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  • Writer's pictureIrina Ketkin

Why your Training Fails and How to Fix it

For some, the word ‘training’ makes them think of growth, self-fulfilment and overall positive vibes. For others – it conjures images of endless PowerPoint slides, monotonous lectures, and a sense of time that could have been spent more productively. If your training sessions are more likely to induce yawns than spark enthusiasm, it’s time to take a look in the mirror!


Today we’re exploring why training usually fails and how to transform it into an engaging, impactful and valuable experience for your learners.

Table of Contents:


Training isn’t the solution

The first and very likely reason your training isn’t working is because it wasn’t the right solution to begin with. What happens very often is a performance issue is discovered, and the manager says, “Let’s have a training!”. Customers complaining? Training! Software errors? Training! Conflict in the team? Training!


The problem with this approach is that you don’t dig into the heart of the challenge. If you truly want to figure out what’s going on, you need to ask 2 questions about employees jobs:


  1. Do they have the knowledge and skills? And

  2. Do they have the right attitude and motivation?


If we plot these two questions on a chart, we get four possibilities. This is called the Performance Analysis Quadrant or PAQ.


Learning and Development (and by extension) training, only works in the specific situation when the employees are motivated and willing to do their jobs but are lacking skills and knowledge. L&D can rarely help with attitude problems directly because this is something other people usually handle – like managers, HR, coaches, mentors and so on. But what L&D can do is help connect the dots and point to the right solution, even if it isn’t training-related. Or, alternatively, work in a 1-on-1 setting with the manager to help them solve their problems by themselves.


How to fix it?


Anytime you get asked to design and deliver training, the very first question out of your mouth should be, “What challenge are we trying to solve?”. If it’s skills- and knowledge-related, continue talking about the training. If it isn’t, help the person figure out what the problem is and how it can be solved.

Training isn’t relevant


Another popular reason why people may not like training is that it isn’t relevant to them and their work. If people are coming to your session, chances are they expect to find answers to very specific challenges. And if your training isn’t giving them answers, then it’s seen as a waste of time. A seasoned sales professional will need to know how to handle objections during sales calls or techniques for closing deals effectively. If your training only focuses on basic communication skills,  it won’t resonate and will be seen as a waste of time.


How to fix it?


To avoid this, you need to profoundly understand your trainees and their jobs. You need to know what their titles are, what is their previous experience, and why they need training.

This last one means knowing their pain points, when they occur, who is involved, and what’s the most appropriate way to fix it.


Some practical ways to gain this information are through pre-training surveys or shadowing and observations. This initial step will help your training pop and make it so much more relevant and valuable.


Trainees don’t know about the training


It can be annoying to find out that you missed an interesting training just because you didn’t know about it. Often, trainers believe that if they build it, people will come. But the reality is different!


How to fix it?


Trainers need to don their marketing hats. This means utilizing multiple channels to announce and remind employees about upcoming sessions. You could leverage company-wide emails, internal social networks, bulletin boards, and even direct messages from managers to team members. It's also beneficial to communicate the value and objectives of the training, making it clear how it relates to their roles and personal development. Additionally, scheduling reminders and providing calendar invites can help ensure the training stays on their radar. Remember, visibility is crucial - if they don't know about it, they can't benefit from it.


Training is boring


Some of the most devastating feedback a trainer can receive is that their session was boring! Endless PowerPoint slides filled with text to the brim. Long monotonous lecture that seems to have a single aim of keeping the trainer from falling asleep. Zero interactions, zero discussions, zero interest! However, as tough as this feedback may be, a smart trainer will see it as a learning opportunity.


How to fix it?


To combat boredom, incorporate interactive elements like group discussions, hands-on activities, real-life scenarios, and even gamification. Also, consider varying your teaching methods and using multimedia, such as videos or interactive software, to keep the content dynamic. Personalizing the content to resonate with the audience’s interests and experiences can also make a big difference. The goal is to create a learning environment that is not only informative but also stimulating and enjoyable. Remember, when learners are actively engaged, they're far more likely to retain information and apply it in their roles.

People don’t have time for training


“I really want to, but I don’t have time for training!” This is a phrase I’ve heard over and over again. And it is a valid reason – taking time away from work simply means adding more workload to our already tight schedules and deadlines, causing stress we don’t need. Does that mean that training shouldn’t happen? No, of course not. We just need to be more creative.


How to fix it?


For one, you need to meet your audience where they are. If they are spending most of their time in front of a computer, have the training online. If they are on the factory floor – meet them there. Also, make it short – break down the training into more digestible modules that can be completed faster. Consider offering the training as a video or an online course; this way, trainees can complete it at their own pace. Of course, this also means the trainer must be available to answer any questions, which isn't super convenient. But if it benefits the trainee, isn’t that more important?  




And there we have it – a blueprint for turning your training sessions from a dreaded chore into a sought-after learning experience. All you need to do is ensure the training is the right solution, that it’s relevant, people know about it and is engaging but also fits into the trainees' schedules.


It’s clear that the key to successful training lies not just in the content, but in how it’s delivered, communicated, and tailored to meet the specific needs of your audience. Remember, training is an evolving process. By staying attuned to the needs of your trainees, embracing flexibility, and being open to feedback, you can ensure your training sessions are not only effective but also enjoyable and relevant.


So, let’s bid farewell to the days of yawn-inducing, one-size-fits-all training. It's time to step up, rethink, and re-energize your approach to Learning and Development. Your trainees will thank you for it, and you'll see the results in their performance and engagement. Let's make training a journey of discovery and growth for everyone involved. Happy training! 🌟🚀


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