Ask the Expert: Evan Hackel – How to Actually Get People to Use Your Training in Five Easy Steps

Dear Evan,

Nobody on my team seems to really care about training and if they take the lessons at all, they rarely seem to use them. I know I shouldn’t just give up. What can I do?

– Jeanne, Virginia

Dear Jeanne,

There are many reasons why employees do not believe that the training their company provides is effective. You need to be able resolve all these issues to be successful:

    • They feel they know it all and don’t need training
    • The training is boring
    • The training is meant “for someone other than me”
    • The training is put together by people who don’t know the real world
    • Training is just not important
    • Your training is out of date

Getting buy-in on training for new hires is normally fairly easy. The bigger problem is getting your current – and possibly underperforming – employees to get energized about training, learn new things . . . and be more effective.

Done well. training can have massive improvement on the company’s key performance indicators. Training is a great investment, but if employees are not using your training, it was a waste of money and a true expense, not an investment.

Let me recommend five ways to get buy-in.

Take a close look at your processes and provide training that is truly meaningful

Don’t assume what you currently are doing is built on best practices; rethink the processes you’re training on. Bring in real-world top performers to ensure you are developing effective content.

Make sure everyone is briefed and knows these top performers are part of the process.

Bring staff into the development process, from the start

Involve staff from the beginning, have them involved in the curriculum-planning process. Training should be reality-based, built on input from staff. Current staff should help your company design training programs, using what effective training development companies call a Design a Curriculum (DACUM) process. During this process, you consider what type of training would be most effective. The overall strategy is to create training that staff supports, because it is founded in the realities of what they do.

This same principle should be used when developing your implementation plan for delivering your training. Involving staff is always a good idea.

Use your staff as subject matter experts

The more real-world your training is, the better it is – and the more likely it is that people will want to use it. The best way to do this is to have your staff be the subject matter experts, real people that are doing the job. If you want to make major changes and use an outside firm to define the process, make sure the staff you will be training is heavily involved.

Have your staff regularly review, modify and approve your training and what it teaches

Training must adjust and adapt to changing customer needs, to competitive products, to industry trends, and more. Don’t expect your current training programs to go on working well for years. Continually ask your team to review your training and tell you want works, what is outdated, and what needs to be changed. You don’t want the justification, “Our training is out of date,” to become true.

Acknowledge, thank and reward staff for using what they learned in training

Employees like to know that their efforts have been noticed. So, schedule a series of steps in which you acknowledge that people are becoming more effective by using what they learned in training.

Evan Hackel is a 35-year franchising veteran as both a franchisor and franchisee. He is CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Principal and Founder of Ingage Consulting in Woburn, Massachusetts. Evan is the host of Training Unleashed and author of Ingaging Leadership. Evan speaks on Seeking Excellence, Better Together, Ingaging Leadership and Attitude is Everything. To hire Evan as a speaker, visit Follow @ehackel.

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