All In: Gaining Buy-In and Adoption of Training Programs

Donna Herbel, the Lead Director of Training and Development at Perkins and Marie Callender’s, shares the 2 questions you need to ask in order to get buy-in for your new training programs.

Published on 3 June, 2016 | Last modified on 1 November, 2022

By Donna Herbel, Lead Director, Training and Development, Perkins and Marie Callender’s

In a recent panel discussion about training programs and adoption of training processes, a few common questions came up.  How do training professionals manage compliance with training programs?  When launching new or updated training, what are the strategies for improving buy-in and adoption?

Tony Robbins is credited with a powerful quotation:  “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”  While the following two questions might not lead to better answers, they can help training professionals improve buy-in and adoption of training programs!

  1. Why Are Learners or Operators Opting Out?

Voice of the Customer research isn’t just for the marketing department.  Understanding and addressing the needs of the learner, the needs of the business, competing demands, and current attitudes about training can elevate interest in and adoption of training programs and processes.  Concerns about the value of time spent, the ability of training programs to achieve long-term success, and the ability to meet individual needs are not uncommon responses.

  •    Communicate the Value  

Employees and managers trust that training will help them be more successful.  Clearly outline the value to the learner, and to the business, when learning objectives are met.  Ensure that training has a direct link to improving performance or knowledge, and eliminate any busy work that is not aligned with learner outcomes.  Learners are savvy, and are likely to avoid training that is not perceived as valuable or helpful.

  •     Make Success Immediate

Upon completion of training, the learner’s ability to achieve success right away reinforces that the training was important.  Breaking training into small chunks, with frequent points to successfully demonstrate learning, keeps learners engaged and interested.  Design achievement and success points into the training.  The feeling of being capable helps translate the learning into repetitive action, which reinforces success!

  •    Create a Flexible Design

It is easy for trainers to be fans of training.  Be intentional about designing for various learners.  Training can be stressful for some, especially in areas where learners are not confident.  Create branches or paths when possible.   Learners should have access to more information or repetition if they need it without becoming frustrated, while learners who are proficient can move forward without becoming bored.  Design for the environments where training will occur, and account for the fluid situations that may distract from the learning design.

  1.  Who Is Asking for the Training, and Why?

You are not the only one who needs to be marketing your courses. Engage the sponsors and endorsers of the training program so that they share their enthusiasm for your course with your learners. Before deployment begins, key leaders should be public about how the training aligns with the business need or strategy, and why it is important. 

  • Align With Business Needs

The Training Needs Analysis can help leaders and decision-makers ask questions, buy in to the process, and rally support.  Rather than trying to implement a training process or program, helping teams identify and communicate an existing need and linking the program to the solution creates improved partnerships for adoptions.

  • Share Training’s Relevance

Stakeholders are more likely to embrace and endorse programs that are relevant to current and future needs.  Beyond extolling the benefits of the training program, great influencers help others see and describe the importance of the process and invite external collaboration to remove barriers and get to expected results.

  • Measure the Results

The work to increase buy-in and adoption of a training program doesn’t stop with implementation! Measuring and communicating the results of the program builds credibility for current and future initiatives.  Sharing the story helps learners and teams engage in the dialogue.

To avoid common challenges and resistance to buy-in for training programs, keep your training customer in mind.  Give people what they need, not simply what you want them to have, and demonstrate your professional partnership to their goals and success.

Donna Herbel, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is the Minneapolis-based Lead Director of Training and Development for Perkins & Marie Callender’s, LLC. PMC currently owns and franchises more than 440 full service Perkins Restaurants and Bakeries in 34 states and five Canadian Provinces. Her areas of expertise include training, leadership development, talent development, strategic planning, process improvement, and project management.

A supporter of volunteerism and sharing within the industry, Donna continues service on the Boards of Directors for the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART),the Jobs Foundation, and Minnesota Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY MN).

Say hi to Donna at the CHART annual conference in Charleston July 30-August 2nd (and stop by Mimeo’s booth, too!).

Find Donna on Twitter: @donnaherbel

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