I didn’t last long at this year’s CIPD L&D show – beyond catching up with a few people there wasn’t much grabbing my attention amongst the usual wide spread of presentations and stalls.
The CIPD show often feels like the broadest of L&D churches with a mix of tech, publishers, consultancies, coaches and more in a space smaller than many of the coaching, technology or other focused learning events. Indeed this year the stalls seemed quiet whilst the presentations were oversubscribed (as always) – as a one-stop shop for HR generalists to keep up-to-date with L&D it is no doubt a useful day. For the L&D specific person (like myself) it is less of a ‘must attend’.
This all said, the first session I attended:
did get me thinking at least…
Improving employee buy-in and engagement with training programmes
I recently said L&D is a “simple” profession – that we work to deliver improvements in performance (through knowledge, skill and behaviour change) in areas the business needs. However, this session title hinted at a number of challenges I’ve faced and I’m sure are not uncommon, including:
- teams are busy and too ‘in the day-to-day’ to reflect and improve
- employees have their own ideas of what is needed vs management, different perceptions on business metrics, etc.
- unless something is transferable (to other organisations) and/or accredited there can be little interest in participating
- we have many underemployed people in the UK who may, simply, be in the wrong role(s)
- there is a continuing desire for ‘formal training’ when informal would be better and vis-versa.
Now the ‘simple’ solution to this could be to have stakeholders involved in design and use performance consulting to tackle the real issues. However, carrot and stick techniques remain often necessary.
The presentation, from the Professional Academy, argued that you need to build a learning environment to then facilitate a development culture. I suspect most L&D professionals would like to think they do this but, at the same time, it’s probably worth reenforcing.
The steps outlined for the perceived environment creation:
- Training needs identification
- Training structure – formalise and make clear to new starters from day one
- Reward and recognise
- Demonstrate progression (show learning impact, including but not limited to promotions)
- Gather feedback
- Formalise knowledge sharing and best practice
Johnson and Scholes’ Cultural Web was referenced as a way to think about learning and culture:
- Apprenticeships, for example, are good for the success “stories“.
- Symbols can include badges, different uniforms, etc.
- Rituals include things like graduation ceremonies.
- Power structures to help L&D includes genuine executive sponsorship and organisation structures that assist (at basic level that you actually have an L&D dept)
- Control included the calculation of ROI on investments [but see many an earlier post on my issues with ROI via ROE]
The session moved onto the 10Cs of Employee Engagement and how this relates: for example, making it clear the contribution of mandatory training is good for you and the company – not just there for the sake of it. I liked the ‘confidence’ item in this as its related to the empowerment piece that I often refer to.
The ‘simples’ bit of ‘know your audience’ was also picked up.
The other good bit of this presentation was a free download of a toolkit – always good to get some freebies 🙂
Rest of the show
predictably universities and training providers seem to have caught on that the apprenticeship levy is a potential game changer, if only people only cracked on with it.
xAPI update from HT2 Labs on how some of their work (as introduced to me at Kineo Connect) is delivering real results (and lots of industry awards). The key thing here, for me, was that the examples have strong business metrics – sales figures, etc – to impact upon. As always, your L&D approach is only going to be as strong as your business strategy.
Also briefly popped around a couple of other sessions that were not really up to too much.