5 Ways to Avoid Training Overload in Professional Development

Posted by Belinda Huckle  |  On November 11, 2019  |  In Presentation Training, Tips & Advice

The UK L&D Report, which conducted an in-depth survey of more than 100 companies, shows that 94% of top performing businesses are putting employee L&D at the heart of their strategy, and enjoying higher staff retention rates and increased competitiveness as a result.

There’s no doubt that having a strong learning and development culture is great for your business and people.

And as you know, in order to be effective, professional development needs to be targeted, timely and relevant.

However, when your team feel like it’s a struggle to keep up with the overabundance of ‘knowledge’ coming their way, they’re unlikely to embrace, retain and use new learnings effectively.

From blog posts to TED talks, and the endless stream of social media shares, it’s hardly surprising that many employees today feel overwhelmed. Add to this the more than 156 million emails sent every 60 seconds and it’s easy to see why information overload is now a real problem.

On top of this, if your employees feel like they’re already drowning in a sea of knowledge, when it’s time to deliver learning and development training that is relevant, you may be met with a lack of enthusiasm and engagement. And quite possibly some sighs of exasperation and eye-rolling too!

The good news is that as a Learning and Development leader, there are steps you can take to overcome this hurdle. 

So, read on to learn 5 ways you can cut through the noise, avoid information overload when it comes to training and help your team retain and utilise their learnings.

1. Make the Training Relevant

If you want your team to participate fully in a training course, it has to be relevant to them personally and professionally. 

Take the time to engage your staff early on to find out what type of training and content they feel would most help them to grow in their role. For example, your sales team may benefit the most from business pitch presentation training whilst your senior leaders would likely get more value from a training programme focusing on how to speak at and inspire an audience effectively at conferences.

In addition, make a point of explaining how the skills and knowledge learned will benefit your employees individually (now and in the future), the team/department as a group and the organisation as a whole. 

Ultimately the more involved your people are in the training selection process the more the training will feel tailored and relevant for them. This is turn will ensure they embrace the training opportunity when it becomes scheduled.  

2. Make it Timely

Be mindful of the workload of your team and aim to schedule any training for a time when participants are not already overloaded. For example, don’t book training for your accounts team as the end of the financial year approaches, or for your sales team right in the middle of a peak selling period!

When your employees are already struggling to keep up, they’ll likely be distracted with thoughts of looming deadlines and growing to-do lists. You’ll get far more engagement when your team are able to dedicate the time and headspace needed to focus fully on the training.

3. Make it Personal

Sending a generic group email out to announce the training is unlikely to rustle up much enthusiasm. On the other hand, when you put in a little more time to let people know why they have been handpicked to take part you’ll  show them their attendance is highly valued.

All the same, when choosing a training partner, look for a company that can customise the content to suit your organisation, team and the individuals in it. The difference between a one-size-fits-all generic programme, and one that is tailored to speak directly to you and your people is huge – both in terms of initial engagement and long-term results.

4. Make it Matter

To gain the maximum return on investment on any training that is delivered, be sure to get team managers actively involved in the training throughout the process. Get feedback from them regarding timings and provide them with a detailed brief on how the learnings are to be implemented moving forward.

It’s vitally important to take this step, as managers play a key role in the follow-up and reinforcement of the value of the training in both the short and longer term. Their role in ensuring the learnings are applied on the ground can be the difference between a positive impact and a wasted opportunity.

5. Make it Visible

After the training has been delivered, find ways to encourage your team to share with others the value they received from the training. 

If possible, take a few photos of the training as it’s happening so you have a visual record of events. Sharing these via social media, your internal newsletter or on the staff noticeboard can be a great conversation starter.

If you’ve ticked all the boxes above and delivered relevant, timely, personal and valuable information in an engaging way, your team will share this with other employees. And good word of mouth is the best form of promotion you can hope to get!

Deliver Training That Hits the Mark

While there’s no escaping the information overload employees face today, as a Learning and Development lead, there is much you can do to stop it from negatively impacting the outcomes  of your own professional development initiatives.

Are you looking for a training programme to help people within your organisation  develop their business presentation skills? Our dedicated in-house training courses mean we can schedule your training to suit your timings. In addition, we have 10 different presentation and pitching skills programmes that we can customise for your people, depending on their roles and learning objectives. This means you’ll get a tailored solution that is relevant,  personalised and immediately applicable.  

Get in touch to find out more.

Belinda Huckle

Written By Belinda Huckle

Founder and Managing Director

Read Bio

Belinda is the founder and managing director of secondnature. With a determination to drive a paradigm shift in the delivery of presentation skills training, she is a strong advocate of a more personal and sustainable presentation skills training methodology.

She believes in a training approach that harnesses people’s unique personality to build their own authentic presentation style and personal brand.

Belinda is currently helping to transform the presentation skills of people in organisations such as BBC Worldwide, DHL, ESRI, Heineken, MARS Inc., Moody’s, Pfizer, Roche, Triumph and Walmart – to name just a few.

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