Learning & Development (L&D) is expanding and shouldering many organizations that need to reskill/upskill their internal machinery. Even though the annual spending on L&D globally is a lot, there is still little success achieved in this area. Despite all its popular glory, L&D is unable to leave the desired mark – and it is an organizational flaw!
This blog talks about the reasons why and how you (the organizations) are doing L&D wrong!
According to a report by HBR, Eighty percent of CEOs today consider the need for new skills to be their most pressing corporate issue. When HR professionals are asked how they expect to develop new skills in the future, nearly two-thirds believe they would venture out for external resources; and recruit for the skills they require.
But, isn’t this an expensive affair?
It is concluded by research that developing technical skills internally is six times less costly than hiring them on the market.
We often blame our education system to be obsolete and irrelevant, but end up using a similar approach with training and development.
As it happens, only 12% of employees apply new skills acquired through L&D programs to their jobs. Just like students don’t apply the Pythagoras theorem in everyday life, employees don’t apply L&D knowledge in situations that don’t require them.
The onus is greater on the organization’s part to provide the right opportunities for employees to make use of their new skills. Else, employees may fall prey to what is known as the ‘forgetting curve’. In the late 1800s, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus pioneered experimental memory studies, concluding that if new knowledge is not applied within six days, we are likely to forget roughly 75% of it.
Basically, wrong timing.
Incorporate Learning & Development programs in the pipeline when there is enough bandwidth for it. Employees are overburdened with work and business responsibilities. As a natural outcome, training sessions are often low on their priority lists.
Moreover, attempt an understanding of your workforce’s psyche. We live in a capitalist society where skills are measured in direct relation to the incentive they will bear. If learning doesn’t happen when there is an immediate relevance, then the entire process will become mundane.
…And your employee’s reasons.
Why are your employees learning? Will the learning be just another trophy post on LinkedIn or do they actually want to upskill themselves? Is there a gap in intent between you and your employees?
You need to address these questions to activate motivation. Only when people are are their motivated best, can they do something that may or may not give immediate tangible results.
Call it a cliche but the Cindrella theory works everywhere. We cannot expect the shoe to fit everyone, right?
Human beings are unique and each distinct from the other in retention rates, engagement rates, productivity, and motivation. This heterogeneity defies uniformity.
You may customize training such that it modifies courses depending on employee performance, personalizing information to each employee’s needs, learning style, and delivery manner using today’s technology.
We all are familiar with the ‘humans now have a shorter attention span than goldfish’ fiasco, right? Some studies suggest that our attention span has reduced from 12 seconds to 8 seconds in the past two decades. While others disagree in unison.
While there is no substantial data to prove the average attention span, one thing is clear – we have little patience to sit through the information that takes time. And it is around this that many microlearning mechanisms have sprung up. I mean, people are learning how to cook an entire dish in 30 seconds on Instagram!
Organizations need to take a similar approach to Learning & Development. Instead of offering information in large chunks, offer them in a way that caters to our attention span.
Why does this count as half, you ask?
Because it is completely up to your internal fabric that you may choose either of two things – either speed up the process or let learning happen at its own pace.
Either way, it is important to factor in the process that comes next – retention. As we saw above, it is imperative to create opportunities where employees can put their new skills to use. This is one great way to defy ‘forgetting’ and ensure retention. Another way is to use your employees’ attention spans and evenly distribute over regular intervals of time. You can repeat the learned information through emails, texts, WhatsApp messages, etc – to a point where you establish retention.
It is safe to say that if you want to do L&D right, you should consider – offering micro-courses, information in small bytes for greater retention, nudging regularly to keep the process going, and offering tailor-made programs to suit unique needs.
It is also safe to say, that we, at Headsup Corporation, provide these options and the stimulus for you to carry out L&D right!