Research suggests the most effective way to garner employee attendance for mandatory trainings is to link them to career progression, performance reviews, salary, and/or bonuses. When that's not a viable option, the best way to ensure your employees respect and attend mandatory trainings is to make sure they are relevant, useful, and engaging.
In marketing the trainings, be sure to clarify the value that the employees will gain from attending. Buy-in and support from your leadership staff can go a long way in making employee prioritize participation. Have your local leaders communicate directly to staff on the importance of the training.
Make attending as easy as possible – give plenty of lead time for scheduling and send reminders, offer multiple sessions, create useful take always, and provide food. If feasible, providing training modules online that employees can participate in on their own time is a great option.
Make sure your trainers are prepared and capable. Focus on interactivity and do all that you can to make the training fun.
If you're facing heavy resistance, consider holding your managers responsible for their staff's attendance.
Once you've had a successful training session, use your former attendees as ambassadors to spread good feedback about the trainings by word of mouth and other creative means.
Laura Smith is MD of US human resources at Edelman