Training should be viewed as an investment in your employees. It allows their skills to improve, thus delivering better performance for your business and your customers. Unfortunately, not all training is successful, and there are a variety of factors that could lead you to an unfavorable result.

Location: Onsite Training vs Offsite Training

One of the biggest decisions regarding training takes place before training begins: deciding if employees should attend a training event offsite, or bring the training onsite. Both have value, and if training is to be viewed as an investment, then putting them in the right environment to learn is important. Not all training needs to be completed off site, but if the training includes something new or it covers a large amount of information, then off site would be beneficial.

One of the fears some leaders have regarding off-site training is having employees away for a period of time. Will their absence affect the day to day business negatively? While it’s a reasonable concern, you must first consider the regular volatility of an employee–they could have a family emergency, come down with an illness, or even quit on any given day, and business would carry on normally.

Remember, the employee’s absence to gain skills that impact the business in a positive manner outweighs any short term struggles you may encounter.

Length of Training: Short and Ongoing

Studies have shown the mind needs a break after 90 minutes of focused attention. This is key when designing either onsite or offsite training. Successful organizations schedule multiple training sessions for shorter periods of time versus one or two long sessions occasionally.

Limiting the number of training sessions forces the trainer to cover multiple topics, spending less time on each, in order to review everything in a singular session. Ideally, you’ll have time to focus on one or two topics per session and have more sessions, which allows for the employees to process and understand the new information. It also allows the organization long term implementation versus short term installation of information.

Keep the Distraction to a Minimum

This last obstacle is a product of the previous two. Especially for onsite training, distractions have the tendency to pop up throughout the day. If you are in a customer facing business, like automotive dealerships, there is always the potential that employees can be pulled out of training to assist on the floor, while this would not happen at an off-site training.

On site trainings allow for the employees’ minds to wander, thinking of other things they could be doing since their work is so close at hand. Having shorter sessions on site and multiple times a week should alleviate this issue. But again, if the training involves new information or longer format, then off-site is the choice.

If you are desiring better results for your business, training is essential. The key is for leaders to view training as an investment. As with any investment, you should be evaluating the potential risks and maximizing the returns by optimizing the three main factors of location, length, and distractions. This will allow employees to fully focus on what is being communicated and will allow them to focus on creating a plan to implement the knowledge when they return.

For those individuals who lead teams and are looking to improve their skills, join me in NJ on July 24th-25th for a two-day workshop titled You have the Job, Now What? Building & Leading a High Performing Team.

Click here for more information.

Glenn Pasch

Glenn Pasch is a Partner and CEO of PCG Digital. Glenn continues to author articles for multiple industry publications, blogs and forums as well as continuing his writing online at www.glennpasch.com.