Opinion



October 9, 2019,   5:13 PM

4 Reasons Why Training Often Doesn’t Work

Elena Agaragimova

I am a trainer and talent development specialist and experienced career consultant. I currently work at the University of Manchester Middle East Centre, where I support mid-level to senior-level professionals in various industries, to help them achieve their professional and personal goals. FULL BIO

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Image Credit: Pixabay

Organizations spend a considerable chunk of their annual budget on training but often don’t receive a good return on their investment. Training is, however, still a key factor for well-motivated, efficient and knowledgeable staff who are competitive in ever-changing markets. 

Here are four reasons why training does not always work:

Lack of interest
Most training programs struggle with participants who do not see the benefits or value of what the workshops have to offer. Some participants perceive these training sessions as a waste of time and end up skipping or leaving the sessions. 

It is important to show participants why the training is important and how they will benefit from it. Consider how engaging training sessions are and design the workshops in a way that is as captivating as it is informative.

Limited time
A company might see training as important, but work doesn’t stop and employees still have overwhelming to-do lists to complete and deadlines to meet. Amid everything there is to do, training programs usually take a back seat. 

These conflicting priorities and limited time result in ineffective training programs. Organizations need to provide employees with the necessary support to attend training programs without stressing about looming deadlines or pressing workloads. Training also needs to be reinforced with post-training coaching and other initiatives to help participants practice their new skills. 

What happens next
According to the multi-store model, proposed by Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin, information passes from short-term memory to long-term memory the more it is rehearsed but can fade away if it is not given enough attention. When participants don’t use the skills they learned during the training programs, the knowledge acquired will start to depreciate.

Once a new skill has been learned, it must be applied and practiced. This is where management must offer support to the individual(s) who took the training. Support can be in the form of making additional post-training resources available to participants and even being willing to try new systems and processes, depending on the subject matter of the workshop. 

Information overload
To maximize the resources available, companies opt for full-day training sessions, which are often draining. Participants will often stop paying attention as sessions are too long, they are stressing about their workload and are simply being overloaded with information. 

Companies should instead schedule shorter training sessions to give participants time to process the information they’ve received and think about how they can integrate their new skills into their work. This is where bite-sized learning can be handy, followed by structured post-learning opportunities to practice and implement new skills. 

A coaching structure is recommended to ensure the training is solidified and applied in the workplace. Here employees can take advantage of one-to-one sessions with a coach and further enhance their skills. 

With access to technology, coaching can take place via digital platforms and online video sessions. Leveraging technology makes coaching accessible to all who are interested.

Companies need to ensure that participants are motivated and have enough time to focus on their training. Then organizations need to create a coaching culture where individuals are encouraged to improve themselves personally and professionally. Companies will never see the results of training if employees don’t receive the necessary support. 



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