In 2010, Bersin by Deloitte published a massive research report analyzing human resources and corporate training practices. The goal was to identify “which practices, processes, structures, and systems drive the greatest business impact.” What did they identify was the most significant element driving business impact, out of the 100+ they studied? Learning culture.
Now keep in mind, that was five years ago — before BYOD, before lifelong learning was being called a trend, before MOOCs and the countless other learning technologies that have fundamentally changed how we view education, not just in the training world but in society as a whole. Even back then, the number one factor was “the strength of the organization’s learning culture.” Today, as the training world is adapting to these changes, having a strong learning culture is even more important for companies’ success.
But the opposite is also true — the lack of a strong learning culture can actively harm companies. This post explores what a learning culture is and several different ways not having one can spell an organization’s demise. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On March 5, 2015 No Comments
Spending on corporate training is rising rapidly. According to Bersin by Deloitte, corporate training spending increased 10% in 2011, 12% in 2012, and 15% in 2013. The numbers for 2014 aren’t out yet, but they were probably even higher. Wouldn’t you hate to find out that you are wasting your money or your time, or both?
It isn’t much talked about in anything more than a whisper, but corporate training fails quite a lot of the time. It fails to engage; it fails to enhance employees’ knowledge and skills; it fails to provide meaningful learning experiences. There are many, many reasons corporate training fails. Here are some of the most common:
- There are no defined learning objectives, or the learning objectives aren’t aligned with your business goals.
- Employees do not have the opportunity to apply what they learn to real-world problems and situations.
- Training effectiveness is not being measured in a valid way (happy sheets are not a valid measurement of training effectiveness).
- It’s boring!
Whatever the reason your training isn’t effective isn’t important (well, it is, but that is for another article). What is important is that you fix it. If you’ve been dragging your feet about revamping your training, now is the time to get going. With the pace of change in business today, companies that don’t move forward will quickly find themselves far behind. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On February 12, 2015 No Comments
This is the fifth in a series of articles that tackle common objections to and arguments against using massive open online courses (MOOCs) for training. Read the previous article: MOOCs Aren’t Interactive, So There’s No Real Learning Taking Place.
I understand the benefits of digital learning environments, but the problem remains that MOOCs are not very well controlled. How will we know what learners are doing? They could say they are taking the course, but really just be watching YouTube. And what about our intellectual property and other proprietary information? We can’t have employees holding Twitter chats about our business.
Retaining control over employees’ training is a very real concern for many organizations. Not only is training time paid time, but training often involves the communication of sensitive business information that companies do not want publicly disseminated. In addition, many courses are mandatory and training departments are often held responsible for tying training efforts to performance metrics, so the idea that learners could engage with their courses according to their own schedule and using their own devices can be a bit scary.
I have two major responses to this objection:
- MOOCs used for corporate training don’t need to take place publicly.
- The lack of tight control found in MOOCs can actually be an advantage for organizations.
Let’s look at both of these in more detail. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 6, 2012 No Comments
This past month has been a busy one. I have found myself in discussions with a number of companies that are seeking a Chief Learning Officer (CLO), or the equivalent. Many of the discussions have originated with the company’s need to move their internal training; up from some ad hoc structure into a more highly systematized educational system.
What has surprised me is the hesitancy of the companies in taking the ‘step’ to a true training program, and hiring the CLO who would be responsible for it. It seems that many of these firms [and their management] look at training as a ‘cost center’ and has minor or irrelevant impact on the profitability of the firm. They could not be more mistaken.
It has been my response to point out the four main attributes to a high-end training program. These attributes are often overlooked and lost on management. The reasons for the short-sightedness may be many, but seem to cluster around:
1) Rapid ramp-up for new employees — getting them up-to speed in dramatically quick fashion. Far to many companies do not recognize or even tracking the value of taking new hires and fail to measure the value in reducing the time it takes to make them proficient and revenue creating. Far to many management teams treat this function as an HR program. Wrong, wrong, wrong. This is a sales and marketing matter. Improving the time it takes to making an employee a revenue generating component is not only measurable but valuable to the bottom line.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On May 10, 2011 No Comments
Investing in employee training is not an activity that should be taken lightly.
Unfortunately, it often is. Every day, countless organizations send their employees to one of the thousands of seminars held throughout the country. And when the employee returns to work, no one asks, “So what did you learn and how are you going to use it?” What’s worse, those same organizations may bring a training provider onsite expecting a miracle, and then after the excitement of the day wears off (assuming it was a good session) nothing really changes back on the job. Mercifully, by doing a little work up front, you can save yourself a lot of money. First, identify the reason(s) why you believe your organization needs training. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 30, 2010 No Comments
As we’ve discussed, development is a primary role for training, but there are ways that HR and training can cross in this important function. We’ve looked at more traditional forms of development, so now let’s examine other development avenues for training and HR.
One of the first avenues for employee development is through career paths and curriculum development. In terms of curriculum, training is usually going to work with managers, supervisors, and the people who do the jobs in order to determine what competencies or skills are included in training programs. This in itself is a form of development, but consider taking it a step further to career paths. The career path is essentially a collection of curricula that make up the most logical steps in an employee’s development. This could mean moving from one position to another within one area of expertise, or taking a logical step into another area. For example, call center employees can logically move into supervisory roles from lower positions, but in some situations they can also move into roles such as analysis or quality assurance. With career paths, HR is the training department’s definite partner. HR can tell you which positions people are moving to and from, as well as how department and division managers envision those career steps. In addition, just as you can give feedback on success in new hire training, HR can provide a profile of who works best when promoted into certain roles. For example, the call center supervisors may be more people oriented, whereas the quality assurance position may require more analytical skill. Career paths that are developed as a partnership with HR will be accurate and will also help increase the credibility of the training program as a whole. (more…)
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 23, 2010 No Comments
The development of human capital is a primary role for training. Development can come in many forms, which we will review. However, we will take a different view on development by determining how we can best leverage HR in this all-important facet of day-to-day business.
First, let’s examine formal training programs, such as classroom, online, and social-media based learning. Depending on your organization and its scope, you may have formal training in place for just about every position. Or, you may have a formal training program that serves as a “funnel” for the rest of the organization. Your formal training program may be a blended approach, where participants attend class and then go to online learning interventions, but it may also use one approach or the other. However your formal training is structured, you can rely on HR to help you evaluate and improve each component. You are probably already evaluating training from the participant and supervisor perspective, but have you ever considered going in tandem with HR to evaluate training?