L & D bugbears and how to banish them


Laura Overton – CEO of Towards Maturity – recently gave a keynote at our Cegos Cognition event and asked the audience of L&D professionals to identify the main factors that hold them back. Here’s what they said, and how Laura advised they should move forward.

5 major challenges facing L&D

1. Time to train
Time is an increasingly rare commodity in the modern workplace. Professionals under pressure would rather spend time actually doing their jobs than sat in a classroom for hours on end. As L&D professionals, we know that those learning hours are essential to the ongoing success of both the individual and the organisation they work for. So how do we convince people to make time for training?

2. Budget
Even in good times, training budgets are heavily scrutinised. Good training is not cheap, so a substantial budget needs to be set aside if the L&D department is going to make any tangible difference. How do you make sure you get a big enough slice of the pie?

3. Perceived value – ROI
Once you’ve secured the budget, you’ll be expected to show some kind of ROI. It’s all part of increasing the perceived value of training, but how do you do this with such a subjective activity?

4. Understanding of how learners learn
Technology is having an impact on the way we access and absorb information, and is already changing the face of the training industry. Our understanding of how learners learn is crucial to providing the best training. So how do you ensure you’re up-to-date with the latest trends and expectations?

5. Line manager alignment
Too many managers don’t see training as part of their remit, preferring to box it off as the job of the L&D department. How do you get line managers involved in the training process, so that learning is successfully transferred to the workplace?

And here’s what Laura advises you should do to overcome these challenges…

1. Experiment
Take risks and be creative to improve the learning culture and the perception of training within your organisation. However, it’s best to do this under the radar, rather than seek c-suite approval first, as they usually like to play safe – one of the major reasons people see low value in training. As Laura says, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission, so learn fast and fail quick, get to success and then present the results to top management backed up with strong data.

2. Engage directly with learners
The best (and simplest) way to find out how learners learn is to talk to them. Ask them what kind of learning they respond to best and how you can fit the training neatly into their schedule without overwhelming them.

3. Get c-suite sponsorship
It’s time to stop being seen as simply a service provider and get involved with some of the big decisions that are being made at top level. L&D professionals have valuable contributions to make and training is very much part of strategy. Show that this is a two-way street and get line managers involved in the training decisions, too. You might even find your budget benefits as a result!

Cegos professionals design training programmes that really get to heart of L&D. We understand how people learn and align this knowledge with the kind of results managers want. Get in touch to discuss how we can work with you to get the best out of your people.

You might also be interested in our other blog on Laura’s keynote - Is there a better way to train your people?