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Tips to secure employee buy-in to company training programmes

Working with businesses across the South West, it’s fair to say that securing employee buy-in to company training programmes is a common challenge for many learning and development staff.

The attitudes of reluctant trainees are typically rooted in past experiences, such as previous enrolment on poorly scoped training programmes, working within a company culture that devalues training, or enrolment on courses that were a bad fit for their role.

As most learning and development staff realise, these attitudes can be incredibly damaging due to their ‘contagious’ nature. Not only do these attitudes serve as self-fulfilling for the negative learner when attending training programmes, but their lack of engagement and motivation can have a knock-on effect on fellow learners.

Below, we’ve given a series of bite sized tips to help you get the training buy in you need from your staff:

Engage staff at ground level

Get feedback from staff on what they believe to be training gaps or training needs. A sense of involvement at the planning phase goes a long way to reducing the sense of top down enforcement.

Engagement at this phase may also help shape your training initiatives in unexpected ways – you may enter the process assuming you need X but actually come out with an XY type approach.

Make training an important part of your company culture

Place value on training throughout the company. For example, talk about training plans and share training success stories in company communications, make training an important part of progression and promotion activities, create department / team / individual learning paths, actively talk about the benefits of training to business productivity or the financial bottom line.

Ensure training is relevant

If learners can’t readily apply most aspects of their learning within their roles, then the chances are that the training wasn’t relevant.  Task staff responsible for developing training content with the need to demonstrate the way in which learners can be translated back in the work environment and then assess the degree to which this has happened through post training evaluation checks.

Ensure training delivery is engaging

Training works well when it requires learners to actively engage.  The use of games, group challenges, quizzes, case studies, group discussions etc. are essential methodology for any training course.

Provide additional ‘add ons’

If you’re running the training in house, then consider additional opportunities to add value to the training.  If for example, attending learners don’t get to see each other very often, then ensure the lunch session is strictly social and that an appealing lunch buffet or equivalent is provided. Perhaps arrange for post training drinks in a local pub..

Evaluate training

Ensure that training programmes are evaluated and that any feedback is taken forward and used to shape future programmes. Where possible, ensure feedback is anonymous so that people can be honest in their feedback.

The tips given above are essential ways to start getting your staff interested in company training. Once the foundations are in place, steps can then be taken to further enrich the learning culture and drive further engagement within the workplace.  

At Training South West, we develop the skills of staff across industries and locations within the South West (e.g. Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset). Our training programmes are tailored to meet the specific needs of learners and delivered, on site, to groups of up to 15. For more information, contact us.

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