In a typical organization, some of the most under-the-radar rock stars responsible for driving business results are those in the learning and development (L&D) function. These folks work quietly behind the scenes evaluating needs, isolating gaps, developing resources, deploying solutions and supporting individuals who are in the process of growing their skills and capacity.
Yet, most discussions of improving training itself center on such things as evolving technologies and modalities, the latest brain research, platforms and learning philosophies. But, if we really want to give training a boost, we need to give a boost to those responsible for it. And there are countless ways to make this happen, starting with these four R’s.
When was the last time learning was called out at the annual all-hands meeting? Or the last time an L&D professional was rewarded with participation in the President’s Circle trip? While sales, service and all other departments deserve the recognition they receive for the contributions they make, so does training.
Learning is the lever that facilitates enhanced performance and results throughout the organization. And while less proximate, the L&D function is equally responsible for enabling those results in many cases. Connecting these dots and recognizing that the role of learning can go a long way toward boosting training (and those responsible for it!).
Booster Tip: Invite L&D professionals who have made significant contributions in their department to high-profile recognition events. Not only does it send a message about the role of learning in the organization, it allows for those individuals to connect more deeply with other key contributors – something that can only lead to enhanced relationships, relevance and results.
Many organizations claim to be “learning organizations,” but what does that really mean? Too frequently, it’s a platitude versus a daily practice. A slogan versus a sincere sentiment.
Organizations that elevate the role of learning and position it as a key business driver send a powerful message. They help others understand that L&D offers a sustainable competitive advantage. They increase individual receptivity to and engagement in learning. Rededicating ourselves and our organizations to learning not only boosts the results it can achieve but also the spirits of those responsible for them.
Booster Tip: Sure, add “learning” to your values and mission, but don’t leave it at that. Make sure that executives and leaders at all levels live it by attending training, talking about what they’ve learned, and actively and enthusiastically advocating involvement. Because, word on the street is always more powerful than words on a wall.
“Doing more with less” is an expression that inspires rolled eyes from most L&D professionals. They’ve heard it and lived it for decades now as their departments have become increasingly lean and stretched thin to meet the needs of diverse audiences.
And then there’s technology, which offers tremendous benefits as well as the expectancy of exponential efficiencies. But, since it’s now possible to do so much more given new tools, platforms and modalities, the expectations placed on L&D departments have only escalated.
As a result, more resources are what many training professionals dream about. Additional headcount. Contractor budget. More realistic timelines and turnarounds. Boosting budgets (or other resources) speaks to what the organization values while boosting the morale (and capabilities) of those responsible for learning.
L&D professionals spend their days (and frequently nights) working to ensure that others throughout the organization have the learning they need. Yet frequently they themselves experience the shoemaker’s children syndrome. To ensure that these individuals can continue to contribute at high levels, it’s essential that we make sure that those responsible for training also receive training. This keeps their skills fresh and their souls nourished – providing a boost for the individual and, ultimately, for organizational results.