You know your staff need training and you’ve found the perfect course for them.
However, when you tell them, they use every excuse to get out of it, or (even worse) they go but nothing changes. Next time, before just sending them on training, ask them these questions:
Start with why
You might know what you’d like them to learn, but do they actually want to learn? If they’re not motivated to learn, talk to them about why they would benefit from the training. Think about what’s in it for them and remember that they’ll probably have a different perspective to you. You might think the training will help them with career progression. If they’re not interested in promotion, they might still be interested in doing a better job or getting things done more efficiently. They might be interested in freeing up some of their time to work more on the things they like. You know your team, so think about what motivates them and find training that suits.
You could ask ‘what are your biggest challenges at work?’, ‘what would you most like to work on?’ or ‘where do you want to be in 1/3/5 years?’. Listen to their answers and identify any training needs based on that. If for example they say their biggest challenge is a particular person, then perhaps communication training would help. If they’d like to be retired in x years, perhaps training them how to train others would help with your succession planning. If you have a particular topic in mind (say, compliance), adapt these questions to suit. Ask, ‘what are your biggest challenges / concerns when it comes to data security?’ or ‘what would help you feel safer at work?’.
Don’t just ask what training they’d like and find a course with the right title. Ask them more questions to get really specific about what exactly they want to learn. If you’re talking about software training, ask them what they’d like to be able to do with that software or what’s taking up the most time with it. If you’re talking about communication, ask them with whom / what they’d most like to communicate better, or ask them what they struggle with the most. Even when it comes to compliance training, ask them what aspects of it they’d find most useful and try to find courses that match. At this stage, you might talk through the course objectives and see how many of them are relevant to them and to your organisation.
Think about how
Lastly, discuss how they could learn best. Ask them what support they would need to take a day or more out of their normal work to attend a course. Ask them how they’d get there and if they need any support with that (travel and accommodation can be expensive, so can it be prepaid instead of them having to claim it back?). Often, attending a course involves travelling to a different city which means an earlier start and a later finish – if they have caring responsibilities this might not even be possible. Look at alternatives too – training doesn’t need to be full days out of the office.
Elearning or virtual classes mean no need to travel and can usually be taken at their own desks. However, both still require some time ‘away’ from normal work, so ask them how you can best support them while they learn. Perhaps there’s a meeting room they can use to avoid distractions. Learning in this way can take some getting used to, so ask them if they’d like to learn how to learn digitally first. They may benefit from an introduction to the tools they’ll be using or some training in how to complete self-paced courses first. Learning digitally can be seen as a cheaper option, but it is just as effective as learning face to face, so the same amount of importance should be placed on it.
Next time you see a course that would be perfect for your team, ask them these questions first and see what response you get.