A lot of time and money spent on training is wasted, says US-based John Tschohl, President, Service Quality Institute, an organisation dedicated to helping businesses attract and keep customers, build market share, improve the performance of the entire workforce, and create a culture of delivering superior customer service.
"Training costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time. Labour time is
your single biggest cost. If participants aren't listening, then you've
wasted all your money. Training that is poorly presented goes in one ear and out the other.
It's no wonder employees don't change their attitudes or behaviours
after they attend a badly presented training session," said Tschohl, who is often invited to present keynotes on customer service to companies worldwide.
Tschohl, who has been in training for more than 40 years on six
continents and is the author of "Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service," listed 10 'fails' in training:
1. Groups that are too large: You can't have a good group discussion if 100 people
are in the room. Try to limit training sessions to 15 people so
everyone has a chance to participate. If the group size is larger, most
employees will not participate and hence will not change their behaviours
or learn new skills.
2. A handful of people monopolising the conversation: It's natural
in groups for three people to speak up while everyone else stays silent.
Facilitators must call on everyone in the room to participate. If
people don't talk, they won't buy into the training goals.
3. Ineffective games: People don't like role-playing games. Games and
exercises have to do with something that builds success as a team.
People need to be actively involved in the exercise.
4. Complicated training concepts: If the material is not easily
understood, it will not be implemented. Make sure the information is
easily understood. Test the material on several small groups. Make
adjustments and then roll out the final version to the entire
5. Monopolised by the facilitator: Facilitators should be seen and seldom
heard. They should steer the conversation, but they should not dominate
the discussion. They should ask leading questions of the participants
and make sure everyone talks at some time. The facilitator is a juggler.
He/she needs to keep the conversation going. The more discussion there
is, the more likely attitudes and behaviours will improve.
6. Lectures: Remember how you fell asleep when boring professors
spoke in college? Your employees are no different. Lectures are not an
effective way to get people to change their attitudes and beliefs.
7. Irrelevant information: If the material is not relevant to their
jobs, people will not accept the information. They want ideas they can
8. Bad physical environment: Learning can't take place if people are
not comfortable. Invest in a room that looks pleasant and professional.
It sounds basic, but make sure the room is well heated or cooled and has
comfortable seats. Offer refreshments. Add audio and video presentation
equipment. Make sure there aren't any outside distractions, such as
9. Repeating the same training programmes and materials: A child can
watch the same programme 50 times, but an adult can't watch the same
training materials twice. Companies need to bring in new trainers who
have new information and different teaching styles. Companies should
also invest in new training materials to spice things up.
10. Not considering young people's learning styles: The
vast majority of workers are young people. They learn differently than
previous generations and they get bored easily. Look at the games they
play on their phones. They want to be entertained. If the training isn't
entertaining, you lose the participation.
"If you do it right, then training is a wise
investment. If you make mistakes, it will hurt the company and the
employees," Tschohl concluded.