Gen Why - Michelle Eggleston

Today’s workforce is on the move. Between flexible hours, remote employees and global teams, organizations need extra bandwidth to go the distance and meet the training needs of a dispersed workforce.

In fact, training all employees globally in one cohesive way is cited as one of the main objectives by learning and development (L&D) professionals in LinkedIn Learning’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report. But, developing a consistent training experience across the organization proves challenging for many L&D departments.

With so many moving pieces and people, how can we develop an effective training strategy that targets business objectives and transforms the behavior of learners in the face of constant change? For starters, L&D must open the lines of communication with business executives – and the learners.

Start Talking to Business Execs

In many ways, L&D professionals act as mediators between business executives and the learners. Learning professionals must understand the goals of the business, design training solutions that will deliver on those goals, and “sell” learners on the value of this training.

To achieve all this, L&D must first sit down with senior executives and stakeholders and actively listen to the challenges, vision and direction of the business. These conversations will become the foundation for the development of any and all training programs. Training should begin with the business in mind – and, when executed effectively, should deliver results that drive bottom-line value.

Talk to the Learners, Too

Business executives are not the only ones who are interested in hearing about the value of training. Learners want to know what’s in it for them, too. Learners need to understand what training is available to them, why it’s important to their job role or function area, and how to access the information.

It’s those details – like communicating value, setting expectations and managing performance – that need to be emphasized to learners. Employees will appreciate the transparency, especially the value-seeking millennials who want to understand how they influence and impact organizational goals.

Communicating with learners should not wait until programs are ready to be deployed. Getting learners invested in training prior to deployment will generate added buzz and help employees understand what is expected of them once the training is available.

The Speed of Change

The average shelf life of skills is less than five years, according to LinkedIn Learning’s study. That’s not very long when you consider the amount of time it takes to plan, design and develop training programs. Just when L&D is ready to deploy its “cutting-edge” program, the content is already outdated. L&D must strive to become more responsive and flexible to meet the evolving needs of their organization.

While today’s learners are embracing technology to find answers and information outside of work, organizations are still primarily investing in instructor-led training as their delivery method of choice. Although in-person training remains king, organizations can offer coaching opportunities, e-learning or even videos to provide more flexible, just-in-time learning solutions. In fact, high-performing organizations use three to five delivery methods to enhance the learning experience.

For example, many people turn to videos to learn how to do something. The popularity of YouTube is increasing every day. Garnering over a billion users, YouTube has captured the attention of almost one-third of the people on the internet. Corporate training can take a cue from YouTube and develop a library of video content focused on navigating software challenges, inspiration and tips for young leaders, and do’s and don’ts for giving presentations. These videos can be utilized as part of a training course or as standalone content.

Moving Forward

The business world is rapidly changing, requiring L&D to keep up. Improving the flow of communication within the organization and developing learning solutions that are responsive to change are necessary steps to help organizations go the distance and provide a seamless training experience across boundaries.