How many times have L&D professionals been subjected to these myths within the organization?
- L&D team will create a learning strategy for the business
- L&D head is the one who should tell us what is needed
- L&D will ensure my people are trained and my expectation is they will perform better after the training
- L&D should ensure talent stays with us
- L&D team should keep the people engaged
And how many times have we repeatedly made the same mistake, while knowing that our actions may not have the desired business outcome?
If we all were to do a root cause analysis we all will arrive at the same conclusions that -
- The training process is transactional in nature. Training is part of the solution and not the solution itself.
- Business needs to co-own the journey to the solution, L&D cannot do it alone, period.
- Most of the time we land up looking for an external source to arrange for a training program.
- We have a lack of a learning culture in the organization.
- People are not open to learning causing low take-up and completion rates.
- Few employees are willing to voluntarily attend scheduled training. We focus on training coverage and forget the impact that needs to go through.
We are sure we can list more!
So, can we pin it to organisations' culture, lack of business ownership or lack of coordinated strategy?
In reality, most of us are guilty of running L&D without having an “end in mind”
Now let's understand this -
Most of the learning interventions are either targeted towards helping people -
- Do their current jobs better and/or
- Get ready for new jobs in the organization
Learning cannot be forced upon anyone-
Is it imperative that L&D has a very clear demarcation on what is “Must to have” & “Good to have” for every job role. Too many training sessions floating around without a context leads to debacle. L&D has to clearly list down WIIFMe for the learners for each program.
Ownership in learning-
Humans by nature are motivated to do things that directly impact them and their growth. Training content is not the only reason behind a program’s success but the way it integrates people's performance and growth parameters.
Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast
L&D teams need to work closely with CXO’s in the organizations to create a learning culture and not just a training strategy. A training strategy is bound to fail if people are not motivated and aligned with their learning. Ensuring “self development” becomes a way of life by involving CXO’s to sponsor learning programs makes a great positive impact.
Eat the Frog First
Diagnosis or Prescription
Instead of hastily planning training calendars and aggressively marketing them, it is imperative to let the learners come to you and consult you. L&D should focus more on diagnosing resources like self-assessment, managers assessments, performance needs analysis, skills gap analysis basis the job description and organizational competencies. Learning becomes natural when you believe that you have a performance gap.
Carpet bombing Vs Laser guided bombing, what works?
Confusing activity with productivity is the pitfall here. Planning a generic training calendar loses its value very quickly. The approach of completing the training hours is probably an ill expectation from the L&D team. Specifics with a clear objective written down and what will it bridge in skills gaps brings focus.
Is training for all?
It is pretty debatable. While everyone expects a wishlist of training to make their resume lucrative (bonus if it involves certificates!) It is the responsibility of the L&D heads to align training with business goals. This requires understanding the requirements of business heads to improve employees performance and increase productivity and efficiency.
Success is achieved through leveraging resources around us.
Keeping “creating a learning culture” as a top expectation from an L&D professional, here’s what we think will lead to it -
In no specific order -
Stakeholder 1 - Business/Functional head
It may seem simple, but the “One size fits all” approach for the entire organization is too complicated to handle. Instead, try breaking down the organization into business units and then multiple teams. Such specific diagnosis will motivate the business head to own the learning for their unit. Having a learning SPOC in each unit can help with training execution and create a learning culture for the business unit. This will assist the business heads in smoother planning and management post the training.
Stakeholder 2 - HR Business Partners
Business partners that cater to a specific business unit are the most important resources for a L&D team. They have vested interest in the business success and can assist the L&D team not only at the diagnosis stage but also in improving take-up rates and successful completion of the learning journey. HR business partners in almost all organisations are responsible for employee engagement and retention. It is, therefore, upto the L&D team to align every HR business partner within the organization.
Stakeholder 3 - HR Head
The HR head has the power to tie learning with the CXO’s vision. The L&D head is responsible for shedding light on the importance of this learning for both the employees and the enterprise. Afterall the two main reasons for employee attrition are - Lack of good leadership and Lack of learning opportunities in line with their career growth.
Stakeholder 4 - Talent Management or Performance Management managers
Talent or performance management managers play a crucial part in L&D success. They can provide specific data for various business units, performance trends, and the changing landscape of job profiles, which can help create more specific and effective learning programs.
Stakeholder 5 - Your team
Surprised? Yes, your team is your stakeholder as well. Make sure your team has the same “end in mind” as you for each learning intervention. Looking at them as just executioners will lead to difficulties in the long run. Your team is the best resource to help you achieve the learning objective of every learning journey.
To conclude, I am not saying that these are the only stakeholders in every organization. They may differ depending on the organisational needs. Laying down the right “learning objectives for each learning intervention” is core to the success of L&D and should not be undermined.
Do look forward to our next LearnPost.
Some of the top skills we suggest experienced L&D professionals should possess to become successful. Contact us
- Stakeholder Management
- Learning Effectivity evaluation methods
- Creating Learner Experience
- Skill Mapping and Gap Analysis
- Use of technology in L&D
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