How do you avoid the top 3 corporate training mistakes? Discover how these basic errors in strategy are frustrating, costly, waste time and reduce confidence in your entire training function.

Corporate Training Mistakes 1. Training for One Outcome

Many businesses perceive a training event as a way to solve specific problems. So, they react and plan their training bit by bit. For example, if they see a communication problem in their business, they will then plan communication training. If they see a conflict, so they plan team building etc.

And on and on it goes with a piece-by-piece approach to their training strategy.  Soon, the entire training calendar is full of wonderful solutions. But the solutions lack any strategy connected with the company vision.

This is a common corporate training mistake. The desire of leadership to ‘put out fires’ fuel this habit. So, the top of the organization drives and directs the use of training resources in a piecemeal approach.  Then, as a problem occurs, leadership orders the training function  to solve it immediately.

Sadly, this approach is near-sighted and lacks a cohesive corporate training strategy. It muddies the focus of the training function and depletes its resources to train on longer term ambitions.

A better approach requires leadership to perceive training differently. Training is a tool for developing your business culture and your business culture is the behaviors that you people repeat in your business, every day.

So, if you want those behaviors to be more efficient, more productive and more effective, they will need coached over an extended period, towards objectives that are part of a broader business strategy.

Therefore, when constructing your training strategy you should start with the greatest question: “How do we accomplish the vision of our business?” This vision was made up of a mission and values that ask us to behave in a certain way to accomplish the greater goals faster and more effectively.

So, whether you need systems training, administration training, leadership training or other soft skills training, your training strategy should always help you to manifest the values that this business has in its Core Principles.

There will always be a need for training to overcome an emerging crisis. But if your business fails to focus its annual training strategy on skills, this is a bigger crisis. In such a  case, your training ignores the mission of the business. And which business can succeed with such a focus?

That is the worst corporate training mistake you can make.

Corporate Training Mistakes 2. Training is Not Skill-Based

How much time and money have I seen thrown away by companies conducting ‘motivational’ training’. They organize treasure hunts and trust falls and fun games that everyone loves.

And then, the team returns to their workplace with the existing problems still unsolved. They practice the same habits, attitudes and processes that required the training in the first place. But everyone forgets the money wasted on the motivational training, training that didn’t work.

I have witnessed this basic corporate training mistake so often I have lost count. And there is a massive industry that provides just this type of training.

I am not saying we should never simply let our hair down and have some fun. I am say that if you really want to motivate a team, give them something. Everyone loves a gift and what better gift than a skill – it is the gift that keeps on giving.

When we train people in skills, we give people an opportunity to learn and practice something that may benefit them for their whole life. Therefore, they not only enjoy learning it, but they grow, develop and mature at the same time.

This is we develop real business culture. It is enacted with and through the people who are speaking and acting in your business.

Don’t make the basic corporate training mistake of motivating without skills. Ultimately it will waste your time and money and reduce the confidence in the trainmen function of your company.

Corporate Training Mistakes 3. Training Ends in the Classroom

The third issue is probably the most expensive corporate training mistake I have found in business. It occurs because there is no follow up after the conducted training.  No one creates metrics to measure their success. And there are no systems put in place that demand people use the skills you want them to practice. Without such opportunities to practices, how can the skills become a part of your company culture?

People will forget what they learn in the classroom if they are not given opportunities to practice outside it. Like riding a bicycle, people will never forget how to ride if they get on it day after day.

Training skills need to be real-world. And they need to be skill-based. If not, they are useless. Sadly, your people will simply discard them through natural selection.

Each skill needs a home in the routines of the business. So, to achieve this, we design opportunities for participants to apply their new talents on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, whichever is practical.

If we teach them how to solve problems, for example, we should have a problem-solving competition quarterly. Or, if we teach them how to communicate, we can set up guided meetings on hot topics where the skills can be applied in the real world until they are a part of the business culture and sustainable.

Without practice beyond the classroom we commit a grave corporate training mistake.


Avoiding these corporate training mistakes means changing our attitudes about training. We must accept that training is not a solution to every problem in your business. It is one tool we can apply within a holistic business vision that connects with a cohesive training strategy.

Only when we translate the skills into workplace activity will your training be effective. In this way, training makes the leap from fun classroom activities to the working culture of your enterprise. This is how you can avoid expensive corporate training mistakes.

Michael Paul Stephens is the founder of Provolution Consultancy, a Thailand-based corporate training organization helping business build a better culture.



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