A small team isn’t necessarily a limitation! And yet, in a lot of people’s experience, mentioning the micro nature of their department immediately brings about discussions on the challenges and constraints that presents.
Although that’s only really a conversation when it comes to work and people. If you moved into a small space, you’d immediately start thinking about how to maximise it – you realise the limitations, but you’re more determined to get the most from it. When there’s no room for a king-size bed, it’s the mindset that changes and not the space.
That’s the view you should take when it comes to any department that’s ‘on the small size’. It’s not a weakness, but it should force you to focus and make sure you’re not wasting the time and people at your disposal. And that’s especially true in the world of people development because so much hinges on your L&D strategy.
The good news is that there are a few ways you can pull this off in your learning and development team, and we’re diving into them from here!
Reducing the content creation burden on yourself
It’s something most of us wish we’d said to the star player on any of our school sports teams, but stop trying to do everything yourself! Except this time, it’s less about frustration with their greed and more about realising we don’t need to create every piece of learning content ourselves.
Why? If you’re in a smaller team, that’s really counterproductive because the chances are that relevant content already exists in many cases. Or it’s there to an extent that you could tweak it to fit your purpose! Maybe it just needs a couple of bookends to add the context for your business? Perhaps it covers half of what you want and just needs sandwiching with other relevant content.
The point is that when you make the most of the existing resources at your disposal, that frees up your time to focus on either content that doesn’t exist or resources that are really specific to your business.
Leveraging everyone in your business
That’s looking outwards ticked off, but you can achieve something similar by looking inwards! In the same way that knowledge lives in third party sites, it’s also there inside the minds of your subject matter experts. And you’ll probably find there’s a lot more contextual relevance to your company or industry when you leverage internal knowledge.
This is why learner-generated content entered the L&D picture! Whether you want to label it as peer or social knowledge sharing, there’s a huge amount that people in your organisation can learn from each other. If someone in your sales team has closed 1,000 deals, there’ll be plenty they can share with newer team members, and they might be able to share perspectives through fresh eyes in return.
A big part of that comes down to measuring skills, otherwise, you’re just swinging blindly at social learning as if it’s a pinata! Work out who has particular talents or experience, and encourage them to share their expertise – there’s a good chance you’ll engage people and convert them into brand advocates for L&D. You won’t convert everyone, but enough people could help you create a snowball effect.
That can happen informally on a day-to-day basis, especially if you’ve got a learning platform that lets anyone create content in a few easy steps 😉. In a more formal sense, you can look at pairing coaches/mentors with mentees to help impart that wisdom and close skills gaps. Adding that one-on-one element or mentor to group dynamic as you open up who can create content or drive learning.
Using your agility and tapping into microlearning
Sometimes being a small team has exclusive benefits, like the ability to be more agile and quick to respond. When there’s too many cooks, it’s not a case of spoiling the broth but taking too long for it to come to the boil.
When the message is more important than the package you wrap it up in, it’s better if you can act swiftly to create content and get it to people rapidly. If it needs to go through a design process, feedback loop and sign-off, you might well miss the window in which that information truly matters.
Wrapped up with this is the concept of microlearning. People should be able to access and understand a resource just as quickly and easily as you can create it – that’s why specific and easy-to-follow microlearning resources are so well-received.
For example, if there’s a lack of clarity on how to tag customers in your system, creating and distributing a quick video or guide on how to do it is vital to nipping that in the bud. Wait weeks for a slickly designed course and the damage might already be done.
Making the most out of your learning platform
Where are you spending a lot of your time? And is there a way your learning platform could help cut that down? The whole point of the tools and systems we use is to make our lives easier or manage more efficiently to boost productivity. But too often, we don’t stop and think about how we can really tap into everything our tech has to offer.
If you’re manually managing someone’s development pathways, there might be a gap between when they’re ready to progress and when you have the time to set that up. At HowNow, we’ll cut that down by enabling you to automatically assign people to new courses, pathways and resources when they meet a certain criteria. So, when they complete one course, you can set a rule that assigns the next one to them.
Or if there’s recurring compliance training and courses that need to be repeated at regular intervals, all of the time spent managing that could be saved by using our Recurring Dates feature.
Know what you can and can’t do and what’s worth your time
If there’s one good point to wrap up on, it’s about prioritising your time and understanding your limits as a team. Data can be your best friend in these situations because it can help you understand what’s worth your time and effort.
If you regularly put on weekly webinars, but the attendance and engagement are very low, is that a productive use of your time? If the insights point towards people preferring podcast-style resources or bite-sized content, it’s fair to assume these offer a better return on your investment.
In a nutshell, there’s only so much you can do, so it’s crucial you understand how your time is best spent. That’s how you get the most out of your resources and deliver for your learners.
If you want to know more about HowNow and how we can help you pull this off, learn more about our intelligent learning platform here.