In a previous post I introduced the 3-Step model that you can use to improve training attendance. In this post I’m going to delve into one very specific part of the model that helps us to “create DESIRE”: ‘Creating urgency’.
Why you need to “create DESIRE” for your courses
Employees choose to attend training courses based on the results that expect to get. If they don’t know, understand or believe the results that your training courses will deliver, they are unlikely to register and even less likely to attend.
So, if you are going to improve attendance on your training courses, you’ll need to create desire in your employees. One way to do this is to ‘create urgency’.
Why you should create urgency
This is something that tends to be done really badly within organizations and done really well outside of organizations – because within organizations we want to be really nice!
We want to say to people:
“We get that you’re busy but there’s a course that would be helpful for you… But don’t worry, we’ll run them whenever you want throughout the year. We’ll make everything available to you and there’s absolutely no urgency at all.”
That’s being really nice but it’s not true. There isn’t an infinite budget. You do have to plan these things in advance.
How to create urgency
If you’re providing a course that’s going to help people hit their sales targets, why should they wait? Why should we say it’s fine if they attended in three months’ time?
Emphasize why they should attend the course NOW
Instead, L&D should be saying:
“Come on! If you’re not hitting your sales targets you should be on this course. It’s in two weeks’ time and you should make time for it because the end benefit is hitting your sales targets. We’ve run this course before and other people have hit their sales targets as a result. Therefore, if you want to do that you need to sign up now.”
You should communicate this to managers too, so they can help you create this urgency with their employees.
Highlight where there is limited availability
When we say urgency, it’s not just creating urgency about attending the course on a particular day, but actually creating urgency around registering as well.
So, let people know how many slots are remaining on a course. Highlight that spaces are limited, that they’ll go quickly and encourage people to register as soon as they can.
Provide bonuses for early registration
In the external world of training, (companies who provide training to other companies or individuals), they are able to do things like discounts or bonus products for people that respond earlier and sign up earlier.
You might think this isn’t possible internally, but you can!
For example, if we use the course I mentioned before about hitting your sales target, you might say:
“For the first 10 people that register, we’ll arrange 1-2-1 time with the top sales person, to discuss what you learned after the course and how to put it into practice to achieve great results.”
Now of course in theory, the employee themselves could contact the individual and arrange it… but there’s something very valuable about having it done for them, so it works as an incentive to register early.
The key is to identify something of value to the employee that you can provide to them (often for free, and very little effort). Then you can create urgency by creating scarcity (limiting how many you will provide). For example:
“Register 7 days from now if you want XYZ” or
“Be one of the first 10 people to register and you’ll get XYZ.”
You’ll find that when you create that urgency, you’ll massively increase your registrations.
Creating ‘DESIRE’ generates impressive results
When urgency is combined with ‘selling the end benefit’, and ‘using social proof’, you’ll find that employees greatly desire your courses and other development resources – valuing them highly. As a result, they’ll be keen to register and attend ASAP.
One of my clients, an L&D manager at a professional services firm, found that registrations on training courses increased ten-fold! She then applied the same principles to e-Learning and other development resources and received similar results.
So, please try these approaches out in your organization and let me know the impact it has had in the comments below.
If you work in L&D and want to learn more about improving training attendance and other topics that help you to lead your organization from ‘average’ to ‘exceptional’, consider applying to join the L&D Accelerator™. Please be quick though – we’re nurturing a small community of like-minded professionals that want to get amazing results, so spaces are very limited to allow for enough 1-2-1 focus. If you wait, you may not be able to join. (See? Creating urgency!)