How to Boost Completion Rates for Employee Training

Employee training. Everyone knows it’s important. But not everyone wants to actually do it.

Why is that the case? And as an HR trainer, what can you do to improve your employee training completion rates?

The harsh reality is that completion rates for many online courses are disturbingly low – particularly for massive open online courses (MOOCs). A UK study showed that “Although many thousands of participants enroll in these courses, the completion rate for most courses is below 13%.”

Thirteen percent? That’s barely more than one in ten actually completing the course!

Now while that study looked at open courses that cast a much wider net than your tailored employee training course, it presents a baseline metric that suggests a worrying propensity for most learners to drop out.

But at least this low benchmark gives you a tremendous amount of room for improvement when developing a training framework for your employees!

Could it be that your employees don’t quite understand the importance of the training? Is it a matter of its delivery? Or does it feel too generic?

Whatever the case, these four tactics will show you how to boost completion rates for employee training.

Communicate Your “Why”

“We found it really valuable to deliver training over and above the standard content to those who wanted to further develop their skills and knowledge and progress within the business. We’ve now outsourced our accredited training through another RTO, which has proven to be a positive way for staff to broaden their retail skills through case studies of other businesses and practices.”- Wittner

“What do I stand to gain from the training?”

This may be a common question going through the minds of your employees.

You need to answer this question.

How you might ask?

With the Golden Circle of Business of course!

In 2009, Simon Sinek gave a revolutionary TED Talk titled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” that went a little something like this:

“Most people start with their what and why; the way we think and we act. So the way we communicate is from the outside in. We go from the most direct thing to the most ambiguous one.

But the inspired leaders and the inspired organizations, regardless of their size or industry, all think, act and communicate from the inside out.

For instance, if Apple were like everyone else, their marketing message might go like this: ‘We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. Want to buy one?’


Yet, that’s how many of us communicate. We say what we do, we say how we’re different or better and we expect some sort of a behavior change or a purchase.

Here’s our new law firm: We have the best lawyers with the biggest clients, we always perform for our clients. But it’s uninspiring!

Here’s how Apple actually communicates. “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

Totally different, right? You’re ready to buy a computer from me. I just reversed the order of the information. What it proves to us is that people don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.

The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

Here are a few ways you can apply this model

  • Design an induction module solely focused on communicating your organization’s “why”.
  • Use microlearning tools such as videos and pictures to really tell your story.
  • Find touchpoints between your goals as a company and the roles of your employees. Every touchpoint must reinforce your core brand strategy
  • Engagement. Provide feedback channels through surveys so that you can clarify any grey areas by updating the module.

Create a Sense of Community

We get it. Discussion forums can seem a tad bit unprofessional. But at Bras and Things, the stats speak for themselves with more than 27,961 posts to date!

“Forums engage the team! We will often see them posting outside of business/shift times. Are forums relevant? To quote a team member ‘this is better than Facebook’. The outcome was a bridge between our 200 retail stores creating a small company feel in a big organization.”

So, what does that look like?

  • Develop a peer-based mentoring program. Pair up employees so they can keep each other accountable throughout the training.
  • Introduce an interactive eLearning blog where employees can freely share their experiences, challenges, and post-course-related content.
  • Create a feedback system where employees can give recommendations to improve the online training experience. Start with these 28 free employee engagement posters.
  • Reinforce your company’s core values. Get employees who’ve been at the company longer to take the training whenever there are updates. That way all your employees have a common vision as the company evolves.
  • Keep your teams small. Customize modules for each department so that employees can easily access material that’s relevant to their responsibilities at the company.

Building what seems like a “work family” will ensure your employees are more engaged and more likely to finish the course.

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Recognition and Reward

“From our Support Office point of view, we use the tool to provide informal information to our system and promote points for discussion as well as run incentive competitions to motivate our restaurants and their staff.” – Hog’s Breath Cafe.

Those seemingly small victories that you take time to acknowledge could be just the boost that your employees need.

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It doesn’t have to be something elaborate (at first). It could simply be a personalized email or a shout out in the community chat room.

Over time it could be a pay raise or a promotion. This makes them feel seen and heard so they’re motivated to keep doing better.

Through your managers, appoint team leaders who make monitoring numerous employees across a large company a lot easier.

Create a positive culture of reinforced behaviors by introducing frequent feedback to complement the annual review.

Also, who doesn’t love a good game? Everyone has an innate desire to win at something. This desire for competition prompts them to exert themselves which is ultimately fulfilling.

Leverage this by incorporating gamification features, such as image-based badges or points.

These incentives essentially work as achievement awards that recognize the employees’ dedication to the training.

Go as far as adding a worldwide leader board to encourage some friendly competition (but make it optional for employees).

This will improve the recall and application of compliance regulations. You could also gamify regulatory implementation.

Let training and development take center stage.

The core purpose of rewards is to reinforce behaviors. They only serve as an incentive until employees develop intrinsic motivation.

So what are you waiting for? Book a demo today!

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.