How to Encourage Training Participation

May 26, 2016

When thinking of training sessions, employees often imagine a boring PowerPoint presentation along with a lecture and maybe a pen and paper quiz. No matter how much it is dreaded, training is imperative to the organization because it helps employees stay up to date on key company news, learn new product information and keep a pulse on the industry.


If your company is looking to transform your training program into an engaging and fulfilling part of the employee’s professional experience, keep these pointers in mind:


Keep It Short and Make it Interactive


Most employees view training as an additional task on top of a regular workload. For customer service or sales roles, for example, a half-day training takes time away from answering calls or making pitches – the tasks by which their success is measured.


Employees will appreciate succinct and useful trainings. Keep in mind that reading long, text-heavy materials may not be the best use of face-to-face time. Instead, try inserting videos, humor, and visuals wherever possible. Promote discussion and engagement rather than talking at participants. Tap the marketing department for help in creating entertaining training materials that won’t put your audience to sleep.


Keep It Relevant


It’s important to keep your audience in mind and develop training materials that are custom to each role. Having to wade through irrelevant content will make employees feel that the company does not value their time.


To ensure that materials are appropriate, talk to potential participants to identify what their needs are. It’s important to speak with both upper management as well as entry level employees since their perception of training needs will be different.


Know What Motivates Them


Training is like going to the gym – no one wants to do it but we know it’s good for us. As the trainer, it can often be hard to motivate employees to take training seriously or to give it their full attention.


In order to get the best participation out of employees, it’s important to know what motivates them and work it into the training program. For example, you can offer rewards such as gift cards or a free lunch to help sweeten the deal.


If the training is truly imperative, you can also tie participation in with promotions or bonuses. For example, in order to participate in a sales contest, reps must first watch a product video and pass a short quiz (with a mandatory minimum score). For a relatively small program, this can be done manually, but for a larger program, you’ll want to look into a software platform that can handle these tasks automatically.


Try New Tactics – Like Gamification


With online gaming and apps becoming so popular, there are new methods developing for making trainings fun and engaging. You can offer badges for completing different training levels, reward points for certain quiz results, and even employ a leaderboard to encourage friendly competition among staff members. You don’t have to create the next Angry Birds, but take into account the culture of your company and try to be creative in thinking about what might make your training more compelling.


Training is all about knowing the audience and catering relevant and engaging programs to them. With some research, effort, and creativity, any training program can turn from a buzzkill to something everyone is buzzing about.

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