The challenge is to combine technologies, platforms and ways of learning that explicitly tackle those enemies of adaptability and support each of the design principles of a truly adaptable organisation in some way; making learning a core part of 'business as usual' for all those working in and with an organisation. To help people understand how to learn; use freely accessible and available learning and measure the impact themselves.
Quite simply, training and development is out of sync with the times .What worked well in the past 10 - 15 years or so doesn’t work well now in our networked, continuously changing and fast paced business environment of today. Sheer pace and scope of change, alongside employees who are more connected and switched on than their organisations and a training and development function that has not sufficiently innovated, and can no longer keep pace with demand means that there is a significant strategic gap now in the capability and capacity of organisations to provide the necessary learning environment to support employee and organisational efficiency and growth.
This is what the ‘freed up learning’ organisation might look, feel and sound like if you visited it...
- Everyone’s perspective of the organisation has shifted from being part of a machine to being part of a living social organism; a collaborative network
- Expectations of employees have shifted from compliance and efficiency to being locked into the higher purpose and focused on creating value for the business
- Control of learning has shifted from top-down, imposed, by the training & development function, through command & control, and a focus on compliance to employee learning autonomy, self-driven learning on demand and shared learning. The employee controls their learning with coaching style guidance from their immediate manager.
- The learning relationship between boss and employee has shifted from being determined and organised by the boss to being owned by employee, in a flexible and open, trust based relationship with some joint planning.
- Incentives to learn have shifted from compliance, threat or‘ big stick and carrot’ based on pushing the employee the learn to pulling the employee to learn because it is purpose-driven, self-fulfilling, and intrinsic to personal and professional growth
- Learning delivery has shifted from being dominated by formal, planned in future events classes, courses, instruction and being trained, to conversations, experiences, just in time searches, peer learning networks & communities (face to face, & online) in order to learn.
The role of training & development is to create and maintain a learning infrastructure to enable a new learning environment in the workplace. This is achieved by:
- Re-position the training & development function to become a free standing profession in its own right. It has been a servant to generalist and strategic HR and needs to step away from this constraining relationship, redefine its relationship with the other elements of HR and move to become directly accountable to its users and at the heart of supporting the day to day operation of the business and growth of the organisation. Fundamentally changing the roles within Training and Development by introducing the following key roles:
- Learning Architects who design the Learning environment by determining the mix of platforms eg YouTube, LinkedIn, LMS, Face to Face, coaching, action learning, online peer review, online collaboration, Twitter, text messaging, Skype, webinars, video conferencing, online games, assessment tools, video, co-creation, creative arts, observation, peer review etc... those suitable for that organisation. Learning Architects can come from a number of sources – not just drawn from the Training & Development teams in an organisation, but from any part of the business.
Learning Architects work under the following principles
- Full adoption of 70:20:10
- Building and sharing Tacit and Explicit Knowledge
- Pull based learning
- Trust based learning relationships
- Flexible, open and easy to access solutions
- Working with solutions
- Just in time operational solutions
- No hierarchy in learning
- Your learning: your choices, your accountability & you measure impact
- Learning creates value for the business
- Always track satisfaction, impact and application of learning
- Habit of continuous improvement
- Everyone has a stake in the growth and success of others
- Learning Content Designers & Deliverers are specialists who design & deliver learning content on the various platforms eg YouTube, LinkedIn, LMS, Face to Face, coaching, action learning, online peer review, online collaboration, webinars, online games, assessment tools, video, co-creation, creative arts, observation, peer review etc.. They bring the 70:20:10 model alive The 70-20-10 model explains that learning by successful and effective individuals in the workplace is roughly 70% from experience (on the job), 20% from people you work with (colleagues, your boss, peers etc), and 10% from formal training & development interventions (courses, workshops etc).
- Learning Curators or Guides who introduce individuals to the organisation’s learning environment as part of the induction / on-boarding process. They help each person to navigate their way around the learning environment, explain accountabilities, and offer possible suitable choices initially until the person is sufficiently knowledgeable and confident to go it alone. Learning curators are responsible for maintaining the learning content & tracking environment, adding new content, handling any disputes eg inappropriate behaviour, as well as actively facilitating learning eg as online moderators or discussion leads, and acting as a booking agent for face to face learning etc...
- On-boarding processes change. On-boarding begins before the person arrives in the organisation. Immediately after the post is accepted the person is given a time to be greeted (online) by a learning curator. The focus of on-boarding is on ‘learning how to learn and being a reflective practitioner’. Self-assessment tools are used to ascertain how the person prefers to learn, their reflective practitioner level of knowledge and skills. Baselining their role based/professional skills, knowledge and abilities as well as capturing strengths and opportunities for growth. The organisation needs to analyse and better understand the talent that is about to join them to create their career path. Role & responsibilities as a learner are made clear in the recruitment and selection process i.e. habit of continuous improvement; no hierarchy in learning; your learning: your choices, your accountability & you measure impact as well as learning creates value for the business. Learning curators register the new employee (from a partnership for example) with their learning account.
- Induction and Compliance training needs for health & safety, governance, data protection, diversity, required ways of behaving/conduct etc. are still present but have migrated into the wider learning environment and no longer just delivered via SCORM compliant e-learning packages. During induction the core task for the new employee, their line manager and learning curator is ‘learning to learn efficiently and effectively’ - equipping the person about personal & organisational learning processes, as well as understanding and managing their own personal change processes.
Performance management (PM). What gets measured gets done’ within PM so ‘Habit of continuous improvement’ and ‘learning creates value for the business’ performance measures are introduced. One core task of the manager is to nurture every one of their team to make progress along their career paths, recognising that they are “whole people,” whilst still delivering business results. Both manager and employee are held to account for the career path’s implementation. Manager and employee need to be able to access the tracking system in the organisation's learning environment whenever they want- eg daily. It will show learning activity such as inputs like attended a workshop, but also contribution levels, amount of sharing and active participation in operational learning networks, impact measures (operational problems solved, project lessons learnt acted upon, & business value created) and also changes in skills, knowledge & ability levels. Five broad individual PM learning measures here:
- Knowledge Development
- Relationship Development
- Process Development
- Team Development and Succession Plan Realisation
- Process delivery
Within the manager’s PM process there are new measures eg their performance as a coach to their team, a continuous improvement team measure, value creation index, quality of the team succession plans etc... Much more sophisticated metrics are needed to begin to link cause and effect between learning and change / improvement / growth / compliance etc...
- Reward system changed to more explicitly reward organisational learning & value creation for the business. This uses the data and metrics from the PM & the tracking system in the learning environment to generate for example, team’s most valuable learner, most valuable team, coach (manager) of the year , collaborative project of the year etc....
- Succession planning changes. Grade or hierarchy based only learning minimised i.e. on an exception basis within an organisation and it is devolved to teams. In each team a viable succession plan comes out of a systematic process of team learning, cross team training, joint planning with resource backup, and job rotation etc. It is a collaborative project approach to targeted employee development, in which everyone has a stake in the growth and success of others. as well as him or herself.
- Working with solutions. Increasingly we work in partnerships, loose hierarchical relationships, virtual joint initiatives, pop up groups, projects etc... and the learning needs to support those ways of working. Learning Architects need to build learning environments so that ‘not being an employee’ is no longer a barrier to accessing the learning content and sharing forums. Learning curators register the person (from a partnership for example) with their learning account and on-board the person as they would a new employee.
There were 12 enemies of adaptability listed in the first sprints of this hackathon. Freed up learning needs to impact on as many of these enemies as possible. in a practical way. Here are some ways in which a ‘freed up learning ‘solution can help tackle those 12 enemies:
- Hierarchy: The ‘no hierarchy’ principle adopted eg employee determined choice in open learning environment.
- Inflexible business processes: On-boarding process to enhance every employee’s ability and skills to manage their own personal change process
- Skills deficit: The on-boarding process to baseline & individual PM learning measures.
- Fear: ‘Trust based learning relationships’ principle adopted & individual and Manager PM learning measures
- Short term thinking: Reward system changes & PM learning measures
- Decision-bias: (‘Your learning: your choices, your accountability & you measure impact’ + ‘learning creates value for the business’ + ‘the habit of continuous improvement’ + ‘no hierarchy in learning’) principles adopted. and open learning environment.
- Habit: ‘The habit of continuous improvement’ principle adopted + PM learning measures
- Centralisation: Training & development separated from HR with new roles as learning architects, content designer/delivery & learning curators. Devolved succession planning to teams and decision making on what learning (when & why) devolved to employee.
- Rigid Structure: Reward system changes & PM learning measures. Tracking system within the open learning environment.
- Insufficient experimentation: Open learning environment + on-boarding + PM system changes + reward system changes + (‘Your learning: your choices, your accountability & you measure impact’ + ‘learning creates value for the business’ + ‘the habit of continuous improvement’ + ‘no hierarchy in learning’) principles adopted
- Lack of diversity: Working with solutions + open learning environment
- A paucity of purpose: clear learning purpose provided with an explicit set of principles eg ‘learning creates value for the business’; role requirements and accountabilities.
Here are some practical problems organisations faces in implementing this hack, alongside some practical suggestions on how you might begin to overcome these challenges...
Problem: Learning technology infrastructure investment (past, current and planned future investment levels) has been poor or limited. Solution: Start with what is freely available online. Begin to build the business case for 70:20:10 by doing your research, finding organisations already benefitting from online open learning environments, finding internal allies and target the next strategic organisational budget setting process.
Problem: Rigid hierarchy of decision making. Command and control culture in which there is compliance and pushing employee to learning. Solution: start with the values or principles being adopted. Think about using an organisational change model to plan your changes (eg McKinsey’s 7s model) to address both the hard and soft elements of the organisation... Consider a pilot team or pilot areas first and experiment for a period of time.
Problem: Existing PM system with lack of any learning measures or no experience of PM learning measures. Solution: research and brainstorm your own suite of PM learning measures that cover inputs, process, outputs, outcomes & impacts of learning. Change the PM process you use as the next suitable point in the PM cycle. Experiment with new forms of evaluation of learning in addition to/or instead of your traditional ways of evaluating learning. Ditch the ‘happy sheet’ you use or get from training suppliers and co-create or get the suppliers to create something new that is focused on outcomes and impacts.
Problem: The current limitations within the Training and Development Team (skills, knowledge, ability, confidence and mind-set). Solution: Challenge the team to establish their knowledge and skills gaps; address it. within a short time period using the 70:20:10 model. Experiment, resource and challenge the team to change the way they work to adhere to the principles of the Learning Architect. Invest in the team eg bring in some coaching for members of the team.
Problem: Skills and confidence of managers and employees to be independent learners. Solution: avoid assuming anything because some of your people may surprise you with the level of social networking and learning that they already do outside of work. Solution: Why not survey all your staff using free or inexpensive online questionnaire tools to get a baseline. Check out what content you already have that is relevant to helping people become ‘independent learners’. find some champions / individuals at all levels that are prepared to take a personal lead, experiment with one piece of online free sharing technology eg YouTube, or experiment with some PM Learning measures, or even experiment with a reward eg line manager coach of the year/quarter etc...
To test the hack, what would need to happen first or how might an organization run a quick and simple experiment or develop a prototype that…
Experiment - try some of the solutions in the challenge section.
- Find a cross functional operational problem (or teams) - bring together an action learning set and do some peer collaboration. Use some free online sharing platform eg Google drive. and evaluate the learning process and results (outputs, outcomes and impact) on learners)
- Try before you buy: challenge a team (or teams) to live by some of the principles for a couple of months eg principles like ‘Habit of continuous improvement ‘
- Try before you buy: ask a member of the board or senior officer to live by some of the principles eg ‘Your learning: your choices, your accountability & you measure impact’
- Ask the Training & Development team to brainstorm with a cross section of colleagues and/or partners to plan for full adoption of 70:20:10 within 12 months - can it be done?
- Bring together a cross organisational team of people to create some PM Learning measures then experiment with it in some teams. -This group to be led by PM specialists.
- Challenge a team (or teams) to come up with a team succession plan.
The Hacking Team - Karen Waite, Connor Moss, Perry Timms, Chris Grams, Alan Gard & Julie Steel
We now have a huge amount of insight here and no doubt something more practical for people to take away and make happen.
It would be great to see a longitudinal action research programme on this one - we could be looking at some fundamental rewiring of the way parts of the HR function take forward their work; continuous improvement culture and talent development.
Would be great to leverage our networks and find some places where this could be trialled alongside some analysis of how impactful this hack is.
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