Skip to main content

Common reasons why Employee Learning Programs do not work

Abhijeet Ganguly is a certified Human Resource professional from HRCI. He has around 9 years of experience in all gamut of HR domain.

Illustration: Why employee training program fails? | How to fix that?

Illustration: Why employee training program fails? | How to fix that?

Employees are the biggest and best asset of a company, and investing in talent is essential for running a successful business. Businesses go through complex cycles to hire and recruit qualified and appropriate employees, but perhaps the focus on employee care often ends there.

Companies with engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147%, according to Blake Morgan. Also, firms with high employee engagement rates enjoy a host of other benefits, including reduced absenteeism and turnover, fewer safety-related incidents, and higher consumer metrics, according to the 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace report.

To accurately determine what makes an employee engaged with the organization, it is essential to investigate, assess, and develop different aspects of employee experience. According to the LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 94 percent of employees said that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development.

There is a risk associated with employee learning programs: They fail to reach their full potential sometimes or meet the desired outcomes related to it.

The Association for Talent Development reported that participants appreciated 97% of the training. Still, only 30% of the training resulted in participants learning the material; only 10% reached a level where participants applied what they learned. Only 4% of the activity reached a level where the company felt an impact.

It may seem counter-intuitive, as an employer, to put money and resources into employee development and watch them getting failed, however from an employee engagement standpoint, investing in the workforce's training and development has become an unavoidable risk.

Why a training program fails; It needs a deeper understanding of what it is, how it is developed, and how to implement it effectively.

Illustration: Employee becomes more productive when company invests in training

Illustration: Employee becomes more productive when company invests in training

Employee Learning Program - What are they?

Employee learning is an ongoing process in which companies empower their employees to attain the knowledge, skills, and attitude required to manage a specific job or procedure and help meet employees' full potential and productivity. Some examples of learning programs include:

Scroll to Continue
  • Relevant learning opportunities at various stages of a career path.
  • Skill enhancement courses that are industry-specific and enjoy employee interests.
  • Short term projects or opportunities that are linked to mastery of critical competencies.

In a simple word:

Employee Learning Programs: It helps employees acquire new knowledge or skills to enhance their current roles and prepare them for the next position.

How to develop an Employee Training Program

A basic flow of designing and developing an employee learning program:

  1. Assess training requirements.
  2. Mind the protocol of adult learning
  3. Design learning priorities
  4. Design Training materials
  5. Develop the preparation materials.
  6. Implementation of Training
  7. Evaluation of Training
  8. When required, rinse, lather, and repeat every necessary move.
Illustration: Missing the objective

Illustration: Missing the objective

Reasons Employee Learning Program Fails

The primary reason for the failure of employee training programs lies in mistakes during the designing and implementation phase:

  1. Inadequate needs assessment - Where are the gaps in skills, knowledge, and experience? How much capable would they become after the completion of the learning program? Appropriate research and assessment of needs underpin any successful training program.
  2. Missing the objective - The most common errors companies make when it comes to staff training is perhaps one of the most simplistic; Flawed goal setting. The goals and outcomes of a training program should be prioritized before developing a program. It also needs to be aligned with the company's mission and vision. Setting up goals and metrics help to measure the success of the program.
  3. Training method not suitable for particular topics or individuals - If the learning program is about a highly technical subject, classroom training will not suffice. It has to be complemented with simulation courses. Also, not every learner learns effectively through the same mediums. Like, many people could learn in a classroom only, while some could do better when self-paced, and others need exercise or assessment to retain knowledge. Understanding the subject matter and the employee learning capabilities can design and develop highly effective employee learning programs.
  4. Lack of executive involvement or buy in-missing - When Senior management gets involved in a project, it certainly gives the employees a message that whatever they are part of is essential. If any unplanned expenses that may arise during the training, it will also get quickly approved, once senior management is involved with the project.
  5. Poor communication or marketing - Most of the training programs do not find many takers because it fails to create a buzz amongst the employees. A description of well-established objectives should be included in every correspondence sent to employees and explain what is there for them and what is expected from them once they complete the training program.
  6. Post-Training interventions- Employees will forget almost anything in less than a week without being allowed to use the learnings. Hence, training reinforcement like quick lessons or learning experiences that reinforce a core concept or ability should be included from time to time.

Why employee training fails?

Final Words

So it is clear that training programs can play positive roles in a company if appropriately conducted. Organizations can earn staff loyalty, customer appreciation, and other business outcomes by following the above points during designing and implementing the training programs.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Abhijeet Ganguly

Related Articles