The training course is dead, well the one-off variety is on the way out at least.
Let’s get one thing straight. We should absolutely not stop developing individuals or providing events to develop skills, knowledge and behaviours. However, we do need to ensure that we are moving away from programmes operating in isolation of wider change initiatives or organisational goals.
I got thinking about this recently as I started to deal with my own mid-life crisis and began listening to even more heavy metal to take me back to my youth (thanks to Iron Maiden for the inspiration behind this week’s blog title).
The thought of the individual training course disappearing is one that I probably shouldn’t be contemplating given my overall career choice. Working closely with organisations over the past couple of months has shown however that the delivery of a one-off course to address a skills gap doesn’t add the same level of value as it used to. Instead, learners are becoming focussed on additional areas such as:
· How will this course help my career?
· How does the programme help the achievement of my objectives?
· Do I feel valued enough to learn more and perform for the business?
· What impact do I have personally?
There are many times where the need to address a change in business results can influence the decision to deliver a training event. At moments like these, thoughts of changing the wider culture or engagement levels of the organisation can fall by the wayside as we adopt the “deal with it later” approach. This can often be the case where a quick upturn in results is required however becomes more damaging in the long run. Why? The answer is quite straightforward really.
As we jump from one moment to another, we neglect that the major change we need to make to ensure the longevity of results is still required. We must remember that tomorrow never comes, that eternity is not an option for us and whilst a full programme of change may take longer to initiate, the results delivered will be longer lasting and will fuel future success.
So, what can we do?
Here’s the great thing. Training can still happen quickly. You will have some organisational goals in place already, your people should be following their personal objectives. Using the data from these, it is possible then to devise an appropriate training programme. Building a programme in this way allows you to address any skills gaps preventing the achievement of goals and engages with team members by illustrating their part in the overall strategy.
Putting in place a programme of this nature allows for the immediate need to be addressed. It provides you with the opportunity to develop a more engaging and long-lasting programme of change. Not only can you help individuals develop their skill set but by including an effective communication plan, an opportunity for learners to voice their needs and regular review sessions you can drive engagement levels higher. The benefits? Increased engagement leading to increased productivity and an open culture that allows learners to help you direct future learning plans effectively.
Without doubt there is a lot of work here in implementing a programme of this nature. However, if we engage effectively with our people the workload can be shared. As development professionals we need to ensure that we are not just providing learning opportunities to our people. We need to demonstrate the wider impact that L&D can have in a business. We need to create value not just through increased skill sets but by driving engagement levels through programmes that really add value.
The time for just delivering new skills or knowledge has passed. We must ensure that we are contributing to the overall success of the organisation and drive the right behaviours too.
So, in closing I have this to say. Remember, eternity is not available to us. The world moves too fast for that. If tomorrow never comes we must address issues today and be flexible enough to recognise that tried and tested routes of yesterday may not suit the here and now. For me, that means delivering interventions that achieve demonstrable change for my customers.
The concept of not having eternity available to me also fuels my mid-life crisis. This is not about sports cars or adrenaline sports (though both would be nice) but instead focuses the mind on making the changes I want to see and then going for it! What’s getting in your way? Remember there’s no time like the present to do something different.
Have a great week!