the training program.

How to fix it

To fully prepare for the employee training process, a training manager should address the following questions:

  • In what ways will the training plan positively or negatively affect the company’s daily workflow?
  • Is there a leadership and management team in place to oversee the entire training process?
  • How will the training material be reinforced to the employees?

Setting concise goals early on quickly gives a company a sense of direction and boosts morale in the workplace.

Using a One-Size-Fits-All Training Model

A successful employee training plan accounts for the fact that different employees respond to different types of learning methods, no matter what needs to be learned.

Using a blanket approach to employee training may seem like a cost-effective business decision, but nothing could be further from reality.

Whenever necessary, employees must use this awareness and provide different learning options.

How to fix it

  • Consult employees and execute a needs analysis purely focused on all their learning preferences. The findings will inform the training design, particularly in relation to the employees’ comfort levels with technology.
  • Always select the best possible user-friendly interface (UI) when picking a learning management system. A wholesome user experience is great for adult learners, especially those who struggle with technology.
  • Keep communication channels, especially those leading to tech support, wide open. Employees should be able to ask questions and receive swift technical guidance. The right LMS makes use of tools such as discussion forums, making feedback and communication painless.
  • Allow varied content types in the training material. Examples include visual graphics, videos, and written notes.

Stifling Employee Engagement

We can all agree that you cannot teach anything new to someone who just isn’t paying attention.

To completely capture adult learners’ attention, the most powerful tool a manager can incorporate is the art of storytelling.

Research reveals that human beings are more culturally inclined toward narratives or stories compared to the process of memorizing raw facts and statistics.

Engagement is vital to human capital management on the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral level.

All three levels must be considered, otherwise, even the best training plan will suffer the effects of poor knowledge retention, passive learning and increased disconnection from the learning material

Without learning engagement, a training manager cannot hope to achieve behavioral change.

How to fix it

  • The training must have scenarios, case studies, role-play situations and other relatable examples. Such activities inspire cognitive engagement, resulting in active problem-solving contributions from the learners.
  • Allow learners to interact casually on social platforms online. By tapping into the human need for connection, the trainer will give learners a chance to engage emotionally with the training process and other learners. Here are 32 free employee engagement posters to get you started.
  • Establish a culture of active learning in your organization. When all employees feel linked to a common cause, their emotional engagement increases. This results in increased learning.
  • Clearly outline learning outcomes early on to increase behavioral engagement from employees. People are more likely to participate in training activities if they understand the goal behind it.

Forgetting Employee Schedules

As part of the preparation plan, the training manager must consider that the combination of family life with work and other internal and external narratives can steal employees’ time and energy, increasing their stress levels.

Making training a mandatory affair that interferes with employees’ personal time is an absolute no-no. Their natural reaction to this will be to resist and resent any learning experiences.

How to fix it

  • Whenever necessary, training managers should not schedule face-to-face sessions on weekends or after-hours. They should also avoid any training that requires additional travel.
  • Embrace a microlearning tactic in order to distribute useful content in digestible portions. Examples include: checklists, short videos, and infographics.
  • Use visual aids and graphics to introduce new learning concepts. Visual materials not only save on time, but have a higher retention ability compared to reading reports, emails and lengthy newsletters.
  • Optimize the training plan or mobile users. This means that all employees can access their unique LMS and training materials anytime, anywhere – including on the commute. This is a very convenient, but highly underrated point.

Even in the digital age, human capital management demands an empathetic, and practical stance when dealing with the biggest element of business — the human resource.

Learning is a necessary part of evolution, and for every training and development problem outlined in this article, there is a solution.

Each of these solutions can be carried out with a great LMS. Book a demo with World Manager today to learn how.

Disclaimer: This information is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the author nor World Manager will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this information.

The best companies use World Manager to train staff, maintain standards, and set the company up on the road to success.