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Apr
30
Alex Somos

What is a great training experience?

As we at Juice have learned from clients, the answer depends on whom you ask:

  • Buyers—that is, people who sponsor training—define a great training experience as one that aims to improve efficiencies, customer service and/or employee performance.
  • But participants/users (generally speaking, employees) define “great training” as meaningful and relevant to their abilities, capabilities and growth—not only within the organization, but also in their personal lives.

Unfortunately, most organizations’ training programs put much more emphasis on meeting business objectives than participants’ needs.

As a result, participants:

  • attend training not because they want to, but because they have to; and
  • are unlikely to adopt the behaviours and changes that organizations wish to implement.

Shifting focus to participants

Here are three things to help increase the likelihood that your training will effect actual change:

  1. Create meaning for people
    Your training initiatives should cover topics that are meaningful to the individual—not just to the organization. These topics may include time management, project management, and/or interpersonal skills (yes, these are business topics that can also help you meet your overall business objectives!).

    The trick is to contextualize the information so the employee knows how to apply it—and apply it easily—to work, as well as to their personal lives. After training, the end result will be people feeling confident and excited about what they’ve learned.
  2. Give it heart
    Research shows that people aren’t changed by what you say or the information you share; they change based on how you make them feel.

    Training is often perceived as a ton of content shared within a short period of time. After a day or two of training, most people don’t feel anything but overwhelmed!

    In other words, training is generally geared toward the head. But to be effective, training must also reach participants in an emotional way. Learn more about emotional engagement here.
  3. Make participants feel special and important
    To create momentum for your training, organizations must first do their due diligence to understand what participants’ lives are really like.

    Juice worked with a hospital where upper management’s objectives were to improve morale, reduce complaints in the system, and decrease patient errors. But when we talked to nursing staff, we realized something critical: as important as the corporate objectives were, they weren’t what employees wanted or needed at that time. Employees felt overwhelmed, being asked to do too much with too little. There was no way they could work toward those business objectives without the hospital first addressing the stress they felt.

    This understanding allowed Juice to create training that both addressed the needs of upper management (reduced errors and friction) and the needs of the nursing staff (more ease in their world). Our training was framed carefully so it spoke to employees. We talked about how to create more ease in their lives, and created understanding so they could see the value of using the skills we taught them.

The lesson here is: never assume you know the people you are training. Find ways to understand the needs of your participants, and then craft your content around those needs. Until you address those basic needs, you can’t address your own business objectives.

Striking a balance

Of course, in addressing the needs of participants, we can’t simply forget about the needs of the organization.

The secret to effecting actual change is simply in shifting the focus of the training so it’s appropriately balanced between the needs of the organization and its participants.

A small shift can make a huge difference. Try it—and share your success stories in the comments below!

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Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

Co-Founder of Juice Inc, Thought Leader & Author

Alex Somos

Alex Somos

Co-Founder of Juice Inc.

Jean-Francois (JF) Hivon

Jean-Francois (JF) Hivon

Vice President, Business Development

Michael Torrie

Michael Torrie

Business Development, Juice USA

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