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3 Reasons Why Training Fails

3 Reasons Why Training Fails Image Article by Matthew BroomheadWhether firms are spending less on developing their staff overall or using different methods such as e-learning or “coaching on the job”, there is always debate on the effectiveness of Training.

In my experience senior managers that want to train their staff usually want to do it for the wrong reasons. Before we explore that, let us look at the three main reasons why training fails to deliver the expected results.

  1. The training is not relevant to recipients
  2. The training is relevant, and inadequately delivered
  3. The training is relevant, well delivered, and recipients are not receptive

The initial problem with requesting Training

In a situation where a manager states “we need a customer services course because we’re losing customers”, then most trainers/coaches whether internal or external, will happily reply with “Yes of course. We have a customer services module that will help”.

However, what is actually required at that point is a lot more self-confidence from the trainer. This is not easy since the “buyer” will be more senior and holds the budgetary controls to the potential work. What a professional L&D Business Partner should be asking is simply “why?”

Why are you losing customers? Poor service delivery; bad product; incorrect client expectations; long customer service waiting call times; poor communication with client once they have an issue etc… the list goes on. Therefore a “Customer service training module” will only apply to a few of those scenarios.

In my experience the senior manager wanting the problem to be resolved doesn’t usually know the real answer to why they are losing customers. They think they do, but once I start investigating on the ground, the issue is often different.

Whilst conducting an accurate TNA (Training Needs Analysis) we may well discover that Training is not appropriate at all. This can be scary if all the Trainer can provide is training, because they just made themselves redundant from solving that issue.

(A quick note on TNA’s – sometimes Learning & Development people spend too long on them, with SWOT analysis’ etc. When all that is required is results; determine what the desired output is and what is stopping that happen).

Three simple solutions to get ROI on Training

These three simple solutions to avoid Training not getting the desired results may seem obvious, but they are not straight forward unless you have an experienced facilitator and an organisation with a learning attitude:

  1. Spend time with the appropriate people to determine what the current situation actually is and what the desired situation will be once the facilitation has been completed.
  2. Once applicable training has been determined then ensure it is delivered by a suitable person.
  3. If the training is relevant and well delivered, but the recipients are not receptive then this is more of a challenge. This implies that what the organisation employs someone to do, is not been done. Therefore decisions regarding that persons continuation within the role needs to be addressed. Most managers handle this poorly and HR departments are not much better. The issue is often exacerbated by an employee’s incorrect belief that they are entitled to have a job. As opposed to the fact that they are employed to offer continued value to an organisation and if that value is low the individual should move on.


Matthew Broomhead

“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

Permanent link to this article: https://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/3-reasons-why-training-fails/