Sanjeev Kotnala: 11 Reasons why your Training Programmes fail

25 Jun,2015

It’s the time of the year when most organisations tend to re-evaluate their training programmes and the progress they have made. Senior management sees it as not delivering the right ROI. Employees feel that right training is not being imparted. And the poor trainer suddenly has no idea why after a highly engaging interactive objectively driven session, the company has stopped calling him.


The three major components to training management are Management, Participants and Trainers.


The moot question is: does the training fails because of management attitude, participant apathy or trainer incompetence or a mix of all these?  Or it is the need gap analysis, timeline, frequency, content/ topic/ subject and the interest and view of the participants is where the organisation makes the mistake. 

Surprisingly training session and or industry interaction and events get polarised reactions. From useless, waste of time to eye-opener and very relevant. Time one questioned  such unwarranted diversity.


So we must check out where we are tripping in the process.

1. TRAINING NEED GAP: Instead of trying to find excuses, the organisation will do itself good in analysing the way they determine training need gap identification. If it is end of the year review input, you are bound to get it wrong. Instead, if it asks the team leaders and team a simple input on what training is needed to ensure delivery on agreed objectives. Chances are you will get a far better result… you are bound to get a better result.


2. QUALITY COMPROMISE: Next level of error is the cost-fee trap. The fixed/ ceiling on trainer fee per day create inefficiencies in your programme. You take out huge number of man-hours out of your system for training and yet willingly end up compromising on the venue, process and the trainer quality. Don’t we all know how badly it will impact the end-result?


3. TREATING INDUSTRY EVENTS AS TRAINING: Replacing training with industry seminar/ conclave is the next culprit. On top of that, organisations tend to use non-strategic filters in nominating people for such events. They serve totally different functions. One must stop confusing between them and re-evaluate your reasons for participation ad process of nomination. Though not writing it off, being stringent on this count will ensure more funds for right training.


4. SHORT NOTICE SHORT CHANGING TRAINING: Even if we do all things right, we still end up giving short notice to participants. This ensures failure. Allow delegates to create that work cushion providing them protection from irritant calls and mails during training. May be penalise who does not follow the rule… better penalise their team leader if such an environment is not created. It also allows your trainer to perfectly plan their schedule and enhance effectiveness.


5. DIFFERENTIATE TRAINING AND PARTICIPANTS: Ensure that you are providing right training to right candidates and clearly differentiate into. (1) BASIC HYGIENE- EFFICIENCY ENHANCERS – that helps in doing the ritualistic topical day-to-day function. Every one must complete (2) HIGHER LEVEL- QUALITY ENHANCERS- still within the job requirement but somewhat strategic skill oriented. Employee must complete these to lead in that level  (3) GETTING READY FOR THE NEXT LEVEL- this is selective to the identified stars to get them ready for the future role. If this is followed then in long run the need for basic hygiene training will get limited to new recruits. (4) CROSS-FUNCTIONAL TRAINING- these are your real stars who must get trained in multiple function and verticals to create the internal mass you need for your future management.


Do allow an employee a decent amount of liberty to opt out of only (1) and (2) types of trainings basis some internal skill evaluation


6. WAITING FOR PERFECT FIT: The biggest challenge is to find that trainer, time, cost and delegates match and you keep waiting. Take a start, stop procrastination. May be even ask seniors within the organisation to warm up with few sessions.


7. RESCHEDULE TRAP: The training programmes are recreated and drafted and rescheduled umpteen times. Don’t schedule any training on either side of the peak season. Don’t expect employees to completely take time out of weekends or holidays to participate in training. Have a one-day training on a weekday and for more day schedule do not depend on employees off time for more than 40% of the training time.


8. REAL MONITORING: Do get feedback from participants immediately after training and once again after a reasonable time gap when you expect the delegates to have utilised some of the inputs. This will really answer if your programme is effective.


9. MAKE TRAINING NOT A TASK BUT AN ADVENTURE. Not every training need to be experiential but the whole experience must be packaged in such a way that it is adventure. It must create that pull for attending and learning. Maybe it subject, content, venue, process or faculty. Do not overload and stretch your programmes into long hours unless it was an endurance-building workshop. Start on time-space training with decent breaks and finish n time.


10. A TRAINING FOCUSSED AGENDA: Get committed and let everyone know how serious organisation is about it. Make it the seniors’ KRA to ensure that the designated delegate is relieved for training. Ensuring policies that strictly penalise employees missing a training session and awards consistency in training   is bound to help the organisation.


11. CREATING TRAINING AMBASSADOR: Let positivity flow. If the above 10 were taken care of mostly you would have created training ambassador who will have good things to speak about the programme. Nothing works better than them. Ensuring that team leaders also share their training inputs with the team is another elementary move that gives positive results.


Each one of us needs a recheck in the processes and the purpose of training. It is something that can really work wonders if executed well.


Sanjeev Kotnala is Founder and Head Catalyst at Intradia. A Brand, Marketing and Management Advisor. He conducts specialised workshops in the area of IDEATION (Harvest and Liberate) and Innovation (InNoWait). His focus energy in enhancing client’s internal team’s potential and capabilities. In process decreasing their dependence  on external resources. To contact email  or tweet at s_kotnala visit

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