Learning is more than a one-time happening. Annual training, an initial 6-week orientation schedule or haphazard utilization of a video library are not consistent educational plans. True learning is a matter of intention, planning and direction. It may not be enough to merely set the table; you may need to build the table first.
When Derek Zoolander wanted to build The Center for Children Who Can’t Read Good (And Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too), he knew that just telling kids to read wouldn’t work. They needed to have somewhere to go and to have some direction and steps. Derek was interested in helping kids improve their reading, learn body movement for modeling and grasp the financial life implications in business management (“Hold out for more!”). Even Derek knew that he needed a diverse staff to cover these topics and more.
What is the learning management plan for your organization? Recently, I had the joy of speaking with my friend, Jason Lauritsen. We spoke about business strategy and awareness, and specifically, the concept of learning as one of those strategies. It is not shocking to realize the amount of time spent on minutia. Responsive, reactive management rather than considerate, proactive leadership is what takes our time. We’re not engaging staff. For all of the surveys and check-ins we do, what does it get us?
The differentiator in today’s market leans heavily towards investment in people. Providing a path towards learning – skill development, knowledge improvement and application – are vital from both the employee engagement angle, but also, from a competitive advantage perspective. Despite the fretting done regarding employee retention, we haven’t been thoughtful enough about tactics to keep people invested. While the average employment term is somewhere around 3.5 years, depending on survey data read, those employees who identify as fully engaged with their organizations average almost 7 years. Think about that – almost double.
Learning strategy is relatively new for many mid-market organizations. It’s not merely installing an LMS and calling it success. The LMS might be part of the strategy, but it’s not the final answer. The point of an LMS is to allow staff to access training, to work at a challenging (but not overwhelming) pace and to achieve subject mastery. Vibrant consideration is needed. Who, what, when, why, how are questions to answer to build learning as an organizational value.
On average, there is one trainer for every 253 employees in an organization. That’s a large number of people. To think that one trainer is going to lead the charge for all learning for over 250 people would be unwise and impractical. Learning management is more than a curriculum or a presentation. The goal of learning management is to advance the competencies of the individual who will in turn use them to advance, broaden and improve the organization.
What is the current state of your learning management differentiator at your company? Have you had the discussion around why it’s necessary to have a strategy for learning? Maybe your current learning management goals and strategies are non-existent. Maybe they are just too scattered or without accountability. Maybe they aren’t pushing people to really learn. Maybe the goals are small. Maybe it’s time to do something to shake them up or get them established. Maybe they need to be at least three times as big…