Upskill your people

Five tips on how to motivate people to attend professional courses.

Let’s be honest – attending professional courses is nobody’s favourite activity. The time and effort that employees have to put into training can be overwhelming. On top of that, the fact that some of these meetings are mandatory makes it even worse. Most workers want to go straight back home after work, and spend some quality time with their families. Attending training is not on their top priority list. Although nobody likes it, going to professional courses is essential in people’s careers. The amount of good information they get is significant, and the impact that they later have on the company is essential. Taking part in training brings employees quicker promotions, increased knowledge, and expanded working skills. It makes their jobs easier to handle and their tasks easier to accomplish. In order to make your employees attend training, make sure you keep them brief and interesting. Besides that, there are still a few techniques you could use to grow your employees’ interests. Here are some ways to motivate people to attend professional courses.

1 Give them opportunities to advance

Sometimes, employees need more than a pat on the shoulder for attending the mandatory meetings. You must offer them something bigger than that, something tangible. So, what about offering them the chance of being promoted? One of the reasons workers get frustrated about attending these meetings is that there is no room for career advancement by the end of the training. So, make room for that! Your attendance will skyrocket more than you’ll expect. At the beginning of the training, ask your employees to think about the future position they’d like to have in the company. Tell them that if they attend the training and work hard enough, there is a good chance of getting a much-desired promotion. When people feel intrigued and determined, they will make an effort to be present.

P.S. Don’t make false promises! If you said you are going to offer career advancements for them, do it. Prepare your budget beforehand, and map out a detailed plan.

2 Offer them recognition

Without proof of completion, your employees might not have a reason to attend; but if they feel like they earned something, they are going to. Print out certificates and diplomas of completion/achievement. Assign attendance points for each person present, and add that to their CPD points.

Johanna Kelly, CEO at, shares her opinion: “People want to feel important – so give them that. Trust me, it is better for them to leave with some form of recognition than with nothing. They will feel appreciated! That is a good technique to make them attend more future meetings.”

3 Give them gifts or prizes

Putting a good job ad together is just the first part. This might be a little bit oldfashioned but, hey, It still works. Offering easy rewards to your staff, such as small gifts, vouchers or trophies, will make them feel valued. Tell them that if they attend a certain number of sessions, they will receive that “X” present.

Another good strategy is designing some sort of office competition. For example, whoever wins the most prizes is going to be employee of the year. You can put up a poster with their picture, and write their name on it. They are going to love it!

P.S. Not all people like competition. If you think this method won’t suit your office, choose another alternative that is going to make all people comfortable.

4 Take their opinions into consideration

Send out a survey on what they would like to hear during training. It is important that you know your employees’ desires for improvement! If you have to do it anyway, do it properly. Make them truly benefit from these meetings, and make them enjoy the process. They are going to be more interested in the sessions if you take their opinion into consideration, and they will take the training more seriously.

Make sure you send the survey to all of your workers. Do not omit anyone. Everybody is equal, and they have to feel that. Start with the IT department, and end with the sales branch, or do it the other way around. Whatever you do, though, don’t forget to involve everybody in the process. Once the meetings start, reach out to the people and ask for feedback!

5 Make meetings flexible

Employees won’t always be able to attend meetings because of time concerns, and that is completely normal. You cannot set an exact date and hour and expect everybody to be present, because people have different schedules. Thus, try using the “pull” technique instead of the “push” technique (which was mainly used in the past.) The “pull” technique allows your employees to have the training information available at all times. It gives people the chance to improve their expertise at their own pace. Using this strategy, employees will always have access to the information – anytime and anywhere. They just have to ask. Do not limit the information strictly to people that are present. You might actually increase interest in a subject by offering full disclosure.


Motivating people is not hard when you use the right tools. Always make sure you make your employees feel valued and respected. Do not hesitate to send out reminders for the meetings! Let them know that there is a lot of room for career advancement once they attend the sessions, and offer cool prizes and awesome surprises. Use completion as a main tool if that fits in your office. Make sure the meetings are flexible, and the information is shared with everybody.

Brandon Stanley is a professional independent journalist based in Manchester in the UK who also writes on HR management and career development. Apart from that, Brandon loves traveling and playing the piano. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

This article appeared in the February 2018 issue of HR Future magazine.

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