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Making Training Stick

I have never been a fan of mandatory training. It doesn’t work unless the participants want to be involved in the learning. There are so many types of mandatory training that employers offer so the employer can check the box and say, we did that. Some training is required by law. In 2019, New York made Sexual Harassment Awareness training mandatory for every employer. There will be times when adults are required to receive training and they will be physically present in a room with their peers but mentally they will be a million miles away.

There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to learning. People have their preferred methods. Some people learn by listening and a lecture works for them. Some learn by watching and then doing.

There is a famous quote by Confucius,

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

It’s been my experience that the more you can engage people, they more they will learn. Active participation is much better than passive people who just nod at you. Providing training programs to your employees is a waste of time and money unless the employees learn something and do something better. Following up with employees after the training event is key to measuring the impact of the learning. If there is no follow up, providing training could be a waste of money. One way to ensure learning is to offer a series of training events with pre work, post work and peer accountability. Adults are more likely to pay attention and embrace learning if they know that they will be held accountable.

The next time that you decide to offer a training event to your employees, ask yourself how you plan to reinforce the learning and hold participants accountable for improving their behavior and/or using a new skill. The question I love to ask before the training is this - Could the employee do XYZ if their life depended on it? If the answer is no, provide the training so the employee will learn how to do XYZ. If the answer is yes, then providing training isn't the answer. If you ever want to talk more about when to offer training and what type of training, give me a call.



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