What Really Gets to Learning Officers These Days? Professionals Chime in with Their Biggest Pain Points (cont.)

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Following our post last week, I had started an interesting discussion on LinkedIn earlier this motnh, not with the intended purpose of a blog post, but rather I was just curious – why not turn to experienced people involved in training/learning within organizations and ask them, what their 3 biggest pain points are rights now = what really bothers them?  Not necessarily just a list of known challenges and barriers to successful employee learning and knowledge transfer, but what really gets to them, what makes their blood boil.  I got so many interest responses, that in I changed my mind and decided to share some of their thoughts on this blog (all with their permission). Our weekly contributor Kevin Goldberg has covered previously the question of potential barriers and common training issues facing training from a variety of angles.  I myself also wrote earlier this year n about 7 potential barriers to organization learning.   But I wanted to hear from those in the field right now. Darryl Cowie, of BTI Energy Management
  • Poor up front buy-in from the attendees. This is usually because they were not involved in training selection at all, but just told to go. We need to address “what’s in it for me?” before the training starts. This is the main source of students with bad attitudes.
  • Poor alignment with and communication of the business goals. Most training is chosen to improve a perceived behavior problem rather than address a real strategic need. The answer to “why are we doing this?” comes from looking one level higher. Even when planners do this they forget to share it with the attendees. “We are here to improve communication!”. That’s great but tell me why! Knowing why changes everything.
  • Training designed to “fix” people rather then build on their areas of interest and strength. That’s where you get action and results from.
  • So much focus on fun and games for engagement that no practical learning ever happens. This has gotten ridiculous.
Elsie Fort, of Fortified Learning
  • When the structure of the org./dept. does not support what we want them to learn. 
  • When the training/fac. does not meet the specific needs of the consumer in alignment with the orgs. primary goals.
  • When the learning is focused on solving problems instead of what the org./ind. wants to create
Elizabeth Stapleton
  • Not meeting everyone style of learning. Some people do great by giving them a piece of paper and saying here, read it, others do just fine in classroom setting, while others require more one on one training with specific examples they are seeing. In order to grow an employee, the correct form of learning needs to be met, but that takes the support of management. 
  • Management’s support of the employee’s learning. Often times the employees did not do well when it was a classroom setting and management was quick to point the finger at the associates for not wanting to learn (there were many state specific items that could not be covered in group trainings). Management didn’t want extra time taken out to train employees one on one even when scores increased by 50%. Management needs to stand behind their associates and support them with what they need in order to be successful for the company. 
  • Employees not feeling confident in asking questions in a classroom setting. Often times the employees did not want to be viewed as not being knowledgable or feeling like they were going to ask a “stupid” question. Often times after training individuals would come up and ask really excellent questions. I feel that giving the support to the employees during training and reassuring them that they should ask questions is essential. Often times after training I would send out additional emails with the questions and answers. Again, this is where management needs to stand behind their employees and really support their growth.
Jayshree Ganesan, EZVidya
  • Initial resistance to learning which comes from complete lack of awareness of problems , a barrier that a trainer takes time to overcome .
  • Lack of dexterity in participants to personalize the concepts they learn, in other words participants take time to see what is in the concept for them.
  • Pre-empted notion of the participant that application of any learning is time-consuming/requires effort and hence an unwillingness to even try anything new.
  • Seeking external motivation all the time, completely charged during training sessions,participants easily give up trying in real time scenarios.
Laura Lingle, Arbitron
  • People given training and/or instructional design responsibilities although they are not qualified. (And people who accept the responsibility although they have no business doing so.) 
  • People who perpetuate misconceptions about training by filling training requests as though one can/should order training the same as one would order a pizza. 
  • Failure to put ultimate responsibility on those who most directly impact the performance of the employee — the employee and his/her immediate supervisor/manager
Elizabeth Maher, OD & Behavioral Change Consultant
  • Style over substance 
  • Negative outcomes resulting from underqualified trainers 
  • Inappropriate use of psychometrics
Gail Cullen, Southwestern College
  • unclear reason for training 
  • training substituted for development making unwilling participants 
  • poor active listening skills of participants due to technology distractions
Adriana Marques Teixeira,
  • Absence of a planed strategy for training activities in the Company; 
  • The fact of the Majority of companies have to finance with public funds their internal training plan to assure the respective functuining; 
  • Lack of internal and external promotion of training activities. 
The discussion is continuing, so I may write back with more.  But for now, what are YOUR biggest pain points in training?
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog