Whomever came up with the phrase, "No pain, no gain," might have been a corporate training event planner. The complexities and multitude of details and considerations and challenges that go into planning and managing a successful corporate training event can be overwhelming.
After conducting extensive research and engaging in discussion with experts in the training industry, we have identified five of the most common (and painful) challenges facing event planners—and the solutions they're utilizing to overcome them.
A major pain point for corporate training professionals is getting learners to attend and complete classes, especially non-mandatory courses.
One challenge primarily stems from geography. A common concern among executives is they are reluctant to "lose" an employee for up to several days for a single training, due to travel and training time commitment. You can reduce time spent away from the office by not requiring learners to travel out of town, and instead attend training in a local or regional training center.
Virtual training technology offers another solution—whether it is a video-conferencing style training that integrates learners with a physical classroom, or a cloud-based lab permitting interactive, real-time technical training—that encourages class attendance without associated travel expense.
2. Millennial Workforce—
By 2020, it is estimated that 46 percent of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of Millennials. A University of North Carolina study suggests that companies adapt learning modalities and teaching styles to accommodate a generation that has grown up learning things by Google searches and YouTube tutorials.
Some corporate training experts recommend offering more digital learning—partly to accommodate the comfort Millennials have with consuming content on screens. While updating your curriculum to include eLearning is wise, research shows it is critical to include live, instructor-led training as part of the learning experience.
A a recent study of Millennials in the workplace found this generational group actually prefers in-person, hands-on learning opportunities over remote or purely digital learning. Among their top three preferences for learning new skills were:
- Attending a conference/event
- Attending in-person training
- Working alongside knowledgeable colleagues
Companies are addressing the younger generation of learners in different ways. For example, General Electric , which has been progressive in its approach to adapting to its young workers, adopted the use of gaming technology to connect and teach in a fun, engaging way when educating their own employees.
It's vital that a company customizes its training program to its learners, whether young or old. So getting feedback from surveys and internal focus groups is a good place to start understanding how different generations prefer to experience training.
3. Buy-In From Key Stakeholders—
Whether you’re promoting a training program to internal employees, channel partners or customers, there are proven strategies to make your program more visible and accepted. The first is getting buy-in from stakeholders to make the case for training.
For training managers, this means demonstrating the training benefits to:
Managers and Executives - Focus on communicating the organizational benefits and how the training fits within key business goals and objectives. To get management buy-in for training, communicate the specific ROI they can expect. Results such as decreasing employee turnover rates, improving efficiencies, increasing customer satisfaction or increasing revenue all are ways to demonstrate the business value in your training program to your bosses.
Learners - It's important to motivate learners to take your training, focusing on specific benefits or rewards learners will receive from the training.
Look at your training plan and curriculum from the learners’ point of view and focus on why they should want to take the course. When relevant, point to industry research and other resources to get your learners excited about the value they’ll get from participating in the event.
A training industry survey found that 35% of event planners indicate technology has had the most noticeable impact on what they do. The advent of everything from event planning software to virtual platforms and eLearning software has revolutionized the corporate event planning space.
However, knowing which technology to use, the ROI to expect from incorporating technology and sourcing the right modalities can leave event planners perplexed and hesitant to implement. Corporate training has become so specialized that nearly every training program requires custom needs, particularly when it comes to technology. Work with a managed training service providers who can help educate you on the range of technology-enabled learning strategies available and assist you with project implementation.
5. Budget Constraints—
Some of the major costs associated with corporate training programs—travel, lodging, training space, technology and event staffing—can compromise the training budget. With hotel occupancy rates nationwide nearing record-highs, customers no longer are seeing discounted rates for conference and meeting rooms and some are even seeing price increases.
Technology can also eat up a big slice of your budget pie. In a recent report, 12.6% of event planners stated that they won’t have the budget to upgrade their training technology or be able to afford to implement necessary software and hardware they need. Hotels are a go-to venue resource for many training managers. However, hotels are not equipped to handle all event technology requirements and often come with an a la carte pricing model that can break the budget. To alleviate the budget strain and stress, opt for dedicated training centers, that are in proximity to hotels to keep control on the budget and meet the lodging needs of out-of-town learners.
The Bottom Line—
In an ideal world, every company could manage all the training event planning details on their own—and, certainly, some can. But due to the many and varied challenges facing modern training event planners, many instead opt to work strategically with outsourced training delivery partners to help increase efficiencies and reduce costs.