We’re about 45 days in and most companies have a truckload of 2017 goals they may still be discussing. Improve performance, raise morale, accelerate sales, digital focus, and let’s not forget the holy grail, the customer relationship. But how to get there? Training. More training.
We’ll make it better than last year. Develop expanded curriculum and lay out clear objectives. We’ll get buy-in from our employees. Every session will be jam-packed with enthusiasm, motivational speakers, new strategies, buzz words, social media, and an overabundance of tactics. That’ll do it.
There’s plenty of time, money and resources assigned to these endeavors and although the words may change a little, the 2017 objectives look a lot like 2016, 2015… Is this Ground Hog Day – The Empire Strikes Back?
Two immediate problems:
#1. Employees may verbalize their enthusiasm for the exercise, but they are jaded. They’ve seen this movie before and of course, they will fill the seats again. But when it’s more of the same, that “passion” will likely be polluted with a jumbo-sized serving of cynicism and distraction. (Enter the mobile device.)
#2. As soon as those attendees leave the room they’ll go right back to doing what they did yesterday. And most of what they heard, learned, experienced will quickly be forgotten.
“Everyone is always bragging about the power of the human brain. So if it is so darned powerful, why does it fail so often? Why do we forget 90 percent of what we learn within one week? From the perspective of a neuroscientist, this question speaks to a fundamental misunderstanding about the brain and about forgetting. Whereas most people think of forgetting as a failure of memory, “I forgot because my memory failed,” in professional neuroscience, forgetting is not thought of as a failure at all. Instead forgetting is thought of as a natural, adaptive, and even desirable activity.”
Training is a process, not an event. For training to be effective, the employee has to apply what is learned on the job—otherwise, all of the time, money, and effort spent on the training is wasted. That means training doesn’t end when trainees leave the session. Unfortunately, too many trainers and managers forget an essential step—following up to ensure transfer of training.
There’s a lot more written on this subject and the solution isn’t buried in a hole. To create effective training, you need to make it “sticky.” And stickiness is driven with reinforcement. Designed, concise, repetitive reinforcement.
I am confident that live training and the ubiquitous webinars will have their place in many ’17 calendars; they just can’t be the only methodology. Or you’ll wake up to last year’s agenda all over again.