Avoid the Compliance Trap: Transform Mandatory Training into Dynamic Learning
June 14, 2024
The Cringe Podcast - Episode 2 - Matt Cameron

We’ve all been there, sitting through a mandatory training session, watching the minutes tick by, eager to “just get through it.” 

All too often corporate training feels more like a box-checking exercise than a meaningful learning experience. We can transform this perception. We can create training programs that employees not only value but are also excited to engage with.

 

Rethinking Sales Training: From Mandatory to Inspirational

Traditional sales training programs often fail to inspire because they don’t consider the intrinsic motivation of sellers. Tapping into the science of learning data in Marketing Management Journal, we know that employee engagement and performance significantly increase when training is relevant to the learners’ personal and professional goals. Therefore, organizations must  rethink how they design and implement these programs to foster genuine interest and engagement, and ensure that training is meaningful and valuable.. 

Though role playing for sellers is a popular method to develop conversational skills, organizations often lack the resources to offer enough consistent practice at scale to achieve conversational mastery. This is where AI role play comes in allowing sales and enablement leaders to deliver training that keeps learners engaged and provide immediate and meaningful feedback. 

 

Organizational Dynamics and the Science of Learning

Understanding organizational dynamics and applying the science of learning are vital in creating meaningful learning and avoiding the compliance trap. 

Organizational dynamics research helps us grasp how individuals interact within group settings versus on their own, influencing behaviors and learning outcomes. Additionally, the science of learning, which incorporates insights from psychology, neuroscience, and education, provides evidence-based strategies to enhance attention, memory retention, understanding, and application of knowledge.

Incorporating these elements into training programs transforms them from mundane training exercises to dynamic learning experiences. 

For example, active learning techniques, such as design-thinking problem solving sessions and role-play exercises engage employees more deeply than traditional, passive lecture-based. Some sellers may prefer to get started with team practice and then do the bulk of their training alone, in private, away from judgment, to focus and fine tune their skills.

 

Incentivizing Desired Outcomes

One effective strategy to enhance training outcomes is to align incentives with organizational goals. 

A Harvard Business Review article highlights that employees often “learn” in order to make a case for their own promotion, rather than for the business impact it can create. 

While it’s understandable that employees seek career growth, training incentives should be focused on what aligns best with organizational goals such as customer growth/retention and increased revenue. 

It is very important to ensure training is focused on the applied skills, knowledge and capabilities that will help attain key goals. That alignment means sellers can log hours of learning delivering meaningful progress for both the organization and themselves .

 

Early Recognition and Community Building

Early recognition of individuals who excel in training programs can have a profound impact. Recognizing and rewarding early achievers not only motivates them but also sets a benchmark for their peers, fostering a healthy competitive environment. Furthermore, building a community around learning can significantly contribute to engagement on learning platforms. 

Creating forums where employees can share insights, challenges, and successes turns the learning process into a collective, continuous journey. Using dashboards to identify learning journeys and tying those journeys to performance outcomes and success can be huge motivators, especially for early-career sellers. With AI tools, organizations have these journeys at their fingertips with data visualization tools to help communicate learning to sellers and their leaders.

 

Investing in Learning

Elevating the role of learning in an organization is crucial. By positioning training as a core aspect of organizational culture and personal development, rather than a compliance requirement, organizations can reshape perceptions. This involves leadership demonstrating a commitment to learning and valuing learning effort and outcomes, not just mandating it.

It also means investing in technologies that meet learners where they are, using adaptive game mechanics, rather than off-the-shelf training programs that learners click through no matter their level of skill or ability. It also means tapping into AI tools to empower enablement leaders, and making learning a priority.

Transforming sales training into a valuable, engaging learning experience is not just about changing content but also about reimagining its purpose and delivery. By focusing on organizational dynamics, using AI tools, leveraging the science of learning, recognizing achievements, and fostering a community of learners, organizations can ensure that training is not only completed but also embraced.

By adopting these strategies, organizations position themselves to thrive in an increasingly competitive and complex world, where continuous learning and adaptation are not just advantageous but essential.

 

This content was created by Stefanie Boyer

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