Why Corporate Training Fails

Designing Digitally


The amount of capital spent by corporations on training their employees has risen steadily over the past decade. With the exception of 2008, the height of our Great Recession, companies have increased their corporate training budgets and per employee training allowance in each of the past ten years. Yet with all of the money spent training their workforce, very few organizations take the time to measure the actual effectiveness of their training programs.

The success or failure of any corporate training effort can be measured by the increased productivity of the workers who receive the training, among other metrics. In this regard, training is an investment, not just in employee skill-building, but in the growth of the business. Too often however, organizations view the training of their workforce as just another expenditure or cost of doing business.

Understanding that workforce training isn’t simply an accrued expense is the foundation for an effective training program, and is the hallmark of a successful company. Corporate learning and development departments would do well to remember this, and to avoid the following common corporate training mistakes.

Ways Corporate Training Can Fail

  1. Not understanding the training needs of employees. This is one of the biggest reasons for the failure of corporate training to achieve its objectives. Sending employees to training that they are either not prepared for, is not relevant to them, or that they will not use in the immediate course of their job is a wasted effort. Instead, those in charge of learning and development should focus on conducting a training needs analysis that includes employee input. By analyzing the needs of the business, the training needs of the employee and the expected gaps in skills necessary for business success, corporate training programs can meet the needs of all.

Not delivering the right kind of training. Depending on the complexity or level of skill needed to perform a job task, different types of training may be required. The expectation of an employee to learn complicated procedures by sitting in a classroom may not be a realistic one. Instead, using a combination of online corporate training, interactive 3D virtual training, serious games or other computer-based eLearning devices may be more effective. This type of training can also reduce the expense and length of time for many training scenarios.

  1. Not having a comprehensive training program. Many corporations view workforce training as an annual event that employees go to. Instead, corporate training should be viewed as an on-going process that involves clearly defined objectives and outcomes. It should also include the integration of a learning management system (LMS) to track employee training progress and success. Finally, a comprehensive training program should involve the recipients of the training – the employees. Getting feedback on the entire training experience is crucial in designing a comprehensive training program.

Failing to evaluate the effectiveness of training. Training is sometimes viewed abstractly by those in management positions. It can be seen as a quantitative measure, as in “we’ve sent this many of our employees to training and spent this much money on it.” Instead, training needs to be viewed in a qualitative sense, and evaluated for its effectiveness. Measuring the results of a training program involves enlisting employee feedback, observing post-training performance, and tracking business success metrics.

  1. Expecting the results of training to be immediate. A common tendency in corporate training programs is to expect the task performance to immediately reflect expertise. This is not only unrealistic, it’s unfair. What’s needed is a performance support system or other supplemental mechanism to help the transition from academic to practical application of the training. This can be an education portal or other eLearning device that the employee can reference to refresh his or her knowledge of the training.

How To Remedy The Problem

In all of the common corporate training mistakes we’ve listed, solutions are readily available. In each case, the best way to address the problem of why corporate training fails is to understand the potential obstacles to success. It is important to understand and to implement best-practices into your training program. Enlisting the help of training design professionals is the surest way of avoiding the failure of your corporate training program.

Here at Designing Digitally, Inc., we are experts at analyzing and developing training solutions that meet the needs of business and of employees. Using a combination of eLearning design, interactive training tools and performance support techniques, we help companies to get the most from their training budgets. We also help by supporting and integrating with your existing learning management system. To learn more about how we can help improve the effectiveness of your corporate training program, contact us. We look forward to serving all of your training needs.