5 Ways to Train Reluctant Employees

Posted by

Samantha Martin-Woodgate

on 24 Oct 2023

Motivating employees to undertake training can sometimes be a challenge. So how do you go about selling digital training to reluctant employees?

How to Train to Reluctant Employees

How staff perceive training is related to their backgrounds. A research study published by Education First revealed striking differences in attitudes between countries.

Around 62% of people from emerging countries, like China and Brazil, said they would be "very willing" to undertake a training course, compared to just 38% of people in developed countries, like Sweden and the UK, who seem more reluctant to engage.

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How to train reluctant employees

The reasons for the attitude differences are unclear but show that motivating employees in more developed countries can be difficult. For a digital training course to be successful, it has to break through this barrier and motivate people.

1. Put your learners in control

One reason the desire to enrol in training is lower in advanced countries might be due to the strain on people's time. Whereas in emerging economies, there is an imperative to train to earn more money to live. In developed countries, many workers want more leisure time and flexibility.

A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy enables employees to engage with a course whenever they want, fitting it around their busy schedules. They can access material from their own devices, whether from a laptop, a desktop computer or a smartphone.

BYOD has taken off in the business world because it helps employees feel more comfortable while offering greater flexibility. Offering BYOD, therefore, increases the likelihood that learners will want to enrol on a course.

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2. Link courses to career development

Research has shown that learning is accelerated when people have a good reason to learn something. A switch flips in their brain, and they approach the subject matter with fresh eyes, knowing that everything they are learning is useful and will benefit them in the long term.

The problem is that the link between training, especially compliance topics, and career development isn't always obvious.

Course designers and instructors can sell courses to employees by making this connection explicit, noting how the course could help their career development in the future. Global studies have shown that more than two-thirds of all employees' professional development opportunities are limited to their organisation.

Creating a culture of learning is, therefore, essential if you want your training to have a real impact on your employees. Make the connection between skills and career progression - highlight how employees can use the course as a springboard to improve their roles.

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3. Get creative & engage with interactivity

The worst type of learning is "passive learning" - the learning in schools and universities. It doesn't engage the learner directly or get them to practice their skills.

The problem for course designers is that this is exactly the learning your employees expect when they hear the news about an upcoming course. They assume that it will be as dull as the education they have received in the past.

Your task, therefore, is to sell them on the idea that your course will be different. Rather than passive techniques, your course will use a much more exciting form of learning - active learning.

Active learning differs from passive learning because participants can test out their new skills meaningfully, checking their understanding in the process. In the digital context, active learning can include all sorts of things, from graphic narratives to branching scenarios to podcasts and videos.

If your course is particularly sophisticated, you can also use games shown by many studies to improve the rate of learning and employee engagement. Advertising the active learning methods will improve employee expectations of the course, motivating them to undertake e-learning.

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4. Tell learners what's in it for them

It can be hard to motivate oneself to do something when there's no reward at the end of the process. This is why telling employees what's in it for them if they take a training course is important.

Motivation requires real-world benefits that relate to employees' daily roles. If the training focuses on productivity, point out how it will help your staff get the boring jobs out of the way quickly so they can get on with more interesting, creative tasks.

Likewise, if the training focuses on learning about the company's operation, emphasise how it increases the likelihood of being selected for a management position.

You can also use scenarios and case studies to sell a course. For example, you could talk about how particular employees were able to avoid/prevent misconduct due to having undertaken a course.

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5. Provide opportunities to reflect on key learnings

Harness the power of the "feel-good factor" - the rush of positive endorphins people get after they achieve something. Testing and assessments might not seem like motivating factors, but they are useful tools for participants to determine how much they have learned and how far they've progressed.

Getting it right in the scenarios with a course makes people feel good about themselves, encouraging them to engage more with the training.

Give people the chance to reflect on the course. This is important for consolidating learning and helping people see what they have learned from the course. By providing learning checks and self-reflection activities, you can allow participants to reflect on learning.Click me

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