What do Katniss Everdeen, Frodo Baggins, and Learning & Development have in common? They are all great overachievers! L&D is the department to thank for creating learning strategies and training modules that help your organization achieve its goals. Our hosts, Scott Babcock and Daniel Mendonca, revealed the 6 roadblocks that L&D departments face and some helpful ways to overcome each roadblock in our podcast, If You Build It, Will They Learn? Catch up quicker and read the highlights here!
This is maybe the largest and most common obstacle that L&D departments face, since L&D is usually written down as an expense in the books. But L&D is more than an expense; it’s an investment in you, your expertise, and your people. Instead of asking, “How much will this cost?” we can accompany that question with, “What difference will it make to our employees, the work efficiency, and overall success of the organization?” One way to potentially reduce this initial expense is to clarify the objective and purpose of the training. Will vILTs (Virtual Instructor-Led Training) save you on travel costs from ILTs? Can self-paced learning achieve the same results as blended learning? Understanding those goals and being creative with an approved budget can go far to achieving maximum results.
It is hard to measure the value of L&D in dollars and cents components alone. As Scott said, ROI is “the Holy Grail of measurement and analysis”. The challenge in measuring ROI of L&D is that it’s hard to quantify the value it gives to your learners through revenue alone, so it may be hard to justify L&D expenses. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Consider challenging the rules of ROI and think of the other types of returns you get from L&D, including increased knowledge retention, greater employee engagement, more confident sales associates, and much more. Ask the questions that will drive results: Do more engaged employees provide more than less engaged employees? Is there value in being a premier place to work that allows for better hiring practices? These things may offer a different perspective that will help justify the initial expenses when the ROI is hard to measure.
A lot of the time, the L&D department are the last people to the table when discussing future projects and strategies. The difficulty with this is that it can lead to tight deadlines and fear of overcommitting to a truly transformative training strategy. When brought in so late in the game, it can be difficult for L&D to go back to the objectives and analyze the best way to approach a new project when there is limited time for a change in direction. L&D can be a major part of your organization’s change management and can educate your employees on how to be most effective. There are limitations to this when L&D isn’t involved from the initial discussion. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but other times we can plan training a year in advance!
Are you consistently executing your learning strategy within your organization? How do you make sure that your message is consistent, no matter who’s delivering it and how they’re delivering it? Self-paced digital training will always have a consistent message, but that’s not always the best way to deliver training. Creating a consistent learning strategy goes beyond the information that exists within the course, but also prepping those that facilitate learning (e.g. trainers, leaders) with the best tools and resources to deliver this knowledge, too. These questions and strategies can help overcome this hurdle by ensuring that each way you train will have an effective impact and send the same message.
Training can take away time from customers when it means going to another room to access training. There are several ways to overcome this obstacle. For one, you can empower your employees to use their own smartphone so they can slide their phone into their pocket and serve a customer right away as needed. It can be assumed that in a mobile world, customers aren’t too phased by seeing mobile consumption on the sales floor anymore, as long as there is someone knowledgeable there ready to help them when they need. But how do you enable these mobile-first experiences? You can revisit content and shift gears towards Just in Time training, micro eLearning, and mobile-responsive training content. With these changes, you can have the best of both worlds: sales associates on the sales floor AND up-to-date employees.
Lower bandwidth, outdated technology, and other factors can limit the ways you can be innovative with training content. Without the right technology to support you, it can seem like a ball and chain situation. To overcome this hurdle, it’s important to build a team around you that believes in your goals and wants to invest in those experiences. To do this, you might have to define risks: what happens if we don’t achieve this training result? In the end, it might seem more realistic and reasonable to have the right technology and infrastructure to ensure the best for the organization.
Despite these obstacles, L&D departments succeed all the time. L&D departments find ways to be innovative, to be creative, and to approach these obstacles with a can-do attitude. If you’re in an L&D position and you’ve met an obstacle that you need help to overcome, we can get on the phone and talk you through it! We’re here for you, even if that means a 15-minute phone call to talk out some hurdles. To hear Scott and Daniel talk these out in detail, check out the podcast! You can learn more and listen to our podcast If You Build It, Will They Learn? every Thursday on all major streaming sites.
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