I am in part responsible for competence development in a small part (about 300 employees) of a large multinational tech company in Europe. We have recently seen decreased engagement with the various training activities and resources that we provide, such as:
Talks about technologies or parts of our products, usually held by subject area experts within the company. The purpose of these are to increase the general understanding of our (highly complex) products so that everyone has at least a basic understanding of various functions. It is otherwise easy for people to only understand "their part".
Online (paid for) courses on more general subjects like agile, scrum, various programming languages, security, etc. Not all of these will be valuable to everyone, but we think everyone should be able to learn something from at least some of them. We provide a somewhat curated list of courses split into various subject areas to make it easier to find things that might interest someone.
How do we increase engagement with such activities?
All time spent on this is paid for, and we have scheduled time (a few hours) about once a month where we encourage people to either go to a talk if there is one or self study. However a majority are chosig to just continue working instead. This may be due to increased pressure on the company and therefor employees to produce results.
We have discussed a few ideas:
Making it mandatory. This would solve the problem but might not be received particularly well. Treating adults like children is never a good idea.
Paid for self study on the commute. Essentially employees would be able to leave earlier if they spend their commute on one of the online courses mentioned above. This would require broad buy in from management which may or may not be easy and agreeing to full pay for this time may not be possible. Also a busy commute may not be an environment conducive to learning.
More focused activities with a smaller intended audience. If the activities are more tailored to the audience then they may be more likely to attend, however this comes at increased cost per attendee and more resources needed to produce or find content for everyone.
Will any of these work? Are there other things we can do?