Change Management: Why Training isn’t enough to get people onboard?

In our experience working with organizations on change initiatives, end user training is oftentimes seen as the ideal activity to get people up to speed with the change. The assumption is that, once people leave the training session, they will be well prepared to cope and embrace the change. There are a number of problems with this approach:

  • It assumes that people understand what the change is all about and that they are willing to participate. This is normally not the case and, as a result, we see people showing up to training not knowing why they are there or not showing up at all.
  • For some people training is the first time they hear about the change and they may resent not having been involved earlier
  • Even if participants attended and enjoyed their experience with training, this does not guarantee that they will actually turn their learning into practice

In sum, Training is a key change management activity but more is required to get people to adopt the change. Here are some items to consider:

  • Sponsorship: Before the training starts make sure that you have the support you need for your training activity to gain traction. For instance, engage the managers of the people who will be attending training
  • Communication: People need to truly understand why they have been invited to attend training and, most importantly, see the value on a personal level(i.e., address the “what’s in it for me?”)
  • Success measures: Before launching your training activities, take time to define your success/adoption criteria. How will you know your efforts yielded the results you wanted? We recommend establishing clear indicators which can serve to assess the real benefit of your efforts weeks or months after implementation
  • On the job support: For most people, learning takes place weeks or months after the formal training session. For that reason, we recommend providing opportunities for people to practice and specific support processes to resolve issues (e.g., one-on-one coaching, floor walkers, know-how videos)

Avoid spending thousands of dollars on an expensive training program that doesn’t yield the results you expect by addressing some of these issues beforehand.

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