8 Tips to Motivate Your Employees-in-Training

Mercy Ehrler

Mercy EhrlerDirector of Marketing for MicroTek

Friday, September 6, 2019

Employee training is crucial to business success as well as personal development. but how do you ensure employees are motivated and getting the most from your training sessions?

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Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show 20% of employees quit their jobs within a month and the cost incurred by this is an average of 18% of the respective employee’s salary. Employee motivation during training is crucial, without it, employee’s have no reason to stay. To retain your employees for longer, here are some tips on how to engage and motivate your employees at your next corporate training event.  

1. Make it interactive

Sitting down at a desk and listening to an instructor drone on for hours is the shortest route to employee disengagement. Training should be as interactive as possible if you want your employees to stay motivated. Many people learn most effectively when offered hands-on experiences. This can include videos, podcasts, scenarios, e-learning games, simulations, and more. There is practically no limit to the possibilities available to companies today.  

2. Conduct training in brief sessions

Here’s another unpleasant prospect – sitting in the same seat for hours at a time. Learning should always come to your employees. “Bite-sized” learning sessions in the form of emails or push notifications can be extremely helpful to your staff, allowing them to complete sessions regularly, but when it’s most convenient for them. Micro-training or on-the-go training may mean offering options to reschedule training or opportunities to participate via remote or virtual training. The latter is becoming more and more popular each year. That said, maintaining participants’ focus during virtual training is even more important than during traditional methods. Scheduling training periodically during work hours is also a great way to break up the monotony of the work day.

3. Give employees good reasons to take part

Usually, taking part in training sessions means people have to change something about the way they work going forward. It’s quite common for stricter requirements and changing expectations to lead to frustration and decreased productivity, especially among frontline employees.

To get past this motivational obstacle, training organizers need to cultivate buy-in from participants. The best way to do this is to be transparent about the limitations of current methods and procedures. Make sure your trainees are aware that failure to adopt new methods may have adverse consequences for the organization as a whole, which will impact all its members.

4. Emphasize the advantages of training

That said, you want to frame this conversation from a positive perspective. It’s very common for employees to not initially grasp the the benefits of engaging in professional development. Resistance to change is one thing, but in other situations, it may be difficult to understand the real reason for dedicated training  sessions. Your employees should have compelling reasons to participate. Financial compensation is obviously one, but it is not (nor should it be) the sole motivating factor. To reach all your employees, you'll need to communicate multiple benefits, including opportunities for promotion and growth.

5. Link competencies to completed training

This brings us to our next point – no one wants to start a new job search every two months. Most employees who see growth opportunities within an organization will be motivated to stay. If possible, work with your HR department to create a training program that will improve your people’s skills and earning potential.

The most successful companies offer targeted corporate training designed to deliver the greatest impact for particular skill levels and roles. Your training events should link skills to job performance so that employees are not only motivated to acquire new competencies, but also to apply them in a way that will result in long-term changes on a cognitive, behavioral, and even emotional level. Ideally, training programs bring about skill and performance improvement as a consequence of changes in employee beliefs and values.

6. Develop teams

Being aware of the impacts of social science is essential to designing corporate training. If you have a room with 25 people, break the room down into small groups or teams, and organize small group talks. This increases motivation as compared to a large group setting, where people are prone to fade into the background and retain less knowledge. The organizer or facilitator will also need to tune their teaching methods and feedback to encourage interpersonal cooperation and engagement.

7. Combat fear of failure

Motivation to participate in training can be hampered by performance anxiety. Employees can experience a very real fear of acquiring new skills for a variety of reasons, including apprehension about greater accountability or additional responsibilities after training has been completed. Anxiety can also come about from worry about how new credentials or knowledge change their status among peers. Fear of failure is perhaps one of the most common issues. To combat this, be sure to convey the message that skill-building signifies commitment and initiative and encourage your employees by offering tangible rewards.

8. Personalize training

Many employers fall into the trap of implementing redundant training (especially among long-time employees) due to not introducing team members to new and important information. To avoid this pitfall, be direct and ask employees what might make their jobs more satisfying and what they need to perform better.

The strategies outlined in this post will eliminate many of the basic issues associated with poor motivation and reluctance to take part in corporate training. Infusing these approaches into your next training event will foster competence, a human need that, when fulfilled, brings about a more positive atmosphere in the workplace. This, in turn, facilitates better performance and increases productivity, which is every company’s goal. 

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