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Florence Lee, head of training at Tesco Stores (Malaysia) marks out the need for L&D professionals to think like artists, and use marketing campaigns as a guide, while developing a more creative L&D mix.
Today’s fast-paced world and the economic squeeze has led organisations to align learning and development initiatives to business strategies. L&D professionals are often being challenged to better analyse the impact their L&D strategy is having on the business success.
In other words, L&D has become more business-focused. What’s good for people has to be effective in driving organisational performance as well.
Reflecting on the challenge to ensure that both the business and employees are able to get the most out of learning, L&D activities need to support not only the individual’s goals and development but also those of the business. Clearly, in the new world of workplace L&D, creativity has becoming a popular and sought-after element.
An artistic touch
Consider the design of organisational L&D mix as a form of art; it is a unique blend of all important components. Thus, L&D professionals are encouraged to think like an artist and a designer – experiment and innovate rather than serve the ‘usual’.
Another way is to think of an L&D mix as marketing campaigns. Leading marketers know how to use advertisements to incite our desire and curiosity towards their services or products, eventually enticing us to make the purchase.
Successful advertisers are able to change behaviour better than almost anyone. And isn’t that what we all are trying to do as L&D enthusiasts – to encourage changing of behaviours, to bridge skill gaps in the effort of building capability of our people, and contributing to business objectives?
In my years of working as and with L&D professionals, we reckon that there is no one-size-fits-all L&D solution. The bottom line is that we have to get creative.
Be warm and welcoming. Taking time to see, hear and recognise others goes a long way in building strong relationships with colleagues.
Being creative in designing a sound L&D mix is guided by these important factors:
Culture: The learning culture and work culture in an organisation should be considered when we select the learning approach and development content.
Responsiveness: The role of L&D professionals is moving towards being business partners. Understanding business needs and being agile in the way we design and deliver L&D programmes in accordance with the changing business environment is vital.
Empowerment: Many successful organisations attribute their successes to employees who are empowered to learn and develop their own capabilities via the 70-20-10 L&D model. Programmes are designed based on 70% on-the-job experience, 20% informal learning from feedback and coaching, and 10% formal learning.
Aspirations: Organisations strive to build a talent pipeline and prepare suitable successors to existing managers. The L&D team can offer programmes aimed at improving the skills and capabilities of employees who aspire to take on management roles and progress their careers within the company.
Time-bound: A good L&D mix is designed to fit within the set time frame to build workforce capability in supporting employees’ personal development plans as well as achieving business objectives.
Innovation: L&D professionals need to stay connected to the latest trends and opportunities in the business environment. We can keep our thinking current by using a variety of L&D resources such as a blended approach of e-learning and face-to-face workshops, and allowing usage of smart gadgets in classrooms.
Viability: The success of an L&D mix relies on its capacity to operate and sustain within or beyond the business context. It is of utmost important to include a fun, engaging, and challenging L&D experience to programme participants while ensuring efficient cost management and resource planning.
Empathy: We need to put people at the heart of everything we do. Be warm and welcoming. Taking time to see, hear and recognise others goes a long way in building strong relationships with colleagues.
After all, it is so much fun to introduce newness in your L&D mix. So start thinking creative! Where is the gap? And what are the missing components in your organisation’s L&D mix?
Say it out loud. Write it down. It does not matter – just do something. It is time to unleash your creativity as the L&D professional artist – create the L&D masterpiece that is business-strategic, compelling and meaningful for your colleagues.