Why People Hate Training
by Denise Ryan
Most employees view training as medicine or worse, as punishment. As an outside trainer, I work with hundreds of groups in a wide variety of industries and most people enter the training room as if they are going to the gas chamber. They might not expect death, but clearly some horrible form of torture. There are exceptions to this rule, but they are few and far between. Why is this and what can we do about it?
It starts at the top. Too many times managers blow off the session because they don't need it (of course). This sends a strong message to all their followers: this training is not worth my time. If leaders haven't attended the training themselves, how can they reinforce the message? I see this in medical environments all the time - the nursing staff has to attend customer service training, not the doctors - they are way too important. Guess who treats both the nurses and the patients poorly? The doctors. What kind of message does this send to the nurses? No wonder they don't want to go to training.
Make it better: If you are going to have training for your people, you should go through it yourself. When you are there, support the trainer and your learners.
Exception: The only time you may want to consider not attending is if you want your people to interact freely with the trainer without your possibly intimidating presence. This is a very valid reason for not being there. If that's the case - tell your people. Tell them you think the training is important and why you are not going.
No one likes boring training. Make sure the training is good and has value for the attendees. I know this seems obvious, but something horrible has happened to people. They have had to sit through boring sessions and they hate it. There are enough good presenters out there that you can find someone with high energy, humor and great information. Take the time to check out your trainers. If you are using internal trainers, make sure they don't get burned out and bored with their own material. Take good care of them—they have a big impact on your employees.
Make it better: If you people are laughing, they are not in pain. Good training can help with morale and retention. Don't settle for boring.
They don't want to be embarrassed. Make it fun, but don't make attendees feel stupid or uncomfortable. I do a lot of customer service training. Very few attendees are excited about coming. Leadership is seldom there and it's often held after hours. People think they are somehow being punished for not doing their jobs. It's a tough crowd and I know I have to win them over and get them to drop their defenses fast. That's why I have my Elvis theme. Right away they know this isn't going to be like any customer service training they've had before. And before they know it, they're laughing. I do not make them do any Elvis impersonations; they are never embarrassed or made to do anything that would make them uncomfortable. It's interactive without putting anyone on the spot. If anybody acts silly, it's me.
Make it better: Most adults are terrified of looking like idiots. Training should be fun and safe or your people will dread it.
Attendees—you are not off the hook! You should come with an open mind. Hey, if you have to be there, you might as well have fun! Most of us have never been to a class where we learned nothing. In this life, you're either growing or you're dying. Take the chance to grow and learn. It's the best way to improve.
Denise Ryan may be contacted at http://www.firestarspeaking.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Denise Ryan, MBA, is a Certified Speaking Professional, a designation of excellence held by less than 10% of all professional speakers. She is a blogger http://motivationbychocolate.blogspot.com Her website is http://www.firestarspeaking.com