What L&D leaders need to consider when planning and budgeting for 2019
Learning and development leaders are under more pressure than ever to prove ROI. They need to ensure that development ties in with individual career goals and performance as well as addressing team performance – often across multiple regions. They must also be able to make a strong and direct connection between the learning outcomes and organisation’s strategic goals or business outcomes.
When so many organisations are putting the brakes on business travel and it’s hard to justify taking talent off the road for any period of time, that’s no small feat.
Is tech the solution?
It’s no wonder many L&D leaders are looking to technology as the panacea. AI-enhanced learning technology, or machine learning, implemented via a Learning Management system (LMS) can adapt to each learner and deliver personalised learning that can be tracked and linked to performance. However, personalised learning in this way has little or no impact when the ultimate goal is to drive and sustain a cultural change.
When an organisation needs to change its culture in order to deliver its goals the focus has to shift from individual digital learning to face-to-face human interaction. This is because culture is driven by shared values and beliefs. It’s about social behaviours, emotions and responses when engaging with others. It’s about unity and coming together over a shared vision and purpose. When culture change is the route to reaching the desired outcomes then it becomes essential to plan for face-to-face learning and follow up with digital learning such as webinars or virtual sessions, coaching and social learning. When it comes to cultural change, a blended learning approach containing all of these elements and tailored to your requirements, gives you the best of all worlds.
Cloud-based social learning
While an LMS often integrates with other functions like performance and goals or even compensation, it is the social learning capability that will help drive culture change and embed new behaviours once the face-to-face interaction has taken place. An external social learning platform is cloud-based, secure and means you don’t need to give external providers access to your system. They can simply create, curate and customise content for your specific program needs that can be easily accessed via a link – either within your LMS or separately – whatever guarantees best ease of use. This cuts out the need for complex, long-term integrations. It’s also cost effective: if you later expand the program or roll it out to different regions you can either simply add the additional licences you need while you need them, adjusting the content as required to new business outcomes or regional nuances.
Winning with metrics: data & insights
Learning is most often measured by what an individual remembers immediately after a training session in one format or another; success is measured by how many individuals complete the program. This is typical, for example, of many compliance programs that are rolled out. In face-to-face learning, at most, an organisation may gauge a level of engagement or satisfaction with the learning experience.
When it comes to creating the cultural change that is needed to ensure new thinking and behaviours are learned and embedded, organisations need a proven methodology that will give them meaningful metrics around knowledge, attitudes and behaviours acquired. And they need to evaluate them at different points in time following a program of learning, usually immediately, after 3 months, then 6 or 9 months. The methodology used, and the results captured should create data that is hugely valuable and insightful: how to structure learning, where learning increased, when new attitudes and behaviours were implemented and why.
From tailored to precision learning
By running a pilot program with a rigorous methodology for gathering data and analysing the results, L&D leaders will have all the insights they need to demonstrate success before rolling out the program to other regions or groups within the organisation. However, it is not just about showing award-winning results! Metrics, good data analytics and insights will allow L&D professionals to understand how the program is performing and see where they need to fine-tune and adapt it. Not only will it create a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement, but it will drive this shift from being a tailored learning experience to precision learning – learning that is relevant, effective and efficient on a deeply individual level.
Selecting an external learning provider
When the stakes are high, as they so often are when working with your organisation’s leaders to drive cultural change, L&D professionals need to know they can rely on the expertise, capabilities and the relationships they hold with the external provider. Consider how they are able to partner with you. It’s as much as how they do it as what they do:
- Can they offer you a program that will reflect the context and challenges of your industry and link the learning to your organisational goals?They should have in-depth sector knowledge with case studies that can demonstrate that.
They should also be able to conduct diagnostic interviews and use the insights so that they can tailor the content to reflect the realities of your organisation.
- Do they have a verified program of learning metrics? Are they able to measure knowledge, attitudes and behaviours before a learning intervention and then at different periods of time in the following months to demonstrate the results and ROI?
- Are they prepared to create a pilot program and provide demonstrable results and help you build your business case internally for rolling the program out more extensively?
- Can they provide you with a social learning platform that is cloud-based, secure and easy to use?
- Can they help create and curate engaging content including video, webinar materials that will help sustain learning and embed behavioural change?
Ultimately, it is a lot easier to demonstrate success in learning and development when you work closely with a partner that has the expertise and methodology as well as a track record of measurable results.
Get in touch with Open Water to discuss your L&D planning for 2019