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This is unfortunately a common scenario that happens again and again in many different organizations: employees spend significant time and energy undergoing training programs to improve their performance, and after the training is complete, they go back to their old ways.McKinsey & Company estimates companies around the world spend up to $100 billion a year on employee training and development programs, but only one-quarter of survey respondents said training programs noticeably improved their performance on the job. What will make these programs “stickier” and enable them to create lasting change?

1. Get leadership on board first.
For new ideas and methods to take hold in an organization, it is essential to have the full support of leaders and managers. If they understand and subscribe to the goals of the training, they will be more motivated to lead by example and help others adapt. On the other hand, if leaders in the organization are resistant to change and continue to use the “old ways” of working, employee development programs are much less likely to stick.

2. Practice real-life applications.
One of the most challenging parts of employee training and development programs is finding ways to apply lessons learned to real situations. It can be difficult to translate what you learn in a lecture or a role-playing game into practice in everyday life, so it is essential to integrate practical examples into the training. For instance, if your organization is trying to expand team building activities at the moment, use this opportunity to brainstorm possible ideas in small groups. If you find viable solutions during the training session, make it part of the follow-up for participants to implement their ideas.

3. Dispel myths.
Sometimes employees have a resistance to new ideas because of myths or misconceptions they believe to be true. Addressing and correcting these beliefs during employee development programs is a necessary step toward progress. For example, if people believe project management software is a waste of time, a training on project management tools should include a frequently asked questions and concerns section where you can dispel these myths and illustrate the benefits.

4. Track results.
Surprisingly, McKinsey finds only 50 percent of organizations measure participants’ feedback after employee training and development programs. It is essential to track your results to determine what is effective, what needs improvement and what your long-term return on investment is.

What suggestions do you have for making your training programs more effective? Share your comments below.

Learn more about EDSI’s employee development courses.

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