Training new and existing workers to improve performance is important for ongoing business success. In fact, a Gallup poll found that employee engagement leads to an 18% increase in workplace productivity. However, it isn’t always easy. From disengaged employees to outdated training methods, here are some common training challenges you’ll likely encounter along the way and how to overcome them. You’ll see improvements in no time.

1. Different Learning Preferences

Some employees learn best by listening, while others prefer watching a video or live demonstration to learn a new skill. Some work and learn best in social settings, while others are too anxious in a large group to absorb the information properly.

Ask your team what their preferred learning method is. Then, incorporate different methodologies into the training program. Give learners a blended learning experience with different learning modalities.

2. Disengaged Employees

Higher employee engagement translates to stronger retention rates, less absenteeism, greater profitability, better customer service and happier workers. Companies with engaged workers perform much better than their competitors. How can you create engaging training?

First, it’s important to keep timing in mind when planning a training session to ensure your employees can pay attention. Holding a class at the end of an understaffed, bustling eight-hour shift on a holiday won’t go over well. Although your employees may be happy to take a break from working, they’re almost guaranteed to tune out anything you try to teach them. Try to hold sessions on slow days or toward the beginning of people’s shifts.

Another crucial aspect of promoting engagement is to make the training interesting. Incorporate elements of storytelling, real-world examples and group discussions into your module. Ensure that learners have a chance to interact with the information rather than just hearing it.

For example, if discussing workplace safety in construction, you could conduct the lesson on a job site and walk people through safe equipment handling procedures. Employees could learn how to properly operate tools by getting a chance to use them in the field.

3. Information Overload

New employees are especially susceptible to being overwhelmed. After all, they must learn everything from their new passwords and accounts to new co-workers, and that doesn’t even include their job duties. Feeling overwhelmed at work can negatively impact employee performance. If training goes too quickly or teaches a wealth of information early on, people will likely forget part of it as they struggle to keep up.

Additionally, seasoned employees often have busy schedules. Learning a new skill or revisiting an old training course can eat into their valuable time at work, leading to burnout or poor knowledge retention. A 2021 survey found that 71% of employees typically feel tense or stressed during the workday.

One solution is to create a self-paced training schedule with frequent checkpoints where people can summarize what they’ve learned. Incorporate several ways for learners to ask questions, leave comments or review a lesson they need more information about. That way, people can learn at their own pace.

4. Poor Feedback

Giving good feedback is important for employees and their managers. However, when employees and training managers don’t receive the feedback they need to improve, performance suffers. Workers who don’t receive adequate feedback during training may feel demotivated or confused. Companies that don’t get quality feedback may continue providing ineffective training methods.

Open a two-way communication channel with learners and encourage them to speak up when they have questions or concerns. Good communication is fundamental to high performance and productivity.

5. Outdated Training Methods

Most people learn by doing. In a study, 90% of people reported that hands-on experience was the most effective way for them to learn. Employees may be happy to sit through a slideshow lecture in a classroom setting — after all, it doesn’t require them to pay close attention. However, odds are they’ll learn more from on-the-job training that integrates the new information.

Provide quizzes, group exercises and live demonstrations to hold people’s attention and help solidify what they’ve learned.

6. Irrelevant Training

Employees will feel frustrated or bored if the educational material isn’t relevant to their job. Furthermore, extraneous training wastes time and money for the organization.

Conduct thorough research before implementing a new training module. Why is it necessary at this particular time? Who will benefit from it and how? Then explain to your learners what they’ll learn and how it will help them at work.

7. Adapting to Remote Work

Many employees find themselves working remotely for the first time. This can present common training challenges for managers and employees. As a training professional, how can you ensure your employees understand what you’re teaching them?

Your training methods will depend on whether your organization has a fully remote or hybrid workplace. If employees work from the office a few days a week, you can train them in person to quickly answer their questions and ensure they absorb the new information.

Virtual training modules can also effectively onboard new employees and provide continuous learning. However, some people may have difficulty going through training modules independently, especially if they’re working from home, where they might encounter distractions.

Checking in frequently is key when training people remotely. Meet with learners or have them complete short exercises after each session so you can review what they’ve learned. This ensures workers perform at a high level — or, if not, it helps you get them up to speed.

8. Busy Employees

Your learners probably have a lot going on at work, so throwing a training session into the mix can be overwhelming. It’s important to carve out time for training instead of just adding it to people’s daily workload. That way, they won’t view it as an additional obstacle they must overcome to finish work on time and their performance won’t suffer. They’ll likely be much calmer and more likely to pay close attention.

9. One-size-fits-all Training

The more employees you oversee and the more diverse their jobs are, the more important it becomes to use personalized training modules. Broadscale training has its place — safety lectures and workplace harassment guidelines will likely apply across the board — but one of the most common training challenges is to create individualized lessons for each learner.

To do so, you must thoroughly understand each employee’s learning preferences and what their job position entails. You can accomplish this by talking with them or spending a day shadowing them at work. Knowing the ins and outs of everyone’s jobs will enable you to create customized training plans.

In Summary

Training workers to improve their performance involves more than simply lecturing them. Overcome common challenges by paying close attention to how employees learn best, deciding when the training will fit into their work schedule, introducing new information slowly and creating personalized lesson plans. Above all, you should listen to learners’ feedback and use it to make adjustments.