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What not to do in 2022: 17 L&D pitfalls, mistakes and bad habits to avoid!

It’s in our nature to be positive! That’s why when New Year rolls around, we normally focus on the things we’d like to do more of after the clock strikes midnight. Pick up a new hobby, return to an activity we stopped a while ago or build a personality trait we think will help us smash the next 12 months. 

But what if the secret to success is what we DON’T do in the new year? Bad habits we drop, pitfalls we avoid, common mistakes we sidestep…

That’s why we’ve put together our list of the top learning and development things you should stop doing in 2022, to have the most productive L&D year yet!

1. Don’t create content where you can curate it

If you’re trying to create every single piece of content internally, you’ll probably find your L&D staff stressed and close to breaking point while everyone else is frustrated that they’ve become the bottleneck for the resources they need.

That’s why you should curate relevant content that third parties have already created and focus your efforts on creating highly specific resources for your business.

2. Don’t revert to what you’d always done before

It’s easy to fall into old habits, and after the stresses of the past two years, it would be tempting to simply pick back up with our pre-pandemic learning habits. However, this is a moment to revisit your approach, make sure it fits your new ways of working and links up with changes to your wider company policies and culture. 

3. Not reviewing your L&D strategy and policies with hybrid working in mind

It’s a similar point to the one above, but it’s unlikely you’ll be going back to your offices full time. In fact, a recent Loom report revealed that people, on average, are spending 65.2% of their time working from home and 34.8% in offices. And the chances are that, unless you’ve already reviewed your policies, your strategy and guidelines are shaped around a time when you were in the office more often than not. Sit down, be critical and amend the sections that no longer reflect how you’ll be working.

4. Don’t let working from home prevent people’s learning opportunities

A recent Nespresso study (yes, the coffee people) revealed that 41% think ‘working from home means I miss out on learning and development opportunities’. While 34% agree that ‘working from home means I miss out on career development opportunities” – your job is to make sure that doesn’t happen. 

5. End the push for push learning only

If learning only comes from the top down, it restricts people from following their natural curiosity or pursuing development on their terms. We’ve all been there outside of work, getting sucked into a rabbit hole and picking up a huge amount of knowledge by following our noses. But that’s hard to achieve when L&D is focused on pushing learning to people and not providing them with the tools to find knowledge their way, when they find time and when they’re most motivated.

6. Delivering learning that takes up lots of time

There’s a big temptation to go big, to put together multi-day learning programs that take up lots of time, money and effort. But bigger isn’t always better when it comes to solving your business challenges. Instead, try thinking big but starting small and creating microlearning experiences that fit into the flow of work and allow people to learn fast.

7. Stop measuring the wrong things

Completion rates aren’t the be-all and end-all, and 2022 is hopefully the year that every company realises that. Sure, it’s great if everyone has completed two courses and ticked that box, but how many people have become better at their job as a result? This is why you need to start measuring improvements to people’s skill levels or productivity alongside business performance improvements.

8. End knowledge silos so that you can promote knowledge sharing

If only one person knows how to do something, they’re the only one benefitting from that knowledge. But if everyone has access to it, they can learn from the subject matter experts in your business – that’s social learning in a nutshell. The trouble is you need the right tools in place to do it right! Give people a platform to share and upload their knowledge in one place that everyone has access to and can collaborate in.

9. Don’t get overwhelmed by L&D tasks that take a lot of work

A lot of people want progressive and advanced learning experiences but find themselves in awe of the tasks ahead when it comes to creating and delivering their strategy. The truth is that reinventing your learning experiences will take some hard yards, but you can cut that distance down by planning effectively, setting the right goals and understanding your realistic objectives.

10. Don’t lose your seat at the executive table

According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report, just 24% of L&D pros thought they had a seat at the executive table in March 2020. Fast forward to June 2020, and it had reached 62% before rising to 63% in March 2021. The challenge is to understand why L&D became so valuable during the course of the pandemic and maintain that as the restrictions continue to ease and the way we work evolves.

11. No more arbitrary dates for learning!

Too often, employees are asked to decide which events or courses they’d like to sign up for by a particular date in the year. In honesty, this is essentially just allowing managers to tick a box that says learning is happening.

However, what benefit does rushing the decision offer to learners? None! What if you blow your learning budget by attending an event you weren’t that enthused about in May, and by September, you realise there’s a whole new set of skills you want to build? You’d no longer have the budget to do so…

12. Don’t be fixed on your methods, be flexible about reaching your outcomes

If you’re working in L&D, you’ll be familiar with those situations where people ask for a particular solution rather than explaining their problem so that you can diagnose it. They might request a five-day training course for sales reps rather than explaining what they want to achieve. The best approach is for you to ask consulting questions and prescribe the right solution – the right outcome is better than the right method.

However, that’s also a mindset you need to apply to your own approach. Don’t presume you know the perfect method each time this happens, sit down and really diagnose the best solution for that problem.

13. Don’t be inflexible on features when it comes to technology

If you’re looking for any sort of L&D technology and software, approach the process with an open mind. Rather than presuming the features you need, really understand the problems you’re trying to solve and whether the tool ticks those boxes. If you look for a certain feature, it’s all you’ll find – but you might miss out on something even better that doesn’t necessarily fit in that pigeonhole.

14. Stop ignoring your data!

How often are you crunching the numbers? The answer might be not often enough! Whether it’s the types of resources that work best or the assessments people struggle to complete, reviewing the analytics will give you a better insight into how learners engage with content.

Are certain topics viewed more often? Do people gravitate to particular sources? How long are they spending in your learning platform? Your reporting dashboards hold the answers…

15. Don’t play it safe, innovate

It’s easy to play it safe when you’re thinking about presenting content, but being bold could be the key to memorable, stimulating and enjoyable learning experiences. Trotting out the same formats every year for similar activities will only cause a stale feel around the types of content. For example, if the product pitch is uploaded as a PDF every single year, a video explanation could be a welcome breath of fresh air.

16. Make sure you’re not ignoring mobile or remote learning

People are quite literally learning everywhere, in all sorts of places all over the world, and it’s important that we’re thinking about that when creating our content. Is it accessible and easy to use across devices? If not, would a mobile-friendly version help people who are out on the road? These are the sort of things you need to consider when shaping your L&D strategy.

17. Stop being unsociable! Collaborate with other departments

Your company is full of experts, use them! If you’re shaping your communications strategy around L&D, knock on marketing’s door. Technical aspects of your tech that you don’t understand? It’s time to visit the IT department! Curious about the best ways to maximise your budget, why not have a chat with someone in finance.

But your biggest mistake could be realising the importance of all of this and still not using modern learning technology built for the learner of 2022! Let us show you around our all-in-one learning platform, designed around the employee development needs of today, not ten years ago!

Book a demo of HowNow today and speak to one of our friendly L&D experts