The Top 5 Reasons Corporate Training Fails

The Top 5 Reasons Corporate Training Fails

Thousands of organisations spend countless dollars on training and developing their employees every year. Yet they fail to see any tangible result that adds value to the business. What are they doing wrong – and how can it be fixed?

  1. Unclear Outcomes

    All too often, decision-makers set a ‘big picture’ goal for the results of the training. “We need better teamwork” or “The staff need time management skills”.

    Digging a bit deeper – by actually talking with the staff themselves – might reveal specifically what is blocking teamwork and better time management.

    Perhaps what’s actually needed is skills in working with different work styles effectively or dealing with interruptions politely and firmly.
  2. Learners are Prisoners

    I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve faced a room full of people who’ve been sent to me to ‘fix them’. No one has asked them if they want to – or feel the need to – attend this program. They haven’t been told what to expect, what’s in it for them, how they will benefit … much less been asked what they really need to learn to help them be better at their jobs.
  3. One-Day Fixes

    Put them in a room for a day, give them a great lunch, add a bit of entertainment and laughter, then inject them with some enthusiasm, motivation. There you go … all fixed.

    Rubbish! Humans need time to learn, absorb, consider, reflect and apply new skills. You’ll get far better ROI from a program that is delivered in short bite-sized chunks over a longer period of time. I guarantee it – and the research proves it, too.
  4. No Ongoing Support

    OK – the employees have returned and they’ve got it all handled. The can use their new wisdom and skills with 100% accuracy 100% of the time. Right?

    Of course not. Yet organisations that fail to provide post-learning support in the form of coaching, implementation activities and opportunities to ask questions and share concerns act as if the learner is super-human. Ongoing support may be provided by line managers, the L & D department, internal experts and mentors and/or external providers.
  5. Head in the Sand

    ‘If there’s no obvious problems, then everything must be alright. Surely we only need to train our staff when they clearly don’t know what they’re doing.’

    Wrong. In this scenario, what you don’t know can indeed hurt you. What’s slipping through the cracks? What’s happening on the internal grapevine? Who’s complaining about what and who around the place? What opportunities have we missed?

    You’re the leader. Knowing the answers to these questions – and dozens of others – is most definitely part of your responsibilities.


There you have it. If you want more tangible, observable ROI from your L & D dollars, avoid these traps and implement these solutions. It’s never, ever too late to start.

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