Thursday, 28 June 2007

Reflections from the HR Directors Strategy Meeting 2007 (London, IBDG) Part 1

I hosted a couple of Roundtable Discussion sessions at the HR Directors Strategy Meeting in London on June 27 (organised by IBDG). The theme of these sessions was 'The Changing Role of the Trainer - From Classroom Instructor to Learning Consultant ?'

A couple of key themes emerged for me from these discussions:

Firstly - while it feels that HR L&D leaders are in violent agreement that we should be focued on supporting a learner dominated environment, not all the 'learners' we support are on the same page. Many are comfortable with companies continuing to be very paternal in directing their learning, or are too busy to see the world changing around them !

Secondly - many L&D leaders may have the vision of a learner dominated environment, but manage L&D teams still structured and skilled as a training function.

So what was the collective thoughts about how to 'wake up' learners (other than the 'early adopters' - a segment already controlling their own learning) to the need for them to partner effectively with their organisation in supporting their own learning.

  • Start at the top - senior management sponsorship is key (and others will follow their example if they are visibly managing their own development)
  • As with any change-management process, there can be merit in looking at how the reward systems are constructed to support the required new behaviours around learning (the proverbial 'carrot' & 'stick'). The carrot should be BIG right from the start, the stick starting SMALL (in recognition that change is difficult) but increasing over time in a deliberate and prescribed manner. For example: if evidence of a proactive approach to learning is evident what feedback does the employee get (and what about the same scenario in 12 months time) ?
  • L&D professionals need to build a different form of credibility - rather than a list of acreditations (to get them through the door of the training room) they need to have good business acumen (to get through the office door) e.g. to help coach managers on making links between lifelong learning and business impact.
  • L&D needs to be better at marketing & celebrating successes - also increasing the ease of the transition to self-service (eg can it be made attractive for learners to self-register on the LMS vs. expecting someone else to manage their list of training ?)

Expanding the second theme - L&D Leaders need to deliberately manage the transition of their teams from being a training department.

  • Do current staff want to be 'consultants' - or do they get their motivation from the immediacy of the classroom ? (if the latter, it may be time for them to be supported in 'moving-on')
  • Consider now the L&D team can aquire 'business acumen' - possibly via secondments in/out of the business departments.
  • Be prepared to 'throw away' the training catalogue !