dollar-544956_640Spending on corporate training is rising rapidly. According to Bersin by Deloitte, corporate training spending increased 10% in 2014, 12% in 2015, and 15% in 2016. The numbers for 2017 aren’t out yet, but they were probably even higher. Wouldn’t you hate to find out that you are wasting your money or your time, or both?

It isn’t much talked about in anything more than a whisper, but corporate training fails quite a lot of the time. It fails to engage; it fails to enhance employees’ knowledge and skills; it fails to provide meaningful learning experiences. There are many, many reasons corporate training fails. Here are some of the most common:

  • There are no defined learning objectives, or the learning objectives aren’t aligned with your business goals.
  • Employees do not have the opportunity to apply what they learn to real-world problems and situations.
  • Training effectiveness is not being measured in a valid way (happy sheets are not a valid measurement of training effectiveness).
  • It’s boring!

Whatever the reason your training isn’t effective isn’t important (well, it is, but that is for another article). What is important is that you fix it. If you’ve been dragging your feet about revamping your training, now is the time to get going. With the pace of change in business today, companies that don’t move forward will quickly find themselves far behind.

Here are three reasons you need to reinvent your training programs.

You need to provide more training than you currently are.

Employees today simply need more training—more than they have ever needed before and more than they are currently getting. If your organization is facing a skills gap, you know this to be true. The catch is that it isn’t going to get any better. Because of advances in technology and increasing complexity in organizations, the jobs that are in demand are changing quickly as well as becoming more specialized.

Take data science as an example. Just a few years ago, there was no such thing as a data scientist because there was no such thing as big data. Now, the idea of a general data scientist is nearly obsolete—companies today are looking for business intelligence analysts, data preparation analysts, and analytics programmers.

Gary Beach of wrote that the “IT skills gap is really an education gap.” This sentiment is just as true in every other industry facing a shortage of qualified staff. Traditional educational institutions (i.e., colleges and universities) can’t keep up with the pace of change. If companies want well-trained business intelligence analysts and analytics programmers, they are going to have to provide the necessary job training themselves.

Your training program is obsolete.

Are you taking advantage of the technology-enabled learning tools available today, or is your training program stuck in the 20th century? If a three-hour PowerPoint lecture is still your content delivery method of choice, you are way overdue for an update.

Current learning trends and technologies, like massive open online courses (MOOCs) and mobile learning, are helping training programs move from being time sinks with few discernible benefits to being learning experiences that provide employees with valuable knowledge and skills to improve their job performance. Twenty-first century technology-enabled training is “pull” rather than “push”; it incorporates learning into the daily work routine by allowing learners to access and use course content where, when, and how they want to; and it’s flexible so that it can be adapted to the needs of individual learners.

Of course, as Laura Vanderkam wrote for CBS MoneyWatch, there is a downside to modern training practices: “Perhaps there are some folks who really like being away from their families for long periods of time and making small talk with slightly sloshed colleagues at receptions after a full day of corporate training.” However, she also notes that “if those are the only folks you think of as managerial material, you’ve got deeper problems than an iPad can solve.”

Your training programs don’t serve any higher purpose.

MOOCs have impacted corporate training in many ways, but one of the big ones has been to expand the idea of what training can do. Previously, the only reason to provide corporate training was to train employees. This sounds reasonable until you hear about the ways innovative companies are using training courses like MOOCs to serve a wider purpose, such as internally to create an organizational culture of learning, and externally for recruiting new talent and building relationships with partners and customers.

We’ve moved past a knowledge economy and into a learning economy, where learning is the most important thing we do every day. In this economy, training isn’t just about delivering content to boost your company’s collective knowledge; it’s about engaging and providing inspiration for stakeholders both inside and outside of your organization.

Too many companies are still providing only minimal training, not using technology, and treating training as nothing more than a content dump. This type of training might have been adequate in the past, but it will not empower companies to grow and achieve their objectives into the future. And the future is now.

Stop wasting your time and money on training programs designed for yesterday. Contact me for more information about how to provide high-quality, effective training solutions for the modern workforce.

Copyright Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.


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