7 Biggest Employee Training Challenges, Solved
What’s your company’s most valuable resource?
For virtually all organizations, the answer is human capital. No matter the products you build or the services you offer, you need qualified and engaged employees on your side.
But without a sustainable and effective approach to employee training, it will be difficult to retain the caliber of talent you want.
On the flipside, we know that successful training is the key to higher employee retention, engagement, and motivation. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 93% of employees said they would stay at their company long-term if it invested in their careers.
The importance of meaningful employee training cannot be overstated, but several major employee challenges continue to trip up organizations.
Here are the top seven employee training challenges and how to overcome them.
How to solve the 7 trickiest employee training challenges
Whether you’re onboarding a new hire or introducing an existing employee to new tools or processes, these are the main challenges you’ll face.
Challenge No. 1: Introducing new software
Facing new software is among the most dreaded employee duties. The reason is simple. High-powered software tends to also be highly complex. It’s difficult to navigate unfamiliar interfaces, understand what different labels mean, and know how to complete foreign processes.
In fact, according to our survey on employees’ digital experience, the majority of employees cite inadequate training (74.1%) as the main barrier to software usability. Complex and confusing interface (43.6%) and lack of guided learning tools (34.2%) are also big obstacles.
How to solve it
You can ease employees’ worries and also achieve much faster onboarding with a digital adoption solution that provides onscreen navigation. These tools guide users through processes step-by-step ensure that they can complete any task with ease, even if it’s their first time looking at the platform.
Challenge No. 2: Keeping up with software updates from the cloud
First-time onboarding is not the only software stumper. Today, cloud-based platforms routinely undergo updates that deploy automatically. This means that periodically, the interface looks different when a user signs on, or there are new features available.
Frequent updates beget the need for frequent retraining. But pulling employees away from their work to watch webinars, read new feature descriptions, or sit with a trainer one-on-one is not an efficient use of time, and it’s not an effective way to learn.
It’s safe to assume that new features offer greater capabilities or address prior user pain points. Not having the ability to utilize them is a big waste (of money and potential).
How to solve it
Digital adoption solutions are also your best bet in this scenario. The on-screen navigation helps users complete unfamiliar processes efficiently, and enables them to take advantage of the full range of a software’s offerings.
Instead of setting time aside for retraining, employees can follow a series of prompts that virtually hand-hold them through processes. Digital adoption solutions such as WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) can be customized to highlight new features and prepare adequate training.
Challenge No. 3: Coordinating all stakeholders’ schedules
Providing comprehensive training requires a great deal of coordination. Everyone is busy.
For example, when you’re onboarding a new employee, they’re busy meeting a wide range of people — their direct manager, the head of the department, HR, teammates, and other relevant partners within the organization.
That’s a lot of moving parts. Too often, important information and introductions get postponed or forgotten due to an inability to find a time that works for everyone.
How to solve it
There are a couple of approaches you can take to tackle this. One is to create a comprehensive employee training plan, which includes a long-term schedule for every meeting and agenda.
Creating an employee training plan or manual is an effective way to get yourself thinking of all of the necessary topics and experiences you need to cover. The advanced scheduling should also help with coordinating meeting times.
Another approach is micro-learning. Instead of lengthy meetings, short and focused learning sessions are an effective supplement to your training regimen.
Challenge No. 4: Preparing the trainers
Fitting into everyone’s schedule is just the first challenge when it comes to in-person training. You also must ensure that those providing training materials are adequately prepared to do so.
For non-digital job duties, human-to-human training is essential for preparing employees to work efficiently and at the highest performance level. But unless the trainer is equipped for the task, training can leave the trainee feeling stressed, inadequate, and frustrated.
The importance of adequate manager training cannot be overstated. According to a 2016 survey of 500 managers from Grovo, 44% of managers felt unprepared to enter a leadership role. Another 87% said they wished they had more training before becoming a manager.
How to solve it
If your managers aren’t confident about what they know, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to provide effective training.
Ongoing leadership development, skills training, and expertise building in each manager’s specific domain is essential to equipping them to train others.
It’s also important to establish a culture of trust and openness. In addition to making sure trainers have the technical knowledge to teach another person, there must also be a certain level of comfort and authenticity between the trainer and the trainee.
In other words, you need to make an effort to make the trainee comfortable asking questions, expressing confusion, or sharing any other concern.
Challenge No. 5: Lack of employee engagement
This is among the most straightforward of the employee training challenges. If your employees aren’t engaged in their training, they won’t get much out of it.
So, how do you make sure you’re not wasting everyone’s time, energy, and resources?
How to solve it
Individual employees have different motivations when it comes to learning at work, but there are some general principles you can apply to your employee engagement efforts.
One is to provide training that is experiential. Unlike traditional methods of training, such as classroom session, watching webinars, are consulting manuals, experiential training is engaging by definition.
When employees have the chance to “learn in the flow of work,” they will be able to retain new information better and actually do something active, instead of passive. They will have the chance to see what the work looks like, ask questions as they arise, and feel the satisfaction of having successfully done something new.
Challenge No. 6: Balancing personalization with standardization
How do you ensure you cater to every individual learner’s needs while maintaining continuity across the board?
It’s hard to achieve one without the other. Often, training managers lean into a generic approach to learning in favor of maintaining standardization in processes and practices. But this can come at the expense of learning — if you don’t deliver information in a personalized way, it may not resonate with the learner very well.
How to solve it
Our recommendation is to use your handy employee training manual template. The act of creating a template forces you to identify the key pillars you want the trainee to learn, and thereby maintain standardization.
Any best practices, rules, or key pieces of information should be included in your template. But when it’s time to put it to use, you should personalize the template to fit the needs of the individual employee you’re using it on.
Fill in their specific job duties, goals, and tasks. Also, take into account how they prefer to learn, and design your training sessions with this in mind.
Challenge No. 7: Actually incorporating feedback
Sometimes your vision for your employee training program doesn’t exactly become reality. There will likely be times the employee being trained feels frustrated or unsupported. There might be instances where the training manager doesn’t know how to provide the right support, or even who to ask.
The problem gets worse when you don’t solve it until the training is over. In other words, instead of making adjustments and corrections as you go, you wait to ask for feedback after the training has come to a conclusion.
How to solve it
Ask your employees to provide honest and authentic feedback periodically throughout the duration of the training. This is particularly important when onboarding new employees, as the quality of your onboarding has a direct impact on retention, experience, and performance.
Make check-ins a regular occurrence (weekly or bi-weekly) and find ways to incorporate employee feedback into their upcoming training sessions.
Are employee training challenges still standing in your way?
Software onboarding, scheduling, personalization, and incorporating employee feedback may seem like basics, but when you dig deeper, it becomes obvious these aspects still present major employee training challenges. But with a comprehensive plan — both for digital and non-digital learning initiatives — you can be confident your employees are on the track to stellar performance.