Motivating Employees to Learn

How do your employees react when you let them know they are attending a training course? Do they see the value in training and learning? In this post we share some ideas on how to motivate your employees to learn.
Motivating Employees to Learn
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How Do We View Training?

For some staff in many organisations just mentioning the words, learning and training set off a whole bunch of moans and groans.  For others, it's a huge whoop as they think they are getting a day away from their everyday work.

But why these reactions?  Why be so negative when a business is investing time and money in its people?

Reactions to Training and Learning

It could be one of many things.  For example, from my experience, people find training a chore when it becomes a tick box exercise, or they are being 'sheep dipped' through a programme.  Maybe it's because they have had a bad experience with training such as a course that wasn't interactive or enough wasn't done to help them engage and buy into the ideas in the course.

The Importance of Training in an Organisation

Over the years, I've had many a conversation with delegates in training courses who describe this as a contributing factor to how motivated people are. When there is a lack of development opportunities, people become demotivated. The excuse is often that we don't need to train and develop our people because there is nowhere for them to go!

If there are no current opportunities for career development, why bother developing our people. If we do, they will just go somewhere else where there are opportunities and take all of that learning with them.

But, what if they stay? They continue to be demotivated, and this can impact their performance and the performance of others around them. No one wants a mood hoover in the office that's for sure.

So, why bother providing training and development if there are likely to be no opportunities in the future?

Can you wholeheartedly say that this is the case? Are you saying that no one will ever leave your business? Will no one ever retire? Will you never grow?

Of course, we can't.

Sir Richard Branson once said about Virgin - 'We should develop people to the point where they want to leave, but look after them so well that they don't want to'.

These things go hand in hand. Looking after people includes providing training and development — not just good salaries and benefits. In fact, training and development can be seen as a benefit.

Why all the worry then? Often the view is that training costs money, and it's the investment that we fear. But, training doesn't have to cost anything. OK, let me rephrase that. Training doesn't always require external spending. It does cost time.

You don't always need to invest in external training for your team. Leaders and other team members will have a wealth of experience they can share. Coaching and buddying are classic examples of how some development can be done internally, just by sharing knowledge with each other.

Delegating tasks is also seen as a development opportunity (and it helps with time management as well).

If we don't invest in our people (both time and money where it's required), the result could mean a demotivated workforce which leads to poor overall performance.

Motivating Employees to Learn

Here are some things that can be done to help with motivating employees to learn:

  • Don't use training as a fix-all solution:  When a business finds a skills gap or someone under-performing,  sending them on a training course is a common solution.  But, take careful consideration before using a training course.  Will another method do such as mentoring or coaching? Try to understand if the under-performance is down to some other reason i.e. problems at home or at work. If this is the case, training won't fix the problem.
  • Ensure the learning is aligned to training needs:  Be sure that any training you commission links to training needs.  Use appraisal or performance management data to help understand what people need, not what you think they want.
  • Sell the benefits of training:  Don't just send people on courses, ensure they understand the benefits of why they are going.  What will they get out of it and why will it be beneficial to them?
  • Ensure you pick the right provider:  Make sure that training is creative and engaging.  Try and avoid chalk and talk approaches and find something where people are given the opportunity to have their say and buy into the ideas being presented.

At Revolution Learning and Development Ltd we provide our delegates with ample opportunity to engage with the learning process.  Our solutions are creative and fun and we do what we can throughout to generate buy into ideas by helping the delegates generate their own ideas and developing actions.  We help with the process of motivating employees to learn.

How Can We Help?

We would love to talk to you about your next training and development needs. Contact us to talk about how we can help.

We hope these ideas help you with motivating employees to learn in your business


David Lumley19-08-2012

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3 Balkerne House, Balkerne Passage
Essex, CO1 1PA, UK

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