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peopleshr-l-and-d

Bursting the stereotypical L&D bubbles

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As an HR professional, you’re more than familiar with the latest buzzwords. Whether building agile, embedded, bite-sized courses that are gamified and social, or creating learning journeys enhanced by artificial intelligence to enrich the employee experience, you have a mouthful of terms with which to describe your training programs. All of these capabilities and concepts may be useful and effective, and at the very least, interesting to talk about, but at the end of the day, what are you really after — beyond the buzzwords?

YOU NEED RESULTS!

You want to know that your efforts are improving employee performance. You want to increase customer success, support and enhance the culture, and help reduce risks for the company. You want positive outcomes that align with and drive the goals of the business. That’s a modern learning culture at its core! These are very worthy goals and now these outcomes can often be tracked and to some degree of accuracy, measured back to training programs. However, let’s pause for a moment to acknowledge that doing so isn’t easy. It’s not a one-and-done exercise, but rather, a process. And, like any process, it requires steady effort over time.

But first, it’s important to examine your beliefs as a learning professional

Creating a vibrant, modern learning culture is a process. Step one of that process is to step back and examine the status quo. Are there beliefs or practices that have you stuck in a prior time period or in old ways of doing things? Those could potentially hinder your progress, so take a little time to look at your current processes and honestly assess if you think they could be improved or replaced. No profession or function is immune from stagnation. We all need to regularly question our foundational beliefs to see things from a refreshed perspective. Knowing what works and repeating it is fine and good. No one would ask you to needlessly upset the apple cart; however, there’s always room to grow and evolve, and the reality is that new action stems from new thinking. Before we talk about the things you should do to create a modern learning environment, so let’s discuss what not to do.

Bubble #1: If you build it, they will come.

This worked wonders on the big screen, but things are not so dreamy in the real world. For the rest of us, we have to get others in the organisation to see the value of learning. The truth is that nothing sells itself. Consider the fact that how vastly the advertising industry has grown. That’s evidence that people need to be convinced to buy even the best products. Simply put, attention must be earned. So must time and commitment, so start somewhere and begin to plan how you can better align with learners, management, and executives. Sell your story with honesty and authenticity and identify allies who want to resell it for you. Move some minds and your work will get easier. Also, remember, there’s a reason that you see the same commercials over and over. Most messages require repetition to finally take hold, so don’t give up after your first couple attempts!

Bubble #2: The L&D tool is your training vending machine.

Technology should be leveraged not just to serve up required courses, but also to help you streamline your processes and create an environment that brings learners together and facilitates their professional improvement. Use your learning programs to provide opportunity and develop skills, even outside of someone’s existing role. Nurture your people to expand. A key part of creating this culture is also to recognize achievement and request feedback. Move away with the vending machine mentality and begin to reframe learning relationships as two-way streets or even better, as multidirectional, social conversations.

Bubble #3: Set it and forget it.

L&D is not the type of role where you launch a project, cross your fingers, and walk away. Instead, you need to repeatedly create momentum and then work to maintain it. It’s true that many of the administrative functions within the HR technology can be automated, such as assigning courses and setting reminders, but to keep the engagement rolling, it takes a bit of effort. One way to create ongoing engagement and excitement is to identify new leaders and involve them. Consider asking them to suggest new courses or even lead a training. Don’t be afraid to include other people in your learning campaigns. Yes, campaigns. Remember, nothing sells itself. You may be surprised at how momentum can swell simply by shifting to a community mindset. Time to throw off the cloak of the lone wolf. People naturally like to be a part of something, so use that collective energy to generate participation and commitment.