Highly Engaged Diverse Work Team

Improving Workplace Culture with Behavioral Training

It costs approximately $4,000 and 24 days for a U.S. employer to hire a new employee. So keeping the talent you've got is critical. Low employee retention can take a significant toll on the bottom line. 

In thinking about why employees quit, many executives falsely assume that it is about dissatisfaction over compensation. But studies show that there is more to it. In fact, company culture plays a massive role in the equation. One study revealed that a toxic corporate culture was 10.4 times more powerful than compensation in predicting a company’s attrition rate.

When it comes to retaining and gaining top talent—company culture is clearly a key factor. But how do organizations go about changing company culture for the better?  

Our answer: provide training that develops the skills and behaviors needed to create lasting positive change in the workplace.  

The Cost of Poor Work Cultures 

  • The likelihood of job turnover at an organization with high company culture is 13.9%, whereas the probability of job turnover in organizations with low company cultures is 48.4%.
  • Turnover due to bad work cultures cost American businesses $223 billion in the last five years.
  • 54% of employees say they'd quit over poor workplace culture

Knowledge is Only Part of Effective Learning

If you ask an organizational learning and development (L&D) professional why their company provides training to employees, the typical answer is likely to be: “To enable workers to build new knowledge or learn new skills.”

Either way, the ultimate goal is for employees to apply their newfound knowledge and skills on the job, not only to foster more positive interactions with others but also to enhance and sustain productivity, making work proceed more swiftly and efficiently.

In turn, better individual performance means better team performance which then dovetails into improvements in business results and company culture—tangible evidence of return on investment in training.

For L&D professionals and others responsible for organizational training that positively impacts performance and culture, the critical insight is that success requires a two-fold process. Employees must learn new knowledge or skills and they must apply their new abilities to their work. Their behaviors must change.

Knowledge Training + Behavioral Training =
New Behaviors at Work

The idea that new behaviors are the ultimate goals of organizational training initiatives isn’t new. Yet, the design of training programs has traditionally focused on knowledge acquisition, viewing the behavior-change part of the learning equation as something to hope for, and to measure after the fact…if it happens.

In our still-evolving new age of work, reaping real returns on learning investments means bridging the gap between knowledge acquisition and application of new behaviors on the job.

And it isn’t a matter of throwing out design principles that work. It’s time to supercharge them. Knowledge and skill-building lay the perfect foundation for the addition of behavioral training components that address factors that influence an employee’s motivation to apply target behaviors.

The Impact Transformational Behavioral Training Has on L&D  

The ability to address influences that cause employees’ potential hesitancies to adopt a new behavior—and strengthen their determination to use the behavior—is essential in empowering learning professionals to increase the likelihood that employees will apply newly acquired skills on the job.

Only courses specifically designed to include behavioral training components can give development professionals this greater ability to impact organizational performance by improving learning application.

When, where, and how employees work have shifted radically in recent years. High-performance learning, confirmed and demonstrated by workers applying new behaviors on the job, is the only training approach that can keep pace with ever-changing market conditions and create a culture that attracts and retains top talent.

Why Transformational Training is Needed

Numerous workplace changes in recent years have significantly upped the pressure on those who lead or support L&D. Current challenges include:

  • Following through on DEI promises with training that drives authentic conversations, combats bias, and educates employees on all forms of discrimination.
  • Developing effective learning interventions and strategies to help managers respond constructively to shifting employee needs.
  • Building vibrant learning cultures that acknowledge the shift from viewing learning as discrete events to a fluid and continuous process.
  • Demonstrating consistent and tangible returns on investments in L&D—an imperative that continues to grow in importance as inflation impacts budgets and resources.

• • • • • • • •

Atana's mission is to help workplaces reach their full potential—where all employees feel respected, safe and fully engaged.  

We combine decades of expertise, an award-winning content library, and a breakthrough analytics engine to offer the only training that’s backed by science and proven by data to help create a more healthy, positive and respectful workplace.

From attitudes to abilities, every insight we track relates to behaviors that drive employee engagement, innovation, and productivity. Your Atana Insights dashboard then provides a high-level view of how your organization is doing based all the data and analysis we’ve gathered.

Taken separately, or together as Learning Journeys, our courses and analytics empower tangible progress on competencies that include: 

  • Fostering Inclusivity
  • Accepting Accountability and Ownership
  • Promoting Collaborative Civility
  • Developing Leadership 

See how real change is really measured.

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About the Authors

John Louviere, Ph.D.
Atana Vice President of Content & Research
Dr. Louviere has over 20 years of practical and theoretical research experience utilizing state-of-the-art learning analytics methodologies to assess and design online learning. He is passionate about applying theory-influenced innovation to design and deliver excellent and effective learning experiences.

Amanda Hagman, Ph.D.
Atana Senior Behavioral & Data Scientist
A recognized leader in program evaluation, learning analytics and the use of predictive insights on an institution-wide scale, Dr. Hagman leads research and innovation for Atana’s courses and analytics engine. Her work includes the development of course research, assessments, content, and data algorithms. 

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