How Can We Spot Opportunities For L&D?
By identifying where we can make an impact! And it’s as simple as that… We’re looking for situations where learning drives performance, not where we’re learning for the sake of learning.
Pairing people up with mentors, running check-ins, even someone flagging their desire to learn a new skill – these are typically the answers you’ll get to that question.
In isolation, these activities are like firing an arrow blindfolded – and we’re unlikely to hit the target.
Without understanding the challenges people are facing, the goals we’re trying to reach or the metrics we’re hoping to move, we might end up learning without purpose.
So, from now on, adopt the mindset that you’re looking for opportunities where L&D can really make an impact. Here are some of the ways you can do just that…
Find the problems to be solved
And there’s only one place to start – going on a listening tour within the business.
Speak to the people we’re hoping will engage with our learning and understand the biggest problems they’re facing when trying to be successful in their role.
Don’t take their word as given and don’t be afraid to probe further! We’re not always great at defining our problems, either mistaking symptoms for the root cause or falling foul of recency bias.
Once we’ve got a well-defined problem, we can build learning around tackling that issue and provide resources that act as a solution.
Identify the moments that matter
We often make the mistake of trying to drag people to learning, rather than bringing learning to the places where people already spend their time.
If we’re going to make an impact, we have to consider when and where learning is going to be applied to drive performance.
We call these Moments That Matter, and here’s our CEO, Nelson Sivalingam, explaining how they work in more detail:
If our customer support team use Intercom to manage conversations, making resources available on that platform and in a form that’s easily applied can make them better at their job.
Align with business goals and spot when they’re out of reach
Two common pitfalls trip up L&D teams pretty often! They can’t get buy-in or a seat at the table, and they end up setting their own goals rather than aligning with those of the business.
If you can nail the latter, you’ll do better with the former.
So, it’s critical that you not only understand what the overall goals of the business are, you identify why we’re not getting there just yet.
In the same way we approached problems in step one, we can build learning designed around the business goals, and therefore demonstrate impact to key stakeholders.
Understand where skills gaps exist
The trouble sometimes is that we just don’t have the skills internally to reach those business goals. But we’ll only understand that if we build a skills profile within the business – which skills do we have and how proficient are the people who have them?
If we’re building an app and don’t have anyone with development skills, we can’t simply tackle that through content.
We need to help people develop those skills internally through more detailed and considered courses or pathways.
If we’re not auditing skills, we’re back to blindfolded archery and hoping that an arrow hits the target.
Know when behaviour change is desired
L&D is often in the business of behaviour change, and that’s ultimately another chance for us to drive impact.
Let’s say we’re aiming towards something less tangible, like a better work-life balance in our teams. We could use data to understand who is sending emails and message outside of work hours and provide guidance on how to manage that.
We’d then be able to leverage the existing data (and whether it’s changed) alongside anecdotal evidence from those we’d identified.
So, remember, your best opportunities for successful L&D are the ones where you can truly have impact on goals, problems and progress.