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How Do You Motivate Trainees to Attend A Training Program?

March 14, 2016 15:04 by
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Photo credit: Annie Spratt, published under CC.

Poor attendance can be countered by motivating trainees to attend your training program. Anika Agarwal, a senior L&D specialist, recently sparked a lively discussion on LinkedIn, centered around this pressing issue. Here are the most actionable highlights from that discussion.

What’s in It for Me?

“Motivation needs to come from within, not outside – there shouldn’t be external pressure but an internal need for individuals to seek out that which can benefit them.”

- Dave Smith, senior IT trainer

A very powerful way to get people interested is by answering the question “What’s in it for me?”. Naresh Sen, a L&D manager, suggests showing employees how a training may affect their personal and professional lifes: “What Is In For Me has to be clearly articulated by aligning training with performance improvement, performance evaluation, career planning and Individual Development Planning. Employees not knowing the area of impact both in personal and professional will not find the importance and interest in training.”

Photo credit: Annie Spratt, published under CC.

Photo credit: Annie Spratt, published under CC.

Sell Your Training

Take a good look at the title of your training. “Standard bookish titles put off people”, says Vaman Gaitonde, a behavioral trainer specialized in corporate training and coaching.

So, start selling your training to employees by creating a compelling title. For instance, address a specific problem that really resonates. Once you’ve grabbed their attention, spark their interest by briefly stating how your training will solve their problem. Create a desire to actually participate in the training by mentioning the benefits, or outcomes, of your training. And finally, include a call to action: ask them to sign up right now, and give them a phone number, email address and website.

Arsalan Tahir, program manager at a training company, summarizes this as the “AIDA” model:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

Kantesh Kumar Singh, CEO of Commuway, offers a wise analogy: “Keep in mind that employees are just like our customers, and we need to analyse their needs and problems and offer them solutions and resolutions. If we do this, it makes good sense to understand that employers will run behind us if we create hungers in their minds by showing the target of what they are and what they should be.”

Photo credit: Annie Spratt, published under CC.

Photo credit: Annie Spratt, published under CC.

Create A Rich And Engaging Training Experience

Says Snehal, an experienced instructional designer: “As far as training content is concerned, it needs to be relevant for the learners. Using a variety of ways to deliver the content such as case studies, scenarios, real life examples, exercises and analogies would help in maintaining interest and focus of learners. If possible, create small, digestible learning nuggets as opposed to long hours courses. Also recognizing and rewarding the course accomplishments of employees in some way would help in motivating the employees.”

Monica Cornetti, CEO at Sententia, adds: “Have you considered gamifying the training program? Let them map out their skill development and steps towards mastery. Show them progress of their journey. Set up a system of SAPS – (Status, Access, Power and Stuff) Interestingly the SAPS list is prioritized by stickiness and cheapness to fulfill.”

“I’m So Senior, I don’t Need Training”

Enlist employees who think they don’t need training as mentors or subject matter experts.

Melissa Coon, staff development leader, relates: “I know in a group of Salespeople that have been with a company or in their roles for a long time, they let ego get in the way many times. If the training program is presented to them (advertised) as a way to make their life easier or increase income or even in a way that it is a call to help the team as a mentor -for showing off their expertise for best practices to newer colleagues- with an opportunity to showcase their talent for promotion consideration; then the response will be greater. It is all about perception that determines the engagement and interest to participate.”

Photo credit: Annie Spratt, published under CC.

Photo credit: Annie Spratt, published under CC.

Conclusion

We wrap it up with the wise words of Matt Lohmeyer, professional negotiator and trainer:

“In the end, training has to make a meaningful difference to someone’s life and performance at work long-term. Unfortunately, a lot of training that is offered fails that basic test. However, if you can run a training program that changes the way people engage and delivers benefits to them as a result – you won’t struggle with attendee motivation. Word of mouth will soon have people wanting to come onto the program. One of the challenges we sometimes have with HR managers is that our negotiation skills programs become so popular, everybody wants to get onto it and the HR team then has to make the tough choices and prioritise…”

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