In a previous post, we looked at how you can make workplace training more fun for your staff. While having fun training sessions is all well and good, if your staff can't see the point of training, or can't see how it will relate to their normal working day, pretty soon they'll switch off.

While having fun elements to your training sessions is obviously important, to make sure your staff don't get bored it's also critical to make sure that your training is engaging. Your staff need to be fully invested and recognise that training is important for their development, and a good use of their time.

Get Staff Involved

Staff training

Before you even think about booking a workplace training session, it's important to get your staff involved at this early stage. Providing training for your staff is a great way to let them develop along their career path, as well as improve the skills they need to use every day. With this in mind, the best person to ask about what things should be included in the training are the people who are actually going to be attending the training and using the skills afterwards.

Ask them what sorts of things they do everyday that they feel that could use more training on, or perhaps see where knowledge gaps are slowing them down or even preventing them doing parts of their job to the best of their ability. Discussing this with your staff will highlights the areas you need to work on, and will also let you see if the same issues are arising multiple times and need to be dealt with quickly.

While you may already have a rough idea of the training you want to run for your staff, taking the time to talk to them and see what they think they should be trained on will mean you can edit your training plan slightly, so you can still cover the topics you want to, but can perhaps focus more on the issues your staff have raised as well. Speaking to them at the beginning gives you that leeway to edit and swap things around before anything is finalised.

Make Training Specific

Staff training

It's important to make sure that the training you are providing to your staff is training they can actually use and will be relevant to their job role. It may seem easier to just ask everyone in your company to complete training as and when it pops up, but it won't be particularly helpful for them.

This may be especially tempting with eLearning, as if you're already paid for access to the content, it may seem easier to just ask everyone to complete it, rather than taking the time to see who the training is actually suited for.

If you are running a session for customer facing staff, think about who really needs to attend that session, as people who working in your internal IT department, for example, probably won't find the training very useful.

Not only will it be a huge waste of time for people who don't need to complete that training, they will no doubt be very unhappy about having to do training which is not relevant to them. Take the time to look over all your staff and assess who really needs to complete each training. Your staff will be a lot happier if they are not having to complete extra training all the time, and if all the training they are receiving is very relevant and useful to them.

Another way of doing this is to provide a number of different training options, so staff can select the ones which they feel fit them. There may be one or two courses everyone has to complete, such as fire safety, but giving people the freedom to select which other courses they attend will mean they can decide exactly what they want to focus on. It may also encourage people to do a bit more extra training that they might usually do, as once they see all the options on offer, they may want to do as many as they feel are relevant to them.

It would be a good idea to run training like this periodically. This mean that people can pick different training courses the next time around, as they may have realised there is another area of their work they need training in. It also gives people the second chance to complete courses they didn't have the time to do the first time around, so if someone does want to do a lot of training sessions, they don't have to worry about fitting them all in the first time you run them.

Listen to Feedback

Group work

Just as it's important to talk to your employees before you start training, it's just as important to discuss the training with them afterwards and get their feedback. While your training may seem successful from the outside, the staff who actually attended the training sessions may have a different opinion, so it's important to see all sides.

Evaluating your workplace training is an extremely important part of the process, as it means you can see what worked well, and maybe the things that didn't work so well. This will mean you can edit your training plan in the future, so make sure you are always providing the best training possible to your staff.

You can gather feedback in a number of different ways, from handing out a survey when the training is finished, to having a group discussion with your staff afterwards. Whatever method you pick, it's important to show that their feedback is being listened to. You can do this by following up on their feedback later, to show what you're going to change, or by highlighting how their feedback affected the next round of training when you release details of upcoming courses.

Conclusion

If you want your staff to stay engaged in the training you're providing them, it is really important to show them the value of learning and the reasons you want them to train on particular topics. It's not enough to assume what your stuff need trained on, it's also important to listen to what they have to say and what they believe the gaps in their own knowledge are.

Keeping your staff engaged in their workplace training will mean they should look forward to future training sessions, and appreciate the fact their input is being listened to.