Common Corporate Training Mistakes to Avoid

Designing Digitally


Corporate Training

Employee training is a fundamental task that typically falls upon the shoulders of supervisors, hiring managers, HR and L&D department heads, and corporate training directors. Unfortunately, training models aren’t always up to par with how people learn simple points, much less complex topics. If you’ve ever been a trainer, then you likely know the result— a frustrated and disappointed trainer and trainees who’ve lost productivity time without becoming any wiser or better equipped for the job.

To develop an efficient and effective employee training strategy, you should know why and how corporate training often goes so wrong. Here are some common corporate training mistakes:

  • Trainers assuming previous knowledge exists where it doesn’t.
  • Trainers moving quickly with an influx of mass information without taking proper time for instruction and questions.
  • Trainers failing to consider how trainees learn best and not making themselves available for the entirety of that learning process.
  • Trainers taking the easy route of distributing information without context or explaining the whys behind the hows.
  • Trainers not utilizing all the learning tools available to them, such as custom online learning, and instead simply reading off or passing out information.

Let’s explore these and other common corporate training mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

Mistake 1: Having the wrong person as your trainer

Choosing the right person to develop and instruct your corporate training strategy is key. It is very important that you don’t assume the person who is most knowledgeable about the subject will always be the best person to teach it. Some people may be able to do something themselves, however, they are not skilled in educating others in the most effective ways. That’s an important distinction to make.

Another caveat is availability. Trainers should be accessible, approachable, patient, knowledgeable, dependable, and have an open door policy. Otherwise, trainees may hesitate or be unable to ask questions about what they’ve been tasked with doing.

Trainers should also be versatile in their approach to learning. All pupils don’t learn the same way or at the same speed. A huge corporate training mistake is not taking advantage of the modern technology available to enhance the learning process. Simply handing out a memo or a bullet point tutorial can be effective for simple training measures, but anything with learning complexity will most likely need more thorough instruction that will add value to the learning experience.

One of the best ways to accomplish enhanced corporate training solutions is through online learning. This learning tool enables measured successes, keeps costs to a minimum, can be adopted to fit any objective, and allows learners to work at their own speed versus that of the instructor.


Mistake 2: Focusing on only how and not why

Training programs often have the objective of how employees should go about their jobs. Of course, employees must understand the basics of their role, the tools used to accomplish that role, and the standard by which they should complete work.

That said, however, employees must also know the whys behind those hows if they’re ever to truly understand their role and view the hows as something important enough to routinely follow. Without the why, hows become mere talking points that they might be able to verbally regurgitate but mostly fail to utilize daily. Understanding the hows empowers the employee and offers them irreplaceable problem-solving skills.

The solution to avoid this corporate learning mistake is quite simple. Give a rationale. Whether it be a corporate rule or department objective, explain the reason behind what you’re asking the employee to accomplish so they understand why the training will make a difference to them.

Mistake 3: Narrowing expectations to a singular focal point

Most trainees are at the end of a very tall totem pole. The employer or company is at the top, the department they work within is in the middle, and the immediate and/or department supervisors are right above the trainee. Your role is to communicate all the expectations of the totem pole to your trainees, not just the highest and lowest.

Occasionally, the above may be congruent on a teaching point, but most of the time expectations begin to micro-focus the closer they get to an employee. Corporate strategy, for example, may be employee innovation. Meanwhile, the department’s expectation may be better collaboration with others to implement innovative strategies. Then, the supervisor might specifically want innovation on certain projects and with certain deadlines.

The solution is to train with the inclusion of expectations from broad to narrow, starting at the top and bringing it all the way to a day-to-day personal level for the trainees. Online training solutions can comprehensively cover all expectations and give a more complete picture to trainees during the learning process.

Mistake 4: Hitting employees too fast with too much information

Training typically has a central goal of getting employees onboard as quickly as possible. Expediency is important, especially to prevent trainee boredom and get policies and work operations implemented immediately across the board. However, information dumps aren’t digestible for most humans.

You need to understand how the mind learns, which is in steps of being told, shown, doing, practicing, and mastering:

• Mental digestion through verbal, written, and other discussion tactics.

Experience through a hands-on performance of the task.

• Repetition through performing the same task multiple times.

• Adjustments and tracking based on feedback, insight, and constructive criticism by trainers.

• Skill-building through mastery and the resulting questions and observations.

As you can see, the final stage of learning starts the cycle over. As a trainee gains ground in a skill or knowledge base, it spurs more questions. This is why it’s of the utmost importance for trainers not to just tell in training. You must also show and provide opportunities for experience.

According to leadership and employee training expert John Whitmore, training programs that include an experience facet have a 65 percent recall after three months versus a mere 32 percent when the program is presented as show and tell.

The solution is to ensure training isn’t just telling of information. Allow trainees to put the information into motion immediately. Be prepared to continue training for repetition and to offer reminders, feedback, and constructive criticism.

Mistake 5: Missing out on opportunities to improve your training program

Ask your new hires what their experience was like in your corporate training program. Ask the department they entered if new hires typically come in prepared or not. The feedback can be quite shocking, but it’s a key way to know if you have an effective program and where any corporate training mistakes may exist.

Make sure that your program has a periodic overall review, too. Create a follow-up system for trainers and trainees to gain feedback on how training was received immediately and then 90 days out. Assess your training strategy to see if it’s utilizing all the best learning tools available. Keep in mind that online learning programs allow you to seamlessly cover all those bases.


Your employee training is a crucial step in achieving a successful and safe work environment. Contact Designing Digitally today to learn more about how online learning solutions can help you avoid the common pitfalls of corporate learning mistakes.

Related Resources: 7 Corporate eLearning Mistakes to Avoid Article and Common Corporate Training Challenges Infographic