We all know the value of training. For companies, it can reduce risk and increase the bottom line. For employees, it provides valuable job skills and opportunities for career advancement. For customers, good employee training improves their experience and overall satisfaction.
Human Nature Isn’t Always Logical
But human nature is a funny thing. Even when we know something is good for us, we don’t always make the time or effort to do it. Did you eat five servings of fruits and vegetables yesterday? Did you get the recommended amount of exercise last week? Understanding the benefits of healthy habits doesn’t make it easier to fit them into our busy lives.
The same goes for training. As with diet and exercise, some people are naturally motivated to do what’s good for them. In the training world, these are your superstars – the people you never have to beg to complete training. And then there are the rest of us, who need an external nudge to complete training on time (or maybe at all).
Incentives Can Move Training to the Top of Their List
Incentives can be an effective way to get employees to move training to the top of their priority list. When you hear “incentives,” you might see dollar signs. The reality is that most of us don’t have the budget for, or even the authority to spend money on, incentives. However, things with monetary value aren’t the only way to incentivize people. Here are some low-cost incentives that can help increase your training participation rates.
- Create competition. Set up a simple leaderboard on the intranet, in your LMS, or even through email. You might be surprised what a little healthy competition can do.
- Publicly acknowledge accomplishments. Send a company-wide email, write a newsletter blurb, or say a few words at a team meeting congratulating people who completed training or attained a certain score.
- Praise effort. Don’t forget the people who completed training a day late, or failed their first attempt. Praising their effort in a handwritten note, a personal email, or swinging by to encourage them face-to-face can be just the motivation they need to keep going.
As you put together a low-cost incentive plan, here are some additional things to keep in mind. What people need to do to get on a leaderboard or be acknowledged should be attainable. Creating too many hoops to jump through may negatively impact motivation. Update leaderboards often, and don’t wait for the annual retreat to acknowledge people. Too much time between meeting the goal and getting the reward could lessen the impact of the incentive. Finally, resist the urge to try a whole bunch of new incentives at once. Rather, try one at a time, use the strategy for a while, then look at data to see if it seems to have impacted training rates. Being as systematic as possible will help you find which low-cost strategies work so you can spend your time and effort on things that really make a difference.