We all know that once you’ve trained people and they’ve gained some great knowledge and some useful skills that they will automatically apply these when they get back to the job, right?
Well of course not, we’ve probably experienced this ourselves where we may have had really good intentions to do something differently and when we get back to work, for various reasons, the learning just doesn’t translate in to action, our behaviours and performance just don’t change. In fact, we know through various studies that in leadership learning programmes, for instance, up to 85% of people do not do something differently in a sustained way! What a waste of effort and expense! Yet, research also shows that this can be turned around to 85% of people actually doing things differently on the job in a sustained and consistent manner, however, this takes certain conditions to occur. Our job as learning professionals is to ensure not that people learn, but that people action the learning and that performance is improved. So how can we ensure this happens when we don’t have authority to ensure people do things differently in the workplace, when this is in fact the role of the participant and their manager?
Can you imagine how different it might feel if before you attend learning your manager sits with you and discusses the programme you are about to attend, what expectations you have for the programme and how they expect the programme to help you and how they expect to see this reflected in your performance? You’ve already seen a message from the chief nurse, your department manager, the COO or even the CEO on why they support this programme and why it is important to the organisation. Hmm there’s something different going on here, but it will be ok, nothing will happen when I get back to work. But hey there’s more differences here too! When I get back to work, I see an invite from my peer group to a peer discussion forum, another from my leader wanting to discuss what I learnt, why it was useful to my job and what support I need from them to implement some changes; I was given a diary to write down my own actions before the learning programme and my manager wants to discuss this too; I’ve been given a really good job aid to help me remember what to do and it gives me tips and reminders on how to do it; the organisation has announced changes to the performance review to include an emphasis on the changes needed; there’s a system of measuring put in place checking on how things are going and there’s an online portal for me to use as a reminder of the learning and to post and read stories about how the program is being used. Woah! something is definitely different here there is support in place to help me change and I’m also being held accountable to the change! We, as the learning and performance specialist, cannot make this happen but what we can do is to be the architect of the support and accountability package. However, the only way we can do this is if we have built up trust and credibility with the organisation first and they not only buy in to this, but they actually come up with ideas on how the support and accountability can work.
In the Kirkpatrick New World Model, the support and accountability package is termed the required drivers of performance and incorporate, encouragement, reinforcement, reward and monitoring. This is the ring of green circling the bullseye of behaviour in the middle of the model. You will see another ring here that recognises that the majority of learning and the support required happens in the workplace and not through the formal learning. The more we can put into the design and execution of this support and accountability package the more likely we are to see the behaviours and performance that the organisation needs.
If you want to know more about how to create a driver package, we have a couple of examples you might find useful. The first is a webinar we hosted with our colleagues from FMG, a rural insurance firm based in New Zealand. In this webinar, Carita and Kelly describe how they implemented a driver package that drove down unresolved claims and improved their NPS score amongst other great results. Oh, and they did this without any formal learning programme, even though they are in the learning team!! The other is a checklist we have created that helps you consider actions needed before any learning takes place, during the learning programme (if there is one) and after the learning.