Training is key to employee retention, with statistics showing that around 40% of employees who receive inadequate job training leave their companies within one year. Interestingly, a recent survey by McKinsey & Co. found that only4 Mistakes Businesses Make When Training their Employees 25% of respondents to a 2010 survey felt that training improved employees’ performance. Why are so many companies unhappy with the results they are receiving? Statistics show that U.S. companies spent over $70 billion in 2016 on learning and development. How can we improve our strategy for getting better results for our buck? What are the biggest mistakes companies are making today in terms of employee training?

1. Long Training Sessions and a Lack of Opportunity for E-Learning

Long, excessively theoretical training sessions can have the opposite effect to that of engagement. Instead of asking staff to lose hours of their working day, ensure the trainer favors quick, snappy classes that are interactive. Staff should immediately test theories they have learned, take part in Q&As, take part in role plays, or use training time to prepare demonstrations. By learning in a practical setting, with set goals, they can rely on the trainer to answer questions that may arise while they are trying out a new program or new equipment. Busier teams may benefit more from e-learning, which is flexible and which can be undertaken during quieter moments of the day or the production schedule.

2.  A Lack of Strategic Focus

Forbes writer, Christo Popov, notes that too many companies “don’t train employees in the skills most critical to the business’s stage of development. They send the wrong people to the training, over-train them and spend too little time on implementation.” Before sending employees off to a learning program, management should consider which skills employees will need to carry out immediately in their job. Generic training subjects that have little to do with their short-term goals will neither motivate nor boost confidence nor produce engagement. Having a pre-planned strategy regarding training will also enable you to obtain the tools (e.g. computer programs, apps, audiovisual equipment and the like) that will enable employees put their training to practical and immediate use.

3. Company-Centric Training Sessions

As noted by Inc’s Jeff Miller, self-determination theory determines that there are three main things that motivate employees: autonomy, relatedness and competence. Any training provided should enable an employee to work more efficiently, discuss the knowledge they have gained with other employees, and feel more competent and motivated, because what they learned is actually helping them perform their jobs more efficiently. To find out what makes your employees tick, ask them. Is there any area they feel they need to master in order to perform their job more efficiently and speedily? Do they need training to improve procedure, or to take on a new role?

4. A Lack of Continual Learning

Businesses require a wider skillset as they grow; keeping employees up to date with new technological and other developments will ensure existing employees can shift into new roles as their old ones potentially become obsolete. Across the board, companies with high employee retention rates are those which promote continuous learning. Employees are all-too-aware of forces such as automation and artificial intelligence, as well as the threat of contractors potentially taking over their roles. To feel secure, employees need to have constant and consistent opportunities to widen their skillset.

Quality training will help your business run more efficiently, as well as promote greater job satisfaction and serve as a big motivator for job applicants. Training enables staff to share knowledge, but also makes them more flexible to your organization’s needs. Make sure to create a well planned strategy so that any training offered is learner centric, dynamic, and continuous; every worker should continue to have new opportunities to grow, and even top-level management should continually be expanding and sharpening their knowledge base.

Author: Jane Watson