The success of any organization hinges on its ability to innovate and evolve, which has been especially true in the last year. Therefore, that success is extremely dependent on training, a key element in an organization's ability to manage change. With that in mind, more and more companies invest in employee development and steadily increase their spending on corporate training. According to a recent report, a US organization of 1000 people spent on average $1.1M on training in 2020. Not only does it help them enhance job performance and improve productivity, but it can also boost employee satisfaction in the workplace and reduce turnover. The global corporate training market reached 370 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.
But was it worth it?
Unfortunately, these companies did not see a return on their investment: based on Harvard Business Review, nearly 75% of 1500 managers surveyed weren't pleased with the training programs in their businesses while 70% of employees reported that they didn’t master the skills and capabilities required to perform their jobs. Ineffective training strategies and budget constraints have negatively affected the companies’ bottom lines. However, the real cost of ineffective corporate training is much higher.
Why does corporate training fail?
Using the one-size-fits-all learning methods for all employees
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, employees needed to adapt to remote work and overcome technological barriers. You can tackle this problem with training. However, applying the one-size-fits-all methods won’t get you to the ultimate goal — your employees won’t master the required skills. Employees learn differently — somebody prefers listening to lectures while another one assimilates visually presented learning content. In addition, not all employees have the same knowledge and experience. Employees get frustrated with wasting time training on what they already know instead of focusing on what they don’t.
That’s why one-size-fits-all learning methods are ineffective. Not only do you fail to address the specific needs of each employee, but your staff also cannot hone or develop the skills and behaviors required for their jobs. Only by adapting your learning content to suit employees’ various learning styles can you minimize the time it takes to bring your workers up to speed — they will acquire and master new knowledge and skills more quickly that will increase productivity and show employees your commitment to sustainable change.
Lack of interest
Today’s business leaders want their workers to invest time in their professional training and development continuously. Unfortunately, not all employees see how the training benefits them. Having that in mind, you need to keep your employees motivated. Not only should you incorporate engaging training methods such as gamification, augmented reality, or simulations, but you can also keep things simple by breaking down training content into microlearning. This will help you avoid cognitive overload and generate interest.
Expecting employees to set aside significant time to train will likely lead to failure. Linking training to your employees’ day-to-day tasks and goals makes the content relevant and applicable to them. Moreover, whether your employees work from home or in the office, they can use eLearning to keep skills fresh or acquire new ones when it fits into their schedule and priorities.
Focused on stats and scores, instead of skills and outcomes
Key metrics help organizations monitor and ensure that training drives the desired change and, ultimately, delivers an ROI. However, traditional progress tracking, such as the number of employees trained, the number of modules completed, or hours spent, is focused on measuring learning and development KPIs more than outcomes. While not as simple to track, assessing soft and hard skills, behavioral change, and confidence are much better indicators. It’s not just about the training event but its long-term sustainment. Providing employees with personalized, relevant feedback is paramount in helping to sustain behavioral change.
Forgetting the practical aspect of learning
Unfortunately, when incorporating training, business leaders or L&D experts don’t focus attention on the practical aspects of learning. One study revealed that we would forget about 75% of new information after just six days without applying it. This means that you need to enable your staff to use the newly acquired skills, and fast! They need ample opportunity to put their learning into practice and observe the results. By doing this and setting your employees up for success, not only do you improve their productivity but also their job satisfaction. Simply put, well-skilled employees are less likely to leave a company. Reducing employee turnover and eliminating the need to replace staff saves money and avoids a cost between $12-50K per salaried employee and an average of $1,500 per hourly employee.
Bottom line: Ready to avoid pitfalls in corporate training?
Corporate training has been stagnant for a long time. While almost all other aspects of the business have evolved, training methods look the same as they did 20 years ago. The barrier impeding newly trained employees from having an impact on the companies productivity is a lack of attention to sustainment. People's habits and expectations have changed and technology has advanced to complement it, if not drive the change. Whether the driver is cost savings, effectiveness, or more recently COVID-19, it’s clear the future of corporate training is largely digital. Solutions that are intelligent, engaging, and utilize highly effective and personalized learning methods are now available. The right tools can dramatically improve employee productivity and sustain change in your organization.