Can training really change behavior?

An effective training solution should reduce uncivil behavior and reinforce good behavior. It sounds like a practical plan, but how can you make sure your training is really changing behavior? At ELI®, we have identified four necessary components for achieving true and lasting behavioral change:

  • Awareness of the behavior that needs to be changed
  • Motivation to change that behavior
  • An interactive and memorable training experience
  • Reinforcement that is consistent, encouraging, and ongoing

Awareness and motivation

Awareness of the behaviors that require change and the motivation needed to make those changes make up the foundation of a successful training experience. It’s also crucial that team members have a clear understanding of the organization’s standards in order to make the training stick.

Experience affects effectiveness

The experience participants have in the classroom, regardless of whether it is in person or virtually, has a substantial bearing on the overall effectiveness of your training initiative. Simulating real workplace scenarios, role playing, and learning through demonstration are proven to be effective. Equally important, however, is the facilitator. An engaging facilitator who encourages discussion and masterfully models the behaviors being taught can emotionally motivate employees and is considerably more influential than one who simply lectures.


Ongoing and purposeful reinforcement is critical to sustaining any change. During training, employees are taught to pause and consider their behavior before acting. Through a system of reinforcements, employees are reminded of the changes they want to make and are prompted to make an intentional decision to act differently. When changed behavior is paired with ongoing reinforcement, your values will be more successfully embedded in the company culture.

So, can training change behavior?

Training alone cannot change behavior. True transformation requires an on-going process that, when done right, will contribute to long-lasting change. An engaging learning experience that clearly communicates expectations, ample opportunity for discussion, and constant reinforcement afterward are all keys to making the program effective. Incorporate these components into your plan and you’ll create a lasting culture of professional behavior.

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