L&D – are you what you measure?

TM blogs #1This is the first in a series of blogs inspired by David Hayden, at the CIPD NAP(Northern Area Partnerships) conference June 2016, in a short workshop. The title of his workshop was “Is L&D prepared for the Future of Learning?” and the basis of the discussion was around key statistics uncovered in the “Towards Maturity” report of April 2016 “Preparing for the Future of Learning”. David presented around an infographic, part of which is displayed to the left. What fascinated me were some of the statistics in this segment.

In the report, the survey showed that 17% of those polled, measure business metrics to improve business performance, but 86% would like to improve business performance. That is a huge mismatch and it got me thinking “Why then, if the will is there, people do not measure L&D’s performance against business metrics?”

So I have a theory and it all stems from “Begin with the end in mind”. It is all very well to have a great intention of “improving business performance” and a whopping 86% of the respondents wanted this, but you have to start off on the right foot. At the beginning you have to do the right kind of analysis to determine the needs and the outputs, making sure that there is in fact a strong link between them. Then you need to:

  • Identify those people who have a stake in improving the business
  • Of those stakeholders, identify where they are on the stakeholder analysis grid, that way you know where to focus your efforts
  • Be part of the business and have your finger on the pulse, so you always get the bigger picture
  • Ask questions about organisational benefits and impact, not just learning outcomes
  • Do a thorough needs analysis (not just an LNA or TNA) to uncover what individuals, teams and the organisation needs
  • Set objectives with the stakeholders and have targets that THEY can measure success against
  • Agree post learning activities and follow up
  • Keep them up to date with what is going on and get them to support the learners
  • Check in at various points and update them on progress
  • Ask the stakeholders how the measures put in place are stacking up

I’ve written before about “Needs Analysis” and spoken about it at the CIPD L&D exhibition in May 2016 – what surprised me was the number of people that are REALLY interested in this topic! The last point in the list, is a crucial one, because another reason I believe only 17% measure business metrics in evaluation is that the best people to do the measuring are those who are most interested in those metrics and have EASY access to them!!! Is that a little too obvious?

Now L&D does not sit in some sort of vacuum or at least it shouldn’t. L&D is an important and necessary part of any successful businesses strategy – and if it isn’t we should be asking ourselves “why?” and “what can we do to become essential and not just a cost?” If you are not conducting a needs analysis that involves the correct stakeholders and using or developing metrics then what are you doing?

This is what David Hayden, L&D Professional at the CIPD said about the statistics:

“The challenge of 17% only measuring demonstrates it can be a massive challenge and rethink on what we measure.  My advice is to start small and build up – pick one or two projects or interventions and work on the business metric links for those – and make it explicit in any pre intervention communication, during the intervention at regular points and in any post intervention communication.  Become known for knowing the business goals!! Be that role model!”

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”
― H. James Harrington

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The Secrets of LNA shared ….at Olympia #cipdldshow

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 12.59.36Earlier this week we set off for London for the CIPD L&D show, to exhibit for the second time. This time seemed easier, I knew what it might be like. What I was blown away with was, the interest in my session on “The Secrets of LNA – evaluating business alignment”.

There were enough seats for 70 and standing room was easily the same, if not more. As I spoke, eyes fixed on me, heads nodded and people identified with the content.

I began quoting from the CIPD L&D survey of 2015: “Of the organisations polled only 25% said that L&D are fully aligned to the organisation“. So this worries me – what is happening in the other 75%? Where does your organisation fall? In the 25% or the 75%? If you don’t know or if you are in the 75%, consider this. How would you like:

  • L&D to be the change agents for your organisation?
  • It to be easy to justify budgets for L&D interventions?
  • When there is a downturn, L&D is not cut, but people are invested in?

By analysing the needs of your organisation before delivering any learning or training, you may find the things above become a reality!

TNA? LNA? NA?

Is this all just semantics? Are they just all the same? So here is the thing, if I conduct a Training Needs Analysis, the solutions are always going to be training. It is a little like having only a hammer in your toolbox and so everything looks like a nail. Often organisations who conduct only TNA’s may be either very technical in the learning they deliver, or it could be that they do not know much about the organisation and how it operates.

So how does a TNA differ from an LNA you might ask? So an LNA will be broader in its outlook, the equivalent of having now a hammer and maybe a wrench and a screwdriver along with some allen keys in your toolbox.. The outcome will always be a learning solution whether it is a book to read, some coaching, a webinar or a full blown qualification. What I would love to happen and here is where over the last few years I have been trying to use my Jedi mind tricks (I do know I am not Yoda btw), is when you are conducting an LNA, you ask some questions:

  • Is there something happening behind the scenes that I need to know about?
  • Is there something missing?
  • Is something not happening?
  • Is there something besides learning that these people need (eg more resources, better processes, more support etc?)

Those are just a few to get you started. These are great questions to ask if you are trying to dig deeper and look beyond the traditional training or learning needs. For this to be successful though there are some things that you will need in your personal toolkit:

  • An air of curiosity
  • A willingness to find out more about the organisations and how it works
  • The ability to speak the language of the stakeholders and not just in L&D speak
  • Persistence and courage to challenge when people just tell you to “DO it” (the training that is)
  • An overview of what the culture is like and how the organisation is structured (this can be key in determining how easy it is to get people on board and change minds. For example a company with a hierarchical structure and a blame culture will resist change and pass the buck. Whereas a matrix structure and a culture of empowering, will welcome your curiosity and fresh eyes to see what might be going wrong.
  • Infiltrate the organisation so you have your finger on the pulse of what is happening, now, not 6 months ago

Sometimes we may not be able to foresee when we need to do an LNAplanned or un. Have a look at the picture below to see some of the instances when they can be planned and when not. Try as much as you can to plan in your LNA’s (always thinking about what might be going on under the surface). Once you start doing regular LNA’s and demonstrating the value your solutions bring, it will become easier and easier to get the resources you need to do a valuable LNA and any subsequent solutions.

Once you know you are going to do an LNA, you then need to choose some suitable methods. Below is a table of many different LNA methods. You could start by trying to sort them according to whether they are high/low cost and whether they are suitable for individuals or groups.LNA Methhods This is one way to see which methods are going to be most suitable for your situation. You will also need to consider some other criteria, to be able to decide which methods are most suitable:

  • Your budget
  • Resources, such as people and tools
  • Time
  • Commitment from stakeholders – without this, it does make it harder*
  • Size and culture of your organisation

*Read this blog about stakeholder management

So finally …. here are some of the secrets of LNA (I am sure you knew these already!)

  • Know the difference between an LNA, TNA and NA (remember the Jedi mind tricks!)
  • Choose the most suitable methods (use triangulation – 3 methods to get a broader picture)
  • Plan the LNA when you can
  • Always keep the end in mind so that you are aligned to your business

Thanks to everyone who came to the session and participated. We were truly overwhelmed by the numbers who were there and also the numbers of people who spoke to us saying “We are in that 75% and we need help!”

This topic certainly seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people and my concern is that if you are in that 75%, you get the help you need to achieve alignment with your organisation. If you need help, then please phone for a chat to see what we could do. Phone Krys on 07952 416530 or email info@howtoacceleratelearning.co.uk

 

#DitchtheTNA

hammerOk, so this may seem like a radical statement and it goes along nicely with the analogy ,”If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. So when looking for training gaps, all the solutions are likely to be training solutions.

It’s all very well me getting bolshy and saying #DitchtheTNA, but for all those organisations who religiously complete their TNA’s what is the alternative? Here is my starter list:

  • Begin with consultative conversations with the right people(this one was Gina Chapman’s @ChayneDaisy)
  • Keep asking “why?”, until you get to the root cause
  • Ask “So if we do this what will it give us?”
  • Ask “If we don’t do this what will it give us?”
  • Look at the last two and ask “Is it worth it?”
  • In the back of your mind, think “What is really going on here? A dodgy process? A bad manager? Lack of resources? Something else?”
  • If you have asked one person, consider asking someone else and maybe using some other methods to uncover the needs: survey, literature search, observations, MI, customer feedback etc etc
  • Looking at the evidence ask yourself “What is the big picture here?”
  • If any evidence conflicts, dig deeper to find out why
  • Ask yourself “Does this look reasonable?”
  • List all the possible solutions and look at your budget
  • Agree some organisational outcomes with the right stakeholders
  • Write some great objectives
  • Choose solutions that will give you a great return on investment

These are my quick thoughts spurred on by #DitchtheLNA on twitter, would love to hear your views.

Why corporate L&D needs to change and how

IMG_5820Yesterday I saw Mike Collins of DPG talk about why corporate L&D needs to change and why. It was music to my ears!

The bottom line is…. we as L&D professionals need to get closer to the business. Simple? No? What does that mean in reality?

  • Identifying the key stakeholders and their impact (as well as how supportive they are)
  • Engaging with the stakeholders by speaking their language (£££££ and ROI!!)
  • Asking about business objectives not just learning outcomes
  • Doing a thorough needs analysis (not just an LNA or TNA!)
  • Getting buy-in from the line managers to support and imbed the learning
  • Getting the stakeholders to measure the effectiveness of learning

Don’t know how to do this? Then why not come onto the open workshop for The Learning Loop 29th Feb- 1st March or if you have a team of 6 or more, ask us about in-house workshops.  You will learn about how to become more strategic as well as how to be creative, inspiring and engaging as a facilitator.

At the back end….

Elephantbum

Today I am with a fab group of trainers in Manchester, looking at evaluation. I asked the group what they thought about evaluation having had time to consider all 4 levels of Kirkpatricks model and so here is an insight shared by one of the participants Adam Gilroy:

“As it is at the back end, we rarely give evaluation the thought it requires and in future I definitely will give it more thought”.

My immediate thought turned to the use of the phrase “the back end” and herein lies the problem. Why are we only considering evaluation at the back-end and not at the front-end?

If we consider evaluation at the front end with needs analysis, we can see what is already in place that we can measure, to help in the evaluation process. Also in this way we can engage stakeholders at the start to support learners in:

  • Pre-work
  • Change in behaviours
  • Post-learning follow up and coaching
  • Measurement of the impact of the learning

So when you think of evaluation in the future, will it be at the back …. or front-end?

 

Jedi Mind Tricks and LNA

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“Always pass on what you have learned.” Yoda

My niche area is developing trainers and over the last 5 years I have worked with 100’s of trainers, helping them to become more creative and to get a strategic perspective on training. When starting any programme, I am quick to tell them that I will be using my Jedi mind tricks to get them thinking differently….. I know it is a  gimmick…. but hey it works!

The training cycle always begins with Training Needs Analysis …. but stop right there…. if we do a “Training Needs Analysis” ….. we assume that the solution is training. So when speaking to delegates I say to them that every time someone mentions training needs analysis they will think of “Needs Analysis” (this is where the Jedi mind tricks start)

After all – if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything will look look a nail. So if we do a learning needs analysis, that will open up all sorts of possibilities right? Well yes …. but it may close us off to thinking about other “needs” in the organisation:

  • Decent processes
  • Equipment that works
  • Line manager reinforcement and feedback
  • A clear vision for the organisation
  • Sufficient resources

So the next time someone asks you to do a training needs analysis …… and I have never used my Jedi mind tricks over the t’interweb….. but here goes…… you WILL think about “NEEDS” as well as “LEARNING NEEDS”….. please let me know if this has worked …… could be very lucrative for me…….

If you would like to learn more about the whole Learning Loop, how to be strategic and creative then get in touch or book onto my one-day Learning Loop open workshop on January 31st in Leeds