Why Employees Are Turned Off By Training and How You Can Change Their Perspective

There’s a commonly held belief amongst employees when it comes to training: it’s a punishment. Training is something that’s seen as a necessary evil in the workplace, leading to a feeling of reluctance or even resistance.

iStock_000053984016_LargeEmployers then feed off this negative energy and tend to shy away from aggressively training and developing employees.

The result is that everyone is less successful.

Let’s consider some of the reasons why employees tend to dislike or even hate training:

  • Training isn’t viewed as being for everyone. Unfortunately, business leaders tend to push training off on their employees, without participating themselves. This shows employees their leaders don’t see training as valuable, so why should they feel any differently?
  • If your employees see training content as lacking in value, there’s probably a reason for that. There may be some significant truth within the opinions of employees. If training isn’t directly linked to employee performance, then it’s not as valuable as it could be.
  • Perhaps employees see training as a punishment because that’s how it’s framed within the organization. Too often, employers hold off on training or developing employees until there’s a problem that needs to be remedied rather than being proactive. This shows employees that, yes, training is, in fact, a punishment occurring when their performance is lacking.
  • Do you like to feel stupid? Neither do your employees. They’re going to start shying away from the entire training process if what they’ve experienced in the past is too complicated, complex or just makes them feel as if they’re not good enough in some way.
  • Maybe it’s just boring. Why would your employees want to participate in something that’s uninteresting? That’s a natural feeling, yet it’s not one that’s often addressed in the development of training.

The Research

With all the above in mind, also consider this: according to Professor Robert O. Brinkerhoff, when it comes to training, only about 15 percent of participants are going to undergo a genuine knowledge transfer.

Brinkerhoff defined the transfer of knowledge and skills by looking at job performance. In his report, titled “High Impact Learning: Strategies for Leveraging Business Results From Training,” he delved into what value and worth training was really having for businesses.

The report said this: “We believe that this unfortunate outcome of training is due to one compelling truth: Training is defined, in many organizations, as simply ‘delivery of events’ where the primary role of the training function is to design, develop, and deliver learning programs and services.”

Brinkerhoff went on to say, “Performance improvement, on the other hand, is left to the province of line management or becomes the specialty of an elite few performance consultants. Making training work is all about being sure that learning drives performance since it is performance, not just capability, that contributes the most impact from training.”

While all that talk about high-impact learning sounds great, what does it actually mean for how employers can shift employee thinking about the training process?

How Your Employees Should View Training

Think about companies such as Google and Amazon. They’re seen as some of the world’s most successful corporations, and there’s something they do differently from many others: they create a corporate culture that gets employees to feel excited by training. Employees feel as if they’re being rewarded for participating in training and development programs.

So what are the solutions to achieve this view of employee training?

5 Steps to Changing Your Employees’ Perspective About Training

Every business is different, every employee is unique, but regardless you can take the necessary measures to drive a fundamental shift in how training is viewed, and also how effective it is as a result.

Consider these five steps that demonstrate how you can change minds and hearts about learning and development:

  1. Start with strategy. The ultimate theme you want to achieve in your workplace is one that thrives on a culture of learning. This type of cultural overhaul can’t take place without a comprehensive learning and development strategy. Too often employees aren’t interested and training fails because it’s seen as a “throw it out there and see what sticks,” idea. Instead, training should be something that starts from the moment an employee is hired and continues throughout his or her time with your organization. Each employee needs to have a strong foundation that’s then built upon as he or she progresses within the company. To do that, strategy is necessary.
  2. Training begins at the top. If you want your employees to change their attitude about training, business leaders need to show them the way. C-suite executives, managers, and other organization leaders need to not only embrace training for other employees but also need to show their participants as well. If they’re demonstrating it’s worth their while and leading by example, employees are likely to follow. If leaders are reluctant to embrace ideas of training, demonstrate the monetary value of robust training. Crunch the numbers and make a business case that will pique their interest.
  3. Consider training and development as always. You don’t want to deliver stale training. One cost and time-effective way to ensure training always feels relevant and fresh is to deliver it in an online format. This will allow you to tailor it to the needs of your employees but also make changes whenever necessary to ensure it remains cutting edge.
  4. Link each and every component of employee training to job performance. It’s up to you to demonstrate to employees how and why training is important. If they can’t see the on-the-job value, why should they be interested? Train in ways that deliver only the most imperative, need-to-know information, and highlight how it will have an immediate impact on the employees’ job and performance.
  5. Frame it as a reward. Don’t turn to training only when someone isn’t meeting standards. Instead, create individualized training paths for high performers. Let training be something that top employees can participate in, and other employees will begin to see it as part of an overall reward system.

Sound off—how do your employees view training? If they see it as a negative or a burden, are you working to shift that perspective?

Leave a Reply