5 Actions To Keep Workers Engaged In Professional Development

Struggling to keep professional development participants engaged? Take these 5 actions.Are your employees snoozing in the front row of their professional development courses? Perhaps people in the back are playing on their phones? If you’re facing disengaged employees, you’re not alone.

Companies are constantly struggling to keep their employees engaged in professional development, but this doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. Take these five actions to improve employee engagement in your organization’s training programs.

Set an example.

Often, corporate culture trickles down from the top. If the leadership team isn’t invested in your professional development program, your managers and employees won’t view it as important either. The company’s leadership should demonstrate the value of your training program by:

  • Having a hand in selecting the management courses that exemplify the skills of an ideal employee at your company.
  • Addressing the entire organization – in person, through video or via email – to express why these management training courses are important and how they benefit not only the employees, but also the health of the company as a whole.
  • Showing by example that your company’s top decision makers believe in the program.

If your employees experience these behaviors, they’re more likely to see the importance of being engaged in the training they’re provided.

Make the training practical.

One of the fastest ways to diminish engagement in a professional development program is to implement one that doesn’t apply to your people. If your employees are going to improve their management skills, they need courses that relate to their daily work. A big problem with one-size-fits-all training solutions is the missed opportunity to give your employees the tools they’ll actually use on the job.

To keep your employees engaged in your training programs, choose a customized solution. For example, if you know that your people regularly struggle with communication and conflict resolution, include courses on both of those issues. This more tailored approach enables you to evaluate the current needs of your company and find specific courses to fill those management gaps.

Inject some creativity.

Sometimes professional development courses fail to engage because they’re simply not creative. You don’t necessarily need theatrics, but there are several ways to engage through creativity.

For example, choose interactive learning methods. Instead of having your employees listen to a lecture for hours, or read management course materials and fill out a worksheet, invest in a blended training method that combines an engaging speaker with interactive, online content. Your employees get the best of both worlds and a unique training experience.

Another way to creatively tackle your training needs is by finding a program that puts your employees in real-world situations. Have them role-play workplace problems based on predetermined training topics in order to make them feel more connected to the learning.

Demonstrate value.

An effective option for engaging your employees in their management courses is to demonstrate how the strategies they learn garner results. When your employees leave the classroom, they want to know that the principles they studied are going to make them better workers.

After a course ends, encourage participants to let you know when the management skills they acquired from training have positively impacted their work performance. Once you compile those success stories, share them with your team and in future training programs. When employees clearly see that participation in professional development programs affects results, they’re more likely to remain engaged.

Another way to demonstrate the value of a program is to show the direct connection between professional development and promotion. Reward employees and managers that have used the management courses wisely and to the company’s advantage. Then, others are going to see the benefit of taking management training seriously.

Listen to employee feedback.

Don’t ignore the most important voice in the mix: the course participant. Listen to employee feedback before and after management courses are implemented. Prior to starting a professional development program, ask employees and managers what they struggle with daily and what courses they think would be most applicable to their work performance.

Employees are more likely to be engaged if they feel they’ve had a part in selecting the program. Following the completion of the professional development courses, ask for employee feedback and find out how the participants feel the training has helped. When you listen, you’re able to gauge the needs of your employees going forward.

Do you need help finding a professional development program that engages your employees? Get a free Health Check and discover the training program that’s right for you.

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