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How to Design Corporate Training Programs for Lasting Behaviour Change

Updated: Feb 29


A diverse group of professionals engaged in lively discussion in an office setting, showing teamwork and collaboration.

Corporate training is pivotal for the growth of an organization. Companies spend a lot on training their staff to make them better at their jobs. But often, these trainings focus too much on just learning facts and not enough on real change.


What if corporate training could do more than just check off boxes? What if it could help employees grow and improve their skills in the long run?


In today's blog, we will look into the importance of corporate training and how designing programs that cultivate long-lasting behaviour ensures success that benefits both employees and the company. 


Importance of corporate training programs


Corporate training or workplace learning is a set of educational lessons provided to employees to equip them with necessary as well as new and up-to-date skills. Whether it is training them with the new software the company adopted, fostering leadership abilities, or creating more harmony in the workplace, these programs give a structured framework for learning and development. 


Corporate training shouldn't merely consist of a single-day event with a PowerPoint presentation, after which everyone resumes their usual routine. A successful corporate training program should be designed in such a way that it cultivates lasting behavioural changes among employees. It should assist in developing valuable habits and in instilling core values.


This helps an employee to stay ahead in their respective domain, which in turn helps the organization to prosper in the market. 


The dynamics of behaviour transformation in corporate training


Why behaviour change is important? 


It’s behavioural change that makes a difference, as it’s proof that the learner has gained the skills, expanded their role, and taken on board what they’ve learned. If the training doesn't result in behavioural changes, it suggests a need for revising and updating the approach to make it more effective.


James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente developed one of the most well-known models of behaviour change, often referred to as the "Stages of Change". This model consists of distinct stages. Let us learn more about this and understand how one can incorporate this in designing an effective training campaign. 


Pre-contemplation 

In this stage, the employees are unaware of what to change. This is the stage of ignorance. The first step the organization has to take is to assess what behaviour or value they want in their employee. Spot the difference between how things are now and how we want them to be. Describe what's happening in simple, observable terms. Ask, "What do we notice that tells us things aren't quite as they should be?"


Contemplation 

This is the stage where people are told or made to understand that there is a need of behaviour change. Changing behaviours takes time and energy. Telling someone they need to change is also not an easy task.


It's essential that the L&D team and trainers work together and communicate effectively why there is a need for change even before the actual training starts. They also need to make the employees understand the value of the training and why it should be vital for them. Make them realize its purpose and the positive impact it will have in their life. You can do so by correctly positioning your L&D initiatives.


Preparation and action 

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. In this stage, the organization needs to design and prepare the training material with the main objective in mind. Every company has a different and unique need. Research and align training material with the company values, and select the most effective methods such as role-plays, PowerPoint presentations, gamification of training or virtual training. 


Once that’s prepared, one can now execute the newly designed training campaign. In this step, it's important the lessons are taught with enough reinforcement and recalling ability. The objective is to make the learning long-lasting and enjoyable. 


Maintenance 

Once you see there is a visible shift in behaviour change that aligns with the goal, that is when one can comfortably maintain the pattern. The more consistent the employees are in learning and executing the new skills, the easier the transition would be. It's important the company develop an environment that ensures the learners aren’t tempted to go back to their previous ways.


Relapse 

In any behaviour change, relapse is natural. One can identify the most common triggers and incorporate it in the training and advise the employees early on where they have to be extra careful. This will help the learners to not be demotivated and bounce back with even more determination.


The Stages of Change Model illustrates progress in the behavior change journey with stages: Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Determination, Relapse, Action, Maintenance.


Principles of Effective Training Design 


If your training can evoke a change in the behaviour of your learners, it will help your organization to thrive. This makes it important to craft and design your training in a way that would lead to the most effective behavioural change. Let us understand what could be incorporated into your training for the best outcomes.


Setting Clear Objectives

Start with the end in mind. Know and understand what changes you want in your employees. If a set task is done by one method currently, understand how would it be done if they were performing well. Comprehend where the gap lies and find the best methodologies to address it and bridge it.


Engagement Strategies

Engaging learners is essential for effective training. Incorporating interactive elements, such as group discussions, case studies, and quizzes are some tried and tested methods that help participants to be actively involved and enhance retention of the material being taught. If you're wondering about the right format for engagement and delivery, check out our blog on choosing the right format.


Increase Active Participation

Encouraging active participation goes hand in hand with engagement strategies. Trainers should create a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas, fostering a culture of collaboration and continuous learning.


Feedback and Reflection

Providing timely feedback and opportunities for reflection enhances the learning process. Constructive feedback helps participants understand their progress and areas for improvement, while reflection encourages deeper understanding and integration of new concepts into daily practice.


Adaptability and Flexibility

Training material should always be made with the understanding that each person is unique with varying learning styles. Some may be more of a visual learner, while others more auditory. Flexibility in delivery methods, content presentation, and pacing accommodates each learner's preferences and ensures an inclusive learning experience for all. 


Continuous Evaluation and Improvement

Continuous evaluation of the training helps in the refinement and improvement of overall material. Regular feedback mechanisms, post-training assessments, and performance metrics allow trainers to gauge the program's impact and make necessary adjustments for future iterations. 


Effective Training Design Principles are depicted on puzzle pieces, featuring clear objectives, engagement strategies, active participation, feedback, and reflection.


Incorporating #New York Bestseller Atomic Habits into Designing a Highly Productive Corporate Training Program


James Clear, the author of the book, is one of the world's leading experts on habit formation. This groundbreaking book offers a lot of insights into how a person can create meaningful habits and most importantly stick to them. This thoroughly researched book provides many valuable insights that can revolutionize the way we design training programs to create lasting change within organizations.


According to the main principle of “Atomic Habits”, the 4 Laws of Behaviour Change—Cue, Craving, Response, and Reward—serve as guiding tools for designing corporate training programs aimed at behaviour change. 


Cue: Identify triggers or cues that prompt specific behaviours. In a corporate training context, understanding the environmental, social, or emotional cues that influence employee behaviour enables trainers to understand the reason and how to tackle it effectively. 


Craving: Tap into the intrinsic desires and motivations that fuel their behaviours. By aligning training objectives with employees' aspirations and values, trainers can cultivate a sense of purpose and intrinsic motivation, driving a stronger commitment to change.


Response: Develop clear, actionable steps that individuals can take to initiate the desired outcome. Breaking down complex tasks into manageable actions helps employees to take incremental steps toward their goals, building momentum and confidence along the way.


Reward: Create a system of immediate and tangible rewards that reinforce desired behaviours. Recognizing and celebrating progress, no matter how small, reinforces positive habits and cultivates a culture of continuous improvement.


Conclusion 


Sequence of stages illustrating behavioral change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and relapse

Behaviour change is essential to the success of your training department. Designing corporate training with a blend of theoretical framework with practical insights makes the teachings stick and long-lasting. Key takeaways to creating an Impactful program include starting with setting clear objectives, understanding employee motivations, creating positive engagement, aligning with organizational goals, and making it adaptable and flexible.


Curious about how you can set the stage for lasting behaviour change in your company? Check out how Thinkdom can help.

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