People all over the country are waiting for exam results. It’s important because those results will decide whether they can start the college course or apprenticeship they want or attend their first-choice university.
They know ‘it’s all about results’.
But, is it the same for Learning & Development professionals in the workplace?
There is no doubt that, if HR and L&D professionals want to increase their influence in the workplace and in the opinions of senior management teams, a focus on business results will always be important.
However, we shouldn’t forget that those business results are wider than they might appear at first thought. It is easy to report on results like improved sales, value-added customer service, and legal compliance but we shouldn’t lose sight of resulting employee engagement, talent retention, improved morale and production quality.
With this in mind, this blog focusses on the best practices that deliver those results. I am taking high levels of engaging design and delivery as a given.
So, what are the best practices? Here are some guidelines on how to achieve the results you are looking for.
- Analyse learning needs before you intervene at all
- Involve line managers at every stage you can - design, briefing delegates, debriefing, evaluating – and make it easy for them to be involved. Even better, involve the senior management team and get them to ‘sponsor’ an initiative
- Encourage self-assessment and goal setting
- Offer appropriate choices for learners – one size doesn’t fit all
- Put the learning in a workplace context and the strategy of the business. Create ‘job aids, checklists and ‘toolkits’ and align the learning objectives and business objectives
- Remember you need to motivate people to learn (however motivated they are already)
- Make sure people clearly understand the learning goal and know how they can evaluate their learning
- Make sure the learning goals and assessments are meaningful
- Make sure they can successfully learn and meet the evaluative expectations
- Offer many opportunities for refreshment, reinforcement and coaching make sure managers facilitate workplace application of the learning
- Deliver learning through many channels and use as many media as you can
- Ensure you offer opportunities for skills practice and make sure it is a ‘safe’ but sufficiently challenging environment
- Provide feedback for participants early and often – make sure such feedback is timely, specific, understandable to the receiver, and formed to allow for self-adjustment
- Get participants to prepare action plans for workplace transfer and get them to phrase these plans in the context of organisational benefit – “when I do…the benefit to the organisation will be…”
- Continually review learning offerings, for a major initiative run one or more pilot programmes and act on the feedback you receive.
- Enable learners the employees to maximise their potential through self-directed training and development and individual learning plans
- Test / Assess knowledge before, during and after learning
With these excellent practices in place, learning and learners will make a positive difference in the workplace, the next skill is capturing the results, measuring the difference and enjoying the internal satisfaction and wider recognition for a job well done. After all - it’s all about the results.
Nigel Walpole, MD, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I’ll talk through my thoughts on some of the key issues facing managers in the workplace - lessons learnt, tips for success and general musings.