Last time in our discussion of training, we emphasized the importance of starting your training initiatives with buy-in from your senior leaders, so that they not only support it, but they can lead by example and “walk the talk.” So, now that you have buy-in, do you think you’re ready to launch your training? Think again!
Many training initiatives, such as introducing culture components – i.e. values and behaviors – need to be rolled out across the organization at all levels. This can be a large undertaking, not only in getting everyone to attend, but also in keeping them engaged for training that is often designed as “one size fits all.” Simply making it mandatory doesn’t ensure that all of your employees will attend. Let’s take a look at three ways to get your team excited to attend your trainings.
Make the Audience Diverse
When possible, make your training audiences as departmentally diverse as possible to increase the level of sharing that can take place between departments and disciplines. This gives the opportunity to hear a variety of perspectives on the same message. Allowing participants to share their examples or “stories” is a valuable way to get your purpose across to all of those in your audience by adding a “visual” to the facts. Stories can make your message relevant, meaningful, and engaging while capturing the attention of your audience.
“Recalling the element of interactivity to effective storytelling, the manager and employees should participate by asking probing questions to better understand context and promote a healthy dialogue,” says Melissa Starinsky, chancellor of Veterans Affairs Acquisitions Academy. People generally want the opportunity to share their experiences, so trainers should create an environment where discussion is possible. A diverse audience will help to enrich the ensuing conversation.
Entice Your Audience to Attend
Now, to make certain training sessions are attended, HR and L&D teams will have to plan how they’ll promote each training class; yes – like advertising. Today’s employees are busy, and some need to practically be threatened with discipline to complete their training courses, even those that are required for their positions. It’s important to communicate proactively to engage employees, remind them to complete what is mandatory, and persuade those who would benefit the most to make time for additional learning opportunities.
Crafting and delivering those training promotions will take some thought and effort. As any good marketer will tell you, if done well, they can increase awareness, boost attendance, and enhance the ROI of your organization’s training initiatives. Let’s not forget, word gets out fast after the first class, so your training sessions must be valuable, informative, and hopefully, a little fun. Employees who enjoyed and appreciated your training are the best form of advertising.
Keep Them Engaged
There are many keys to keeping participants engaged, especially with today’s short attention spans and multi-generational workplaces. According to Brad Phillips of Mr. Media Training, “This means you have to find ways to make changes at least every 7 minutes in order to get people to pay attention. It’s easy, as the presenter, to forget that your audience’s attention may be waning. As the presenter, you are having a very different experience than your audience: You have adrenaline flowing because you are on stage, you are in the throes of a performance, and you are physically moving. The members of your audience, on the other hand, are sitting in chairs, and their minds are easily wandering.”
You don’t necessarily need to change your content to gain and retain an audience. One of the most important factors to consider might simply be the different types of media and tools that you are using to keep the environment ever changing and stimulating. In my next installment, we will take a look at some new ways to design a training course to keep your audience stimulated and engaged.
SGEi specializes in designing and facilitating world-class learning experiences. If your company is ready to rollout new training, contact SGEi today.