Because you are reading these words, I am confident you are a believer in ongoing learning and development for yourself and those you lead. Precisely because this is your bias, you may find it hard to understand why your team members aren’t anxiously looking forward to attending the training you offer them or that is in some way made available to them.
Lots of leaders like you have asked me the question directly: How do I get my team engaged with training I want them to attend?
Your folks likely fall into one of three groups when it comes to training. They see themselves as vacationers (training is better than going to work), prisoners (they’ve been forced to attend), and willing learners (these are not the people we are talking about!).
So let’s reframe the question just a bit: How can we convert our vacationers and prisoners into willing learners? Here are a few tips to help.
- Be a role model. Do you attend training? Does your team know that you do? Do you come back and share your goals and ask them to hold you accountable for your progress? The more of these that you have a yes answer to, the better. Your behavior is a major way of persuading others in any situation, including training.
- Engage them in selection. Your team members are adults! Let them help select the training or the details whenever possible. This little thing may reduce the “prisoner feeling” more than you realize.
- Make it relevant. Help people see how the training (and more specifically what they will learn) will make a difference in their work. Will it help them be more productive, safer or produce higher quality work? Will it prepare them for a desired promotion? Will it give them important exposure? In short, help them see the value and benefits that you see. When they see these benefits they will likely become willing learners.
- Expect improvement. Training is of no value if no change in behavior or performance occurs. Before people go to training, help them (or ask them to) set goals. Then on their return expect improvement! Meet with folks on their return to review what they learned and how they plan to apply it. Ask what you can do to assist them, and then hold them accountable for the changes. They might not be perfect the first time, so support the practice and encourage continued improvement.
These four things should help you have more people excited about going to training — and give you better results when they return.