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Why Won’t My Employees Take Advantage of our Company Training Programs

A Mini Case Study

I was talking to a human resources partner at one of my clients aabout a month ago. She was trying to figure out how to convince employees that they should be investing in their own development by participatingn in the training opportunities the company makes available. This includes face-to-face training sessions, virtual classroom and e-learning; along with a variety of “lunch and learn” sessions. It seems to her that the same folks keeps attending the training made available. And not that she is complaining about those folks. She just wants more to participate! This got to the point of frustration when an employee commented to her the other day that he doesn’t think the organization does enough to help employees gain new skills and develop the current skills. She told me she nearly fell over when he made that statement!

In order to research further how best to solve her dilemna, we conducted a survey of employees to understand what was going on.

Here is what we learned from that survey (105 of 150 people participated in the survey):

  • More than half of the survey resondents did not realize the number of training options or topics available.
  • 15% of the respondents had attempted to attend training sessions that were scheduled, but their boss discouraged them from doing so; reasons were primarily around too much going on in the department.
  • The registration process was confusing for nearly three quarters of the respondents and they noted that was why they just didn’t bother to participate.
  • About half the respondents noted they felt the training provided was a bit outdated in many cases and certainly not much new had been added to the portfolio of options. For this group, they had taken many training programs in the past and didn’t feel there was much else to engage them.

Other feedback came from the survey but this feedback was the most valuable to my client.

With this feedback, we developed a plan to move forward which included the following:

  • Review and updating of all training content offered by the company
  • Research on new options for training content to be offered based on departmental needs, changes in responsibilities and alignment to organizational goals
  • Improved portal to enable for easier access to and registration for training
  • Socializing the training options available in order to increase enrollment and to ensure that management understand the value and benefit to them, their department and the employee in supporting training

A project plan was developed with a 9 month due date for updated content and improvements to the portal. Socializing of training would begin immediately through a variety of methods.