Is there a better way to train your people?
Laura Overton – founder of learning research organisation Towards Maturity – recently spoke at our Cegos Cognition event about the need for an alternative approach to learning and development. Too many organisations, she believes, go the wrong way about training their people, and asking the right questions at the outset makes a huge difference.
“What courses do you offer?” is a typical question our team get asked by prospective clients. It’s a perfectly reasonable question. The problem is that it implies training is a ‘pick and ‘mix’ affair and selection is based on which courses tick the right boxes. According to Laura, this is why many companies are not getting the results they really want.
So, what exactly should you be doing to ensure you see a real, positive difference in your people after they have been through a period of training?
1. Start with the problem or goal
Training should be a journey to competence rather than a quick injection of new knowledge. There must be a clear destination in mind and the training programme should be tailored to reach it.
Laura says there are four areas in which companies currently need the most help – growth, transformation, sustainability and profitability. Sadly, there is no one-size-fits-all course that suits every organisation or professional in this regard. Instead, we need to define what we are trying to achieve and then design how we get there.
2. Ask the right questions
Top-performing organisations always ask questions such as: what do we need to achieve? Where do we need to achieve it? Who is responsible? When do we need to reach the goal? And, why do we need to achieve it? Only then can you think about how you are we going to achieve the goal.
According to Towards Maturity research, around 92% of top-deck companies take this approach, compared to 53% of the rest.
Once you have the answers to those questions, it’s time to design an effective learning programme that makes the change happen.
3. Plan the most effective route to achieving competency
The key to experiencing real change is to develop a positive learning culture. Top-performing companies take time to understand how people learn and effectively apply the principles to their training programmes. Top-deck learning organisations are 3x as likely to proactively understand how staff learn.
Understanding learners and the context in which they work is crucial, too. Top-deck organisations place an emphasis on making sure their people apply learning in their actual job. Indeed, part of this positive learning culture involves people learning from each other and sharing experiences.
The mode of delivery is equally important. Laura is clear that, although e-learning is an effective and powerful tool, it should be employed only if there is a clear role for it within the training journey. Same with any other mode – it’s all a question of priorities. Many companies, for instance, are responding to the technology boom by investing heavily in hardware and software. But sometimes they don’t experience much improvement because they are not thinking about how to use it.
The mode of training should be determined by the scope and scale of the goal, with each mode selected because it is the best way to deliver training that meets a specific objective. Some learning may be self-directed or trainer-led, for example, while others may involve manager support or are team-oriented.
It is up to learning professionals to articulate the value of the training to their clients. They can demonstrate ROI by how your people perform better with their increased competency. There is a greater chance this will happen if the right objectives are set at the outset, but it is the learning professional’s responsibility to direct you in this line of thinking.
In a world where change is happening so fast and technology is disrupting every business model – including that of learning and development – the old models that suited a much simpler world no longer work.
But when everybody begins a training project by asking “what are we trying to do here?”, rather than simply what courses will tick the box, that’s when the magic happens.
Cegos always design learning programmes using this approach. Time and again, it has proven effective, and clients consistently see positive change after training has taken place. If you would like to talk to us about a specific training need, then contact us today.