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How Do You Motivate Trainees to Attend A Training Program?

March 14, 2016 15:04 by
annie_spratt_peaks

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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3 Tactics to Increase Motivation in Trainees

March 2, 2015 10:05 by
Melting ice on a branch

Photo credit: photophilde, published under CC

We’ll shortly discuss 3 tactics to increase motivation in trainees. But first, let’s take a look at Dieter’s predicament.

Dieter is a product manager in a multinational company. He is responsible for keeping employees up to date on the latest products the company has to offer. Each time a new product is released, he sends out information to sales, operations, and customer service.

Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be many employees who greedily absorb all this new information. Some of them are simply too busy at the moment. But others don’t seem to care at all. So how does Dieter distinguish between the two groups? In other words: how does he measure motivation?

Sure, he could interview thousands of employees. If he had the time and resources available. With that option out of the door, what’s Dieter to do?

Dieter is actually looking for a proxy-variable for measuring learner motivation. Because measuring it directly would be too time consuming (and very hard anyway). Here are two ways of indirectly measuring motivation:

Dewy branch

Photo credit: liz west, published under CC

‘In a face-to-face environment [that is, in class and not online], try a few sessions that, by design, end early; allow the learners to stay and work on what was covered, share info with others, or mingle with staff. in other words, are the learners excited/interested enough to forego the “free” time and stay to learn more even if in a casual setting.” (Here, we assume that learners who stay are motivated, while others are not.)’ – A tip from Neil, in a LinkedIn discussion.

Another way is to create a number of facultative (i.e. optional, non-obligatory) courses in a wide variety of topics. For employees who never ever sign up for these trainings we can assume they are not motivated to learn.

Much the same can be done by making the educational content available online through multiple channels: videos, text, podcasts (i.e. interviews), pop quizzes. Send out emails (or sms text messages) whenever you add new material. Liberally disseminating this information (at least inside the company) is a good idea anyway, but it also allows you to track who’s interested in learning more.

As a minor detail: the only requirement is that people are logged in (e.g. on the corporate website), in order to track them. Here, again, if somebody never pays a visit to these sources (the aforementioned videos, texts, podcasts), you can assume they’re not motivated.

Drops on Branch

Photo credit: Alden Chadwick, published under CC

Of course, this system can be ‘gamed’. If it becomes well known within the company that this is the way you measure motivation, it can be easily faked by simply visiting the corporate learning site every once in a while. On the other hand, if people complete your pop quiz only to ‘game’ the system, they’ll still actually learn something if you provide feedback after each quiz item!

Now that we know how to measure motivation, how do we actually increase motivation? Here are 3 tactics:

  • Ask employees what they want to master. Tell them “I need your help in figuring out what the training should contain.”
  • Measure their progress and report it back to them, both in terms of what they should do and compared to the rest of the group.
  • “Set your training up so there are intermediate goals that have to be reached before the achievement of the end goal with rewards at each level to make it competitive. The rewards themselves should relate back to reinforcing the training received to that point, but don’t have to be of great value, just fun. The competition itself, if presented correctly, will pretty much make identifying the levels of motivation for each student easy to assess.” – Brent, in a Linkedin discussion.

If you’re in the same spot as Dieter, let me know in the comments section if these tactics helped you out!

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