As a manager, or the lead for training and development in your organisation, you may have identified a skill gap, and feel you have a bonafide case for investing in training whether for an individual or a group of employees. You have obtained the senior commitment needed to enable you to access not only the funding but also the support for the time needed for the employees to complete the training. Now comes the real challenge – maximising delegate buy-in.

Delegates need to agree that they need the training. Whilst many welcome the opportunity for development and upskilling, there will be delegates who disagree that they need the development. This negativity could be due to fear, time pressure or simply a lack of self-awareness. You need delegates to be willing to attend, be attentive and to be keen to implement the learning once back in the workplace.

Here are MAD-HR’s seven tips to maximise delegate buy-in:

  1. Sell the concept – when delegates understand the need, and how it links with their individual work plans and goals, they will understand the why. Having a clear vision on how the training and business needs link will add value and they will not consider it a waste of their time.
  2. Engage delegates in the content – include the delegates when agreeing on the final content and details of the training package to ensure their individual challenges and needs will be met, and give them confidence that the training will be relevant to them and indeed focused on their needs. This should be industry-specific with realistic examples and exercises.
  3. Location –  choose a training location that is easy to get to yet will protect delegates from being dragged back to their desk/phone/computer screen. This can still be a location on site but maybe away from their team office, or it may need an off-site location. Consider parking, travel time, refreshments and be clear when communicating with the delegates. If there will not be time to go out and purchase lunch, advise delegates to bring lunch with them or arrange for it to be provided. Knowing such details in advance will help with delegates’ nerves and allow them to start the day more relaxed and open to the learning.
  4. Duration – appropriate duration will depend on content, delegates and needs of the business.  There is no blanket answer. This could mean bite-sized sessions spread out over a number of weeks, blocked training in consecutive days, or a one-off event.
  5. Delivery – again needs to match the delegates’ needs. There are many options for the style of delivery – powerpoint, interactive workshop, physical exercises, theory, evidential, eLearning, webinars.  Whether you go a high tech route or stick with old school flip charts will have a major impact on the delegates’ buy-in and learning capacity.
  6. Facilitator – can be in-house or external, and again needs to be in response to the needs of the group. Ideally, the facilitator needs to have relevant experience, be able to answer questions and be considered the “expert” regardless of who is in the room. A facilitator who demands respect will have an attentive and willing room of delegates.
  7. Follow-Up – the value of the training needs to be assessed, and the messages of the training need to be endorsed and followed up by the line manager and senior team. Ensure that the action plan is picked up in 1-2-1s, that there is a commitment by the organisation to embrace the changes that are a result of the training and that you check you have received VFM.

We hope these tips are useful. We’re a friendly bunch and would love to help Make A Difference to your business with supporting your training and development needs. You can read more of MAD-HR’s Training Services here.

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