Ruby Newell-Legner - 7 Star Service
« Back to Articles

Are You Making These 7 Training Mistakes?

training sessions should not be boring When Starbucks looked into why so many hourly employees were quitting during their first 90 days on the job, company officials determined there was “a lack of connection” between new staff members and their stores. By providing new core training to help employees better connect with their stores — and designating learning coaches to be role models for new workers — Starbucks lowered turnover in the first 90 days by 30 percent.

“The relationship we have with our people and the culture of our company is our most sustainable competitive advantage.”
 Howard Schultz, Chairman and Chief Global Strategist, Starbucks

What is your training strategy? Have you decided to engage your employees, or just hope they show up every day?

Here are seven common mistakes trainers make — any of which can lead to an unproductive session:

Mistake #1: Not inviting employees to be part of the organization’s mission and vision.

Sometimes so much time is spent on the rules and regulations for employee behavior, there isn’t time left during the orientation to lay out the big picture goals of the organization. The true test is to ask participants after the training “What is the goal of our company?” If they can’t answer that succinctly, you need to make sure they eventually can.

Mistake #2: Sending the “Mandatory Memo.”

When you invite your employees to attend, let them know why the training is taking place and why their presence is important and valued. Get them excited to show up. Training should be an opportunity, not a punishment. Your goal is to create a learning culture for employees to embrace. Making them attend the session without providing this type of context in advance won’t put staff members in the proper frame of mind; things will go downhill from there.

Mistake #3: Going over the same old ideas and issues year after year.

You may have heard that some organizations “breathe their own exhaust.” Although that’s a little harsh, it’s certainly understandable how businesses don’t know how to change simply because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” I’ll bet those staff members are sick and tired of doing things that way! Instead, involve attendees by offering group activities that engage everyone on their own comfort level. Not everyone likes to stand up in front of a group and share, so find alternative ways to involve them. Perhaps a small discussion group that appoints someone to report back to the larger group would be more accommodating and productive.

Mistake #4: Not designing the training to reflect your expectations.

Prepare for the training by developing a clear objective of the responsibilities and actions you want participants to learn, and then assess the tools they will need to succeed. Invite key leaders at every level to be involved in planning the program, and be sure to provide attendees with necessary materials and resources.

Mistake #5: Lecturing ad nauseam.

Find creative ways to present material. The more fun attendees have, the more likely they are to retain the information shared. They’ll appreciate the variety and learn better as a result.

Mistake #6: Not delivering material in a way that helps listeners understand it. 

A good presenter studies adult learning and presentation skills to promote maximum knowledge transfer. Some presenters truly do not know to adapt material for different age groups or scenarios. This lack of training awareness causes some attendees to tune out and miss the key points.

Mistake #7: Failing to follow up.

That which is not reinforced disappears, which is certainly true following a training session. Before the session concludes, every attendee should know what objectives are expected of them, and managers must consistently reinforce those objectives to nurture ongoing improvement.

When you take steps to avoid these mistakes you can create a culture where employees come on board, like their jobs and stick around. Remember that first impressions can last forever.


“My biggest fear isn’t the competition, although I respect it. It’s having a robust pipeline of people to open and manage the stores who will also be able to take their next steps with the company.”

— Jim Donald, President, Starbucks North America


(Photo by iStock) 

About Ruby Newell-Legner

As a Fan Experience Expert, Ruby helps leaders in sports, leisure and entertainment build strong teams between front line staff and management, and make exceptional customer service a way of life. She has consulted with and designed customized training programs for more than 60 sports and entertainment venues, 80 leisure facilities and 29 professional sports teams. From the only 7 Star Hotel in the world to Convention Centers, from Denver to Dubai, Ruby brings unprecedented expertise and insight on how to create a service culture that motivates employees and promotes customer loyalty and retention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share your comments and opinions: