Training your employees is the key to efficiency. That isn’t news to anyone, but when experts speak of the importance of employee training, they tend to overlook the reality – that training is often right at the bottom of the employees’ list of priorities.
This is a major challenge for learning managers and a lack of engagement can lead to sleepless nights.
Think about it – you’re a learning manager and you’ve convinced your company to invest in a learning management system – it’ll be pretty embarrassing if nobody turns up!
Not to worry – the good news is that most employees want to progress in their careers, and they know the part that training plays in those aspirations.
If you’re a learning manager, your job is to nurture that desire without boring your learners to ambivalence – and we’re going to tell you how!
8 Ways to motivate your employees in their training
1. Incorporate training in organisational culture
First things first, if your organisational culture doesn’t support training, then you’re going to find it difficult to motivate and engage the employees.
Get your key decision makers involved, set a positive example and make training ‘the way we do things here’. In this way, you’re encouraging and enabling employees to learn from each other as well as the formal training content.
2. Give regular feedback
If your employees are completing training content without getting any feedback, they’ll start to feel like they’re dropping their work down a well, never to be seen again.
There’s nothing motivating about busy-work and if they get the slightest whiff that their efforts are pointless, they’ll switch off immediately. Make sure that you’re assessing your learners regularly and give them a sense of where they are in their training journey.
3. Keep it interesting
Some people have the strange notion that learning is supposed to be hard work, and being boring is all part of the package. Don’t bore your employees. If you’re pumping out the same lifeless training documents without a thought for learner engagement, then don’t be surprised if your learners don’t engage with them.
Spice it up a little; add videos, record a podcast or build a learning game (it’s not as hard as you might think). By giving your employees a variety of opportunities to interact with the content, you can keep your training programme interesting and fresh.
4. Contextualise your employees’ training
Going back to the point about giving regular feedback, we can see how important it is that your learning programme has meaning for your employees. If they can’t see what the ultimate goal of their training is, they’re not as likely to become invested.
Find the Epic Meaning at the heart of your business and show your employees how vital their efforts are to achieving organisational goals. Make sure you highlight the part that training plays in the grander scheme and they’ll soon begin to see the value.
5. Make the training relevant for the individual
Here’s why the sheep-dip approach to training doesn’t work: If you’re pushing the same training to everyone, then everyone is going to find themselves working through content that is of no use to them. This speedbump can kill the momentum in their learning journey and it might drive them away altogether.
Segment your training programme according to department to keep the content relevant to each individual’s actual job. By providing training they need, it won’t seem like such an impediment to their development.
6. Identify employee strengths
Creating learning pathways for each department will go a long way towards reducing friction and keeping motivation levels up, but imagine what would happen if you could create personalised learning pathways for every employee in the business.
With a more personalised, adaptive training programme, your employees can organically work on their strengths and develop in a way that maximises them. By focusing on the areas that interest them the most, they’ll be much more inclined to keep logging in and engaging with their training.
7. Emphasise the long-term career prospects
The majority of your employees will have an interest in the continued success of the company as a whole – but even the most selfless soul will have one eye on how the training can benefit them personally.
The question, ‘what’s in it for me?’ will always be at the back (or the front) of their minds, so if you want to motivate them, you need to make sure you can address it. One way to highlight the benefit of the training programme is to align it with performance management.
If you can be more transparent about how each training activity impacts on their career prospects, it will lend credibility and give them yet another reason to log on to the LMS.
8. Recognise their expertise
We’ve already hinted that one key to motivating people to do anything is to convince them that it’s not a complete waste of time. Right now, in your organisation, there are hidden experts who have trained hard to master a particular topic. If they don’t have an outlet for sharing their expertise, they might feel like they learned it all for nothing.
Use your learning platform to highlight the experts in your business. This is one of the first steps to encouraging a knowledge sharing culture. Once you have that, other employees will see who the experts are and they’ll know who to contact if they’re stuck.
As a bonus, they’ll also see that yours is the kind of organisation that rewards people and recognises the hard work they put into their training. What could be more motivational than that?!
Looking for ways to make your training programme more appealing? Click here to download our Engagement Strategy Infographic!