Why D-I-Y Training is a D-O-N-T




Be it home renovations or craft projects, we’ve all tried the do-it-yourself approach before.

You know how it goes: You can save a few bucks and earn the satisfaction of accomplishing the work with your own two hands. When you’re done, you’ve got a gleam in your eye and you fold your arms over your chest and stand back in admiration.

You feel like you conquered the world, even if conquering the world means re-grouting the bathroom tile.

But DIY is not for everyone, because everyone isn’t a Martha Stewart or Bob Villa. We saw it in on the '90s sitcom "Home Improvement" with Tim "The Toolman" Taylor’s rocket launcher dishwasher and the glitter and Mod Podge disasters of PinterestFails.

DIY is a D-O-N-T for most of us. And your employee training shouldn’t be any different. Regret sets in when there’s a hole in your kitchen wall the size of a small child and glitter so deeply embedded into your carpet that nothing short of a steam cleaner will get it out.

You may say we’re comparing apples to kitchen sinks, but hear us out. Here are four reasons that DIY is a D-O-N-T for your employee training:

Clip Art Doesn’t Cut It Anymore

We’ve all sat through hours of PowerPoint presentations with the same clip art cartoons and an overwhelming amount of text on the screen. The minutes tick by like you’re sitting at the DMV, and you leave tired, struggling to remember what you learned. In order for training to stick and keep the learner’s attention, it needs to be engaging and interactive.

On top of that, learning and training needs to reinforce the messaging of your brand so your employees are confident with your products and services. To do this effectively, you need to leverage a range of technology and resources—writers, video producers, graphic designers—to make training that is fresh, interactive, and, well, not the same PowerPoint full of clip art your team has seen for the past decade.

Is It Even Working?

Bursting water pipes grab attention faster than ineffective training, which can fly under the radar for a long time. Even though you may think your DIY training is working, it’s hard to tell when your training isn’t up to par.

Look at your sales reports, customer service reports, and, of course, your results. Is it all adding up? A comprehensive training program will incorporate tools to track the correlation between job training with job performance. With accountability and analytics, you know exactly how far your training’s influence stretches.

Time Is Money

Across the board, learning and training departments are being asked to do more with less. Just like your gutters that always need to be cleaned, your company can always use more training.

The demands on your time and your team’s time only grow with every new hire and every restructure. Research from ATSD found that half of all training requires somewhere between 11 and 50 hours to create one hour of material. An additional 30 percent of training requires an excess of 50 hours to create an hour of content. If you don’t have a spare 50 hours, letting someone else create your training (or clean your gutters for that matter) means you’ll get more done with less.

That means your team will be able to focus on things like researching trends, influencing the company, and mentoring and training others.

Pay Less Now, Pay More Later

When DIY goes wrong, it means you pay double. As if spending your entire weekend fixing your sprinkler system wasn’t enough, when the sprinklers still don’t turn on, you now have to pay for the experts to come out and actually make them work.

With training, there’s more at stake than the cost invested in creating the initial module or program. Training affects job performance, employee attitudes, and ultimately, revenue. So the costs associated with creating training are not only related to the training itself, but also related to the lasting influence and impact of the training on the business.

Going the DIY route may be attractive because of potential cost savings and the sense of personal accomplishment, but at what risk? Make it right the first time, and you won’t need to worry about redesigning it later.


Rebecca Payne is a Learning and Content Strategist at Unboxed Technology, a Richmond, VA based location that creates engaging employee training and interactive marketing tools. Image courtesy of Dawn Sallas.

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