Did you know that businesses lose $550 billion each year in the US alone because of the lack of productivity of their disengaged employees? When employees merely come to work to keep their jobs and have no interest in them, they do not contribute to the business even half of their total potential. But the number of such employees must be pretty low, no? Actually, no. According to a study, 84% of the employees do not feel fully engaged at their jobs. This means 4 out of every 5 employees are constantly diminishing the overall productivity of their respective workplaces. One of the ways corporate trainers within a company can help change that is by making sure that their training design is spot-on.
The keys are to enhance the onboarding experience your organization offers to your employees and maintain the working experience at high levels so that employee performance and engagement soar and retention of good workers stays high. Regardless of its size or the sector and industry a business operates in, it can achieve these through customized corporate training that ensures the employees’ continuous growth and helps them develop new skills and enhance their knowledge through each stage of their careers.
The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically transformed the business world, and we now have to come up with new and innovative ways to ensure that employee performance stays optimum with the quick and easy acquisition of new and relevant skills. Organizations need to have a training design that is fail-proof and free of flaws that can not only hinder the growth of employees but affect the overall retention rate of the company as well. However, currently, many corporate trainers make mistakes while designing their training programs that
disallow their corporate training endeavors and efforts to achieve the required speed and to equip learners with the proper skill set that they require to develop.
We will take a look at some training design practices in this article that detriment employee performance and employee development. If corporate trainers avoid these flaws and mistakes, the employees in their organizations are sure to thank them later.
1. Heavily Focusing on Tasks and Topics
When corporate training is designed in an academic style and is content-heavy, the curriculum deviates away from the soul of the job. This means that it is not structured in the way that the work and duties of the employees are structured. On the contrary, it is organized in a linear manner and with respect to topics to support ease of performance for corporate trainers. What it does is that it results in big piles of printed papers that are handed over to the employees as a whole training program with linear modules and chapters.
It is ill-equipped and ineffective in supporting employee performance and employee development more often than not because jobs in real life are not a set of topics in a particular sequence. Work processes and duties are rather a combination of random events, workflows, and dependencies.
2. Putting in Material That is Just-in-Case
When training design is incorporated with huge amounts of just-in-case content, irrelevancy becomes a big part of the training programs. It results in over-stuffed curricula that are filled with information that is non-contextual. Even if the learners do not require the knowledge and skills that the corporate training material aims to provide them anytime soon, the employees are still required to master it all. If the knowledge offered in the program or the situations it teaches to handle do not occur for long periods of time, there is no way that many employees would remember the information regarding dealing with them until then.
3. Delivering in an Instructor-Centered Manner
Learning is great with shifting centricity from instructors to learners. However, it only does that if corporate trainers leverage it in a proper manner and utilize the various effective techniques and resources it offers. If you only use e-learning as a platform and train employees through one-way lectures only, you cannot expect e-learning to prove very effective. When you do not equip your training design with skill application to handle real-life situations, employee development and performance suffer significantly.
4. Using One-Size-Fits-All Philosophy
The criteria for assessment. Standards, as well as the structure of a training design, need to be different for different kinds of learners. On the contrary, what usually happens is that training programs are created following a particular structure that the corporate trainers want learners to follow. When the number of employees goes up, and the training programs are required to be scaled up, the same corporate training module with the same standards and structure is offered to the new employees as well, regardless of their current skills, background, and knowledge levels.
The skill gap at the individual level needs to be taken into account for training programs to be effective. A training design that serves different learners in a cohort diminishes their development and productivity instead of enhancing them. The learning objectives and goals need to cater to the specific requirements of everyone’s jobs and their current skill sets. Even the best of performers can require a long time to reach proficiency through the rigid, one-size-fits-all philosophy.
The four training design flaws that we discussed above relate to design practices that are content-heavy. This means that the training programs resulting from them are excessively content-heavy and are inserted with more information than is relevant and necessary. This makes them out-of-context and less useful for learners. These training design mistakes also make the delivery of the modules focus more on meeting objectives that are content-driven rather than those that are employee-driven.
The next four training design flaws we will look at refer to context-light corporate training practices. This means that they do not allow or support the learners to apply their skills and knowledge to challenges they might face at their jobs. They neither offer employees context of the job nor do they provide them with opportunities to connect with their job expectations.
5. Absence or Lack of Integration Skills
Employees require a number of different multidisciplinary skills in order to be productive in the workplace. They need several different business and thinking skills along with problem-solving ones to efficiently carry out their duties. The need for them is higher than ever before as the problems that businesses face in today’s world are more dynamic, unpredictable, and complex than ever before.
Most of the corporate training modules lack effective transfer of these skills as they seek to emphasize more on unconnected and distinct skills that do not equip the learners with the ability to utilize them together for favorable results. Learning about different skills and being able to combine and integrate them are two separate things, and when learners do not acquire the latter, their time to reach proficiency becomes much higher.
6. High Focus on Routine Tasks
One of the many benefits of e-learning is that you can leverage different tools and resources with it for practicing different skills and applying relevant knowledge. However, when training programs are equipped with approaches for teaching realistic skills through simulation-based and case-based techniques, it is important to cover unique, dynamic, and unpredictable situations that the learners might face as well. The training design mistake that many corporate trainers make is that they dedicate their practical skill-learning techniques to teaching and practicing routine and everyday tasks that are not new to employees. Furthermore, when the employees are faced with low-frequency situations, they are not prepared for them and do not have the experience or skills to efficiently handle them.
Such unique situations, obstacles, problems, and challenges are inevitable to arise in the work-journey of almost every employee. Giving hands-on training to them using simulation-based resources is the right approach. But repetition should be avoided, and all the possible scenarios should be covered and addressed for increased employee development, growth, and engagement.
7. Out-of-Context Delivery of Training Programs
Corporate training is rendered ineffective if it does not prepare its target learners for scenarios and situations that they might soon face. Working collaboratively within one’s team, on an individual level, as well as in collaboration with other teams, are integral parts of almost every job. This context needs to be embedded in training programs that are only possible by opting for e-learning as a classroom environment is non-contextual for it. If the training design of a corporate training module fails to translate to daily work scenarios, employee performance will not benefit much, and learners will not be able to communicate and collaborate in an efficient manner.
8. Pen and Paper Assessment
If a trainee excels during a training program and finishes it in flying colors, it does not signify their capacity or ability to efficiently apply the knowledge or skills on their job or produce effective practical outcomes. When you measure performance with set indicators and metrics that are specific to the course objectives of the corporate training modules through pen and paper assessments, you cannot judge the employee performance abilities. These criteria are far from the metrics pertaining to the actual performance on the job, and they can result in employees taking a long time to reach proficiency in the field.
A research study that covered 70 global organizations found that even the organizations that are considered to be among the best when it comes to corporate training have training programs that utilize the above-mentioned inefficient approaches of training design. These flaws cause the learners to acquire skills much more slowly and counterfeit the original purpose of offering them training programs that is to accelerate it. The speed of employee development and the magnitudes of employee performance can take a real hit from a training program that is not efficiently designed.
Corporate trainers need to eradicate all the components that make their corporate training material and modules either context-light or content-heavy if they are to ensure that their training programs provide learners with the skills they need for effective growth and enhanced productivity. You can be as careful and thorough while developing the content for training as you like, but if great content is not relevant, does not cater to individuality, does not follow relevant assessment processes, or does not equip learners with the ability to apply the knowledge and skills that the training provided them with, it will not impact their performance.
Our Final Thoughts
Employee performance and employee development are significantly affected by the learning processes and training programs that are incorporated within an organization. Shortening the employees’ time to proficiency can benefit the overall business in a huge manner, and therefore, business leaders are seeking to leverage corporate training in manners that can fuel the productivity of learners and consequently of the company. Training design with flaws can act as a major speed blocker, not only hindering the development and performance of employees but negatively impacting the employee retention rate of the organization as well.
Therefore, corporate trainers need to ensure that their training design is top-notch and take context-heavy and content-light approaches for optimal learners’ engagement and quick skill acquisition. The thing that matters the most is not how well learners score or perform during training programs but how much does corporate training enables them to proficiently perform at their jobs and achieve the business goals, targets, outcomes, and results that are most significant within their roles. When corporate training modules are designed with that in mind, the trainers will be able to mold their creation, with the help of different available techniques, processes, procedures, tools, and resources, in a way that will serve the exact purpose rather than just downloading huge sets of knowledge and skills to the employees.