By Tony Glass
As the clock ticked to the appointed hour, Laura Overton from Towards Maturity asked us to let her know what we hoped to do differently as a result of attending her webinar on the 3rd November. The answers, much like the attendees who hailed from Austria to the UAE, were rich and varied and represented many different elements of HR: onboarding, change management, teaching an organisation ‘how to learn’ changing the perception of digital work aids and shifting the learning culture from push to pull.
What struck me though was that although the topics were diverse, it was obvious we all shared the same challenge. Whether in Amsterdam or Lagos, we all struggled to get our teams to engage. We all wanted to know how we respond to “#whatever”?
Laura was thankfully able to give us some practical advice and tips; advice built around Towards Maturity’s own extensive research and benchmarking. For today’s topic – Creating a Customer-Centric Learning Strategy – the tips were based on the results of research with over 5000 learners and insights from top deck organisations – those top 10% organisations with a record of achieving not only the desired learning outcomes, but surpassing them.
In short, we learned the secrets of engaging busy staff with learning: how and why these companies were just so successful with their L&D programmes.
It turns out there are five things these organisations do differently:
- Give staff an active voice
Top deck companies are twice as likely to involve their users in the design of their L&D programmes. Training is seen as a collaborative process, with learners/users creating both content and programmes for their organisation and by extension, themselves.
- Be useful
When asked why they pursue learning, 69% of employees responded with ‘to do their job faster and better’. Therefore, it is essential for companies to link learning with this objective. 97% of top deck organisations ensure their learning initiatives support the business needs. Think laterally – does your programme help staff do their jobs faster and better? Is the connection between the learning and the impact on job performance obvious?
- Be helpful
Not everyone knows or understands how to learn or study. Top deck organisations offer study skills training and encourage their users to learn from past experiences, even if this includes mistakes.
- Simplify the experience
Often users complain about the inaccessibility of content or learning materials: -that it is complicated to even find what they need. Top deck companies remove this hassle by simplifying and providing access to content, technology, and a learning community all in one convenient and easy to use place. Most LMS now offer one click user experiences so there is no excuse for letting learners struggle to access content.
- Let go
Of all preconceived notions or ideas about learners, about generational differences, even past successes. You need to think and design in the now – what may have worked and been a huge success last year is not necessarily the best option this year.
What these tips do is put the learner front and center – at the heart of your programme and in the driver’s seat ensuring that the learning takes them where they want to go. But—and this is important—they are not in the car alone. It takes a community of learners, with everyone getting involved – from the CEO down – to ensure that learning happens.
And as if to prove the point, we all caught a glimpse of this collaborative learning right then and there during the webinar. At the beginning of the session several people were experiencing audio issues. Someone suggested a fix and quickly everyone was sorted, back on track (pun intended) and we had all just shared in a learning experience. Then, towards the end, people began offering suggestions, recommended reading and so forth (I am now excitedly awaiting the arrival of my copy of The Culture Map) and it hit me. Here we were, a geographically dispersed group all sharing knowledge, sharing challenges and yet all acquiring new knowledge…..all learning.
Proof positive that collaboration and making learning a community-driven experience works.
I’ll let you know if the book was worth it.
Tony Glass is General Manager, EMEA, at Skillsoft.