Why Most Training Interventions Fail

Have you ever wondered why most training programs fail?
In a recent survey, a research firm found that of companies surveyed, sales training initiatives failed 90% of the time.
Now, that is quite a staggering stat!

Organizations spend a lot of time and money into multiple training interventions all throughout the year, and despite all that, a vast majority of those interventions fail.

A lot of people may have several opinions regarding the failure of training. But let us proceed systematically in assessing what exactly goes wrong. Some of these reasons are structural, but many a times it is just poor project management.

This is the first of a series of articles that will provide the readers with a road map to the bumps, potholes and log jams that many programs encounter in their development and delivery.

So the first major reason that contributes to the failure of such interventions, is wrong Training Need Identification.

It all starts from identifying the right training requirement. While some are mandated by law such as Safety Training, Prevention of Sexual Harassment, Business conduct, ethics, etc., most training programs go through an identification process before the interventions are planned. To be able to proceed with that, it is however extremely important to understand as to why the training is necessary.

So, what contributes to wrong Training need Identification?

Lack of Understanding
The main factor behind improper identification of a Training need is lack of proper understanding. The lack in understanding constitutes the following:

  • Priorities – Often the requester of the training may not be aligned with the business goals of the organization and hence may not be in sync with the priorities.
    When it comes to setting priorities, it is imperative to understand what the organization is driving and the training need be aligned to the goals.

Establishing the organizational context plays a pivotal role in the TNI process.

  • People – Clear understanding of the people (the participants) involved with the training is another major step in TNI. Lack of understanding in terms of the job roles, current competencies, and the skill gap may be a major misguidance while identifying a training requirement.
    Incorrect identification of the Target Audience can cause a major setback in terms of training results and can have long term damaging consequences

In certain instances, involving the wrong stake-holders can also lead to confusion and may lead to incorrect TNI. In a large organization, inputs can come from different people sitting at different levels. But, it is important to understand the key stake-holders for a particular training requirement, and inputs should ideally be entertained from people directly involved with the outcome of the training.

  • Process – Process includes various components, such as understanding the performance gap, figuring out the reason behind the performance gaps by using survey tools, assessment tools, etc. Performance gaps are not necessarily skill gaps everytime that can be addressed with Learning and Development interventions. As often is the case, the evaluation of the TNI and TNA is not supported with the right framework required for a detailed analysis.
    Further, there may be several factors like lack of resources, availability, poor planning and management, and suchlike that contributes to an ineffective process.

Domain Knowledge
Although it is expected that L&D professionals are equipped with a detailed understanding of the domain, it is however difficult to have in depth knowledge about all the departments involved in the functioning of an organization. A knowledge gap can prove detrimental in the process of Need Identification, where key challenges may easily get misinterpreted. In such cases, small slacks can make a big difference to the program structure and the end results.

Expected Outcome
Imagine trying to impose football training on Bryan Adams, and music training on Ronaldo! And we can all guess what that’s going to be like!
No matter how much


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1 comment

  1. Team-Ot

    Wonderful Article. Good insights for L&Ds. Looking forward to the next part.