A lot of companies are still missing the mark in their L&D. Here’s why:
Today’s corporate training practices are not the same as that of years past. More and more companies are looking for ways to leverage their people as a strategic differentiator, giving them an edge over the competition. But while there are companies who have great learning strategies for their employees, still, there are a lot of HR leaders getting L&D wrong.
Instead of seeing measurable results, companies are wasting not just the time and effort of their workforce but also their money. In fact, a Training Industry report reveals that in 2018 alone, the global spend on training was around $366.2B. But the question is: are they seeing a good return on investment? Sadly, not all. While HR is pouring billions into their programs, a staggering $13.5m per year, per 1,000 employees is being lost due to ineffective and disengaging training efforts. But why is training failing, in the first place?
Why Training is Failing
Training isn’t something that’s ‘nice’ to have in your organization. It’s an absolutely vital part of a company’s long-term investment and growth strategy. It hones existing skills, helps build new ones, and enhances overall performance at work. The reality is that most training efforts aren’t working because they weren’t thought through. But it’s also because of these three key reasons:
Everyone is learning the same thing, the same way
Let’s face it, the one-size-fits-all method just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Because why bother learning what’s not relevant to you, right? When everyone is expected to learn something with little alignment to their needs and job roles, the harder it is for them to see results and improvement. And in the long run, this affects business outcomes.
As a manager, you need to think about your team members’ careers and help them develop professionally. This means having to go beyond standard classroom set up training in order to address the specific needs of each employee. Personalized coaching and curated content is the way to go.
Training isn’t delivered at the right time
Today’s employees often learn on L&D’s schedule, and at a time when it bears little immediate relevance to their role — their learning suffers as a result. As easier as it is to organize training in schedules, busy adults who are always on-the-go meeting deadlines and finishing tasks won’t be as motivated to learn that way compared to learning at their own pace. These are better known as ‘push’ and ‘pull’ learning.
To briefly define the two, push training is a management-driven approach that sends people to formal training events where they receive nice-to-know information. Pull learning, on the other hand, is a learner-driven approach that enables people to access the information they need when and where it is needed.
Just as you’ve observed, the latter is better. The best time for training is when the learner really has a strong desire and need to learn. “As a trainer you want them to view the training/development activity as valuable because it’s in sync with whatever motivates or drives them,” says Talent Manager at Right Management Arabelle Fedora.
And with advancements in learning technology, it’s completely possible for employees to learn anytime, anywhere using a mobile phone or laptop! Replacing push training with pull learning is a transformative step toward supporting and sustaining a company; placing a mission-critical value on learning.
In it for the stats and scores, not the skills
L&D KPIs are the backbone of your strategy – the metrics you are trying to affect for business benefit. That’s why it’s important to note what links between learning and business impact are you trying to achieve with L&D initiatives. Is it how long an employee has spent learning? How high are one’s scores? How many activities have been accomplished? If you said yes to at least one of these questions, you might want to rethink your goals.
You may find that many of your employees are answering activities, spending time learning, and getting high scores. While this may measure engagement, it doesn’t equate to success. Just as students forget 60% of what they’ve learned in high school, the same also goes for employees studying to merely get high scores and points. While forgetting may be one problem, another is that most HR professionals are so focused on acing these KPIs that they value statistics more than skills developed.
But in the world of work, metrics that really matter aren’t those of numbers of figures, they’re of skills attainment, workplace application, behavioral change, and confidence. The development of these and many more soft skills are the very measurement of learning success.
The future of your company’s L&D starts now
With digital transformation and globalization disrupting the way businesses work nowadays, an even greater task is at hand for those in Learning and Development. They have to be more than able to cope with how organizations are changing. And that means solidifying a long term plan to reskill and upskill employees as time goes.
According to Tracy Duberman, president and CEO of the Leadership Development Group, “The biggest push is for L&D professionals to create programs and services that help their organizations execute on future strategies. That requires playing at a higher level, as the stakes are higher for L&D executives now.”
So, now that you know the common challenges there are in creating training programs that work, now is the time to start shaping your company’s L&D.