On the 27th of March 2019 we had the first online meeting for the L&D Revolution. What an exhilarating and inspiring hour that was! Anyone interested in watching how it went, I will share the links at the end of this post. This post is about sharing the outcomes of the discussions we had.

People have been asking me “What is the revolution about?” and I covered that in a previous blog. It is something which has percolating over years and has also led me to write a book “How not to Waste Your Money on Training***”. It now feels like this ‘movement’ is gaining some momentum, as I speak to more and more people who are keen to improve the reputation of L&D by helping it to focus on performance and analytics. Two of my favourite topics!

Back to the online meeting, there were two key things we discussed:

  1. The link between learning and performance
  2. Data driven decision making and demonstrating value

Let us look at both in turn and extract the main points from the discussions:

  1. The link between learning and performance

It seemed to be widely agreed, that in order to have any sort of link between learning and performance, there has to be a strong connection between L&D and the business. It was also about a change in mind-set for L&D, shifting from being order takers to taking a consultative approach. Included in this link was also a desire to connect what was happening with data that was collected from numerous sources. Line managers have always been crucial to any lasting change in organisations and close links between L&D and line managers are essential if we are to observe improvements in performance as a result of learning.

Once L&D have made that shift closer to the organisation and its needs they can more easily distinguish between what stakeholders say they want (desires) and what they need in reality. This cannot be achieved without doing some sort of up-front analysis BEFORE and learning interventions are agreed. Part of that may well include really understanding the team strategies required to achieve the business goals.

It was agreed we are making a start but there are many things we can improve on:

  • Being more rigorous about digging into underlying performance problems before jumping into solutions
  • Defining clear outcomes and measures and challenging the business by using data to justify but also to persuade, where necessary
  • Helping individuals and line managers see the clear link between their job roles and performance (individual and company wide)
  • Become more creative in our approach by using other methodologies like AGILE

2. Data driven decision making and demonstrating value

There is so much happening out there, I am pleased to say. Some great applications of data readily available:

  • Net Promoter Scores (NPS)
  • Behaviour indicators
  • Business indicators
  • Employee engagement
  • Learner and/or customer voice(s)
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
  • Even Moodagrams (which I had never heard of before!)

With all this happening there is still room for improvement. By collecting data we will of course get better at providing that link between learning and performance improvements. Again a shift of mindset is required by L&D: to shift from trusted advisor to performance enabler and maybe even add a few business analyst skills for good measure.

If we thought this might be a bit much, then learning from other parts of the business might help, for instance marketing and finance are great examples. We are not alone in the business and need to become more integrated in our approach, starting those awkward conversations sooner rather than later and always asking why, why, why, why why? (5 why’s). If we do this up front along with a needs analysis, then evaluation will be a doddle, won’t it?

We then moved into a discussion on how do we drive this revolution forwards rather than watching the evolution happen slowly. In order to do this individually, there are lots of things we can be doing in our own organisations:

  • More promotion or publicity about what L&D do and their successes
  • Promote performance improvement rather than learning outcomes
  • Be more AGILE
  • Benchmark
  • Find out what the business does (ask daft questions)
  • Use data to our advantage and be selective in what we or others collect

We also have some collective ideas on how to drive the revolution forward. Let me know if you would like to take part in those.

Here are some useful links:

Below is my summary from all the discussion points we had in the online meeting.

*** This is what Karen Grave, President PPMA (Public Service People Managers Association) says about the book:

“PPMA has been working with Krystyna for only a short time but we have already realised that she is an enormous asset to the field of learning.  She has a natural passion and empathy for people, which she combines with creativity and an engineering background to help organisations focus on how best to deliver on training investment.  Krystyna’s style is deeply engaging, laced with a lot of humour and a willingness to challenge the ridiculous.  It’s a powerful combination.  We love working with her and I have no doubt you will find this book a hugely interesting and impactful read.”

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