Let’s be honest for a moment. Not many of your employees look forward to sitting down in front of a workstation in HR and completing their corporate training. It’s ok – it is what it is. We also know that team learning can provide a powerful spark of innovation and self-sufficiency for many team members in organizations.
Most people don’t relish time taken out of their already-busy schedules to complete training. Many of them probably look at it as something that lacks value, which offers nothing for them. There’s good news, though.
With the right steps and tactics, you can change the situation. In fact, it’s possible to get your team excited about learning. At the very least, you can make things less burdensome and onerous. In this post, we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Remove the Barriers
Often, employees may be less than enthusiastic about L&D initiatives because they see completing training as just one more burden. There are so many barriers to their day that the weight simply becomes too much to bear. However, that only scratches the surface here – some barriers have nothing to do with overwork and everything to do with the fact that leadership doesn’t embrace learning, either. Here are some of the most common barriers to valuing L&D:
- Too much to do: One of the single most common reasons that employees lack enthusiasm for learning is that they’re already overloaded with things to do, and adding training to the list just further erodes their limited time. In this situation, it doesn’t matter how much value the training offers. If your employees are overburdened, they’re not going to be excited.
Thankfully, the solution is simple – remove the obstacles. You need to make training a priority by alleviating the burden your employees struggle with. How, though? That will depend on the situation. Some potential solutions include the following:
- Bring in temporary help to complete job duties while the employee completes training.
- Reassess the employee’s regular workload so that training can be completed without overloading them.
- Let the employee complete their training remotely during their downtime and at their own pace.
- It’s not relevant/valuable to the employee: Another common barrier is the misperception that whatever’s being taught has little or no value or direct impact for the employee in question. You’ll need to help them connect the dots to remove this barrier, though. Find ways to highlight why the training matters not just for the company, but for each employee. If possible, tie it into career development and progression.
- Learning isn’t valued in your company culture: This is perhaps the most common barrier to learning across the board. If your C-suite doesn’t value learning, then your employees will not, either. It’s as simple as that. Workers emulate the attitudes and values of leaders, so if the CEO feels that L&D is a waste of time and resources, that sentiment will trickle down through the rest of the organization. The solution here is simple but may take time to implement – change your culture for the better.
Find Out What Employees Want
Another way to get your team members excited about training is to make it relevant to them. Find out what they want to learn and then find ways to make that happen. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should ask every team member the workplace equivalent of “what do you want to be when you grow up”. Instead, you need to be much more focused. Consider the following questions:
- What skills or knowledge do you need to do your job better?
- What training do you think would make you a more valuable team member?
- What can the company provide in terms of training that would make their job easier?
- What training might help the team perform at a higher level?
Often, employees know exactly what’s needed and are happy to share that information. Then, you can simply deliver the right L&D experience.
Perhaps the most expedient way to get your team excited about learning is to incentivize it. Yes, financial compensation is one of the most common options here. Cash incentives can certainly help spur your teams to double-down on their training. However, they can only go so far, and they’re only good at motivating a fraction of your workforce. So, consider some other types of incentive, such as:
- Additional paid days off
- Perks like better parking
- Recognition of their efforts
- Fun events for the team (think pizza parties or an after-hours happy hour)
The point is to find something that your team members value, whether that’s cash or something else, and then use it to bolster enthusiasm. You might be surprised at just how well it works.
Often, employees want to learn, but it’s just too hard to complete long and drawn-out training sessions. Lightening their workload can help, but there are other things you can do that will make it easier, including the following:
- Chunk long courses up into smaller segments
- Focus on microlearning sessions
- Turn dull text into gamified content
If you’re able to make things simpler and to streamline the learning process, you’ll get better buy-in from your team members.
Make It About Them
Cookie-cutter training programs are great for some things, like mandatory corporate training. However, anything more will require a degree of personalization. The more personalized you can make the experience, the more willing your team members will be to move forward.
What sorts of personalization should you consider? There are obvious things, like personalized training maps, but think outside the box, too. Leaderboards that inspire competition can be a great idea, as can certificates of completion, and more.
Get in on the Action
Training and development don’t have to be dry, dull, or a chore to complete. With the tips and tricks we’ve discussed here, you should be able to get your team on board with learning. However, understand that some of these will require not just intentional effort, but also time and buy-in from executives.