Let’s face it. Training sessions are all too often boring, irrelevant, and a perceived waste of time. It’s no wonder that our employees are not eager to attend sessions that not only severely lack in the value department, but also leave them returning to work that piled up in their absence.
You know your staff needs to learn new skills so training sessions are unavoidable from time to time. How can you make sure they are worthwhile and better yet, how can you make your people eager to attend?
Setting the agenda
One of the most effective ways to get people enthused about training is to directly involve them in setting the training agenda. Your people know what they need better than you do so take the time to ask them and plan your training schedule according to their responses. (for a simple and effective activity to solicit ideas, see chapter 17 of my book, Turn the Ship Around!
Give freedom of choice
With some exceptions, it shouldn’t be mandatory for every staff member to attend every training session. Let your people decide if they need to attend or not. Worried that you will have a room of no-shows? Don’t be. Over time, you will see that people will be responsible for their learning and attend when they truly have a need. Another way to look at this is to make sure you have relevant subject matter, which is discussed next.
Make it matter
Choose your group training session subject matter carefully. If the content is relevant to a number of people, they will attend and be glad to receive the information. On the flip side of that, you will be met with resistance and groans if you make people attend training sessions that mean nothing to them or their jobs.
Make it fun
It goes without saying that the presentations should be engaging, interactive, and meaningful. What you may not realize is that a little bit of fringe benefit goes a long way to making training sessions something to look forward to. Bring in a catered lunch or snacks for attendees. Give away inexpensive, but valued prizes like gift certificates or early release/late start vouchers for thoughtful participation.
What strategies have you tried to make training a better experience for your staff? Share your ideas in the comments section below.