What is the Key to Employee Engagement During Staff Training Programs?

Many of my customers think they need live training in order to ensure that staff are actively engaged in the training program so that they learn.  I'm obviously quite happy to provide a live training - especially if it's in a location I'd like to visit, but live training aren't necessary to engaged participation in a training.

In fact, when customers want a live training, I often require them to participate in an online training to prep participants for the live discussion by providing education on key concepts prior to the live discussion.

To help you understand the problem of employee engagement and why I don't think live is necessarily better - here is a recent Q&A I did with a reporter. 


What is employee engagement? And why has it become so crucial in the present day? How does staff training play a key role in employee engagement?  How can brands increase their employee engagement during staff training? What are the key factors?


The training – has to be of interest to them. Something they want to learn. If they aren’t interested in learning whatever it is you are teaching – they will be disengaged and it really doesn’t matter what sorts of whistles and bells you add to the training.  An example – harassment training. Most of this training is geared towards managers telling them – to not bully or harass employees because – it’s illegal.  Any manager who is bullying or harassing employees – isn’t interested in stopping and doesn’t really care about the training – it doesn’t apply to them – it’s just a requirement they are forced to sit through.  If … on the other hand – you approach this as a training for people currently being harassed or bullied – and you teach them – how to make it stop – you will have VERY engaged learners. 

For things where everyone has to learn whatever it is – to get engagement  you need to provide a reason why they should care. Not just – why do they need to learn this to do their job – but why it matters?  Caring and mattering are moral and ethical judgements. Without a moral reason to learn something – why would anyone care? A moral and ethical dimension that should be included in any training. For example – when I do leadership training – I not only provide practical skills – I also provide philosophic tweaks. I appeal to people’s sense of morality and ethics – how the world should be ideally. What sort of person/leader do they want to be – ideally. Once I activate people’s moral compass and encourage them to think of themselves – not just as a manager – but as  a quality human being – we can use that to discuss how good people – behave in certain stressful situations and now people want to learn – because this is about them – being moral and ethical and the person they aspire to be. If you can activate people’s moral compass and make learning a skill seem like a moral imperative – you will engage them more readily than if you just – present information.

Some things – can’t be made all that engaging. For the things that aren’t engaging – you can at least make them fun and use gamification to help – keep people interested and participating. But even these things can include moral and ethical considerations. Even if you are just training someone on how to clean up a mess – how they impact others. How this impacts work flow – matters. 

To me – I distinguish between engaged- and active. Engaged learners – want to learn. Active learners – are actively learning – even if they don’t want to learn. 

If you want to learn more about how ethics impacts employee motivation - I am speaking with Prof. Manuel GuillĂ©n on Nov 30th for a live online Q&A on the importance of morality on motivation. Information and registration for this free event here:

And if you would like to organize a training for your leadership team or staff - please let me know. I offer humanistic management training that is both practical, science based and integrated ethical philosophy so that people participating in the training - really want to learn and more importantly - change what they are doing so that they can be more effective and ethical at the same time. A list of my humanistic management programs are here: 

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