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Tips for encouraging learning within your Organisation

17 April 2015
encouraging learning

During a recent conversation with one of my clients, I was asked what changes I had noticed with regards to how learning is delivered within Organisations.  In other words, how valid is the traditional ‘classroom based learning’ approach?

This thought provoking question led me to the following conclusions:

  • There has been a definite shift from ‘learning being delivered at you’ towards a learner being able to learn for themselves independently.  In other words, the role of L&D is to facilitate the learning process as opposed to owning it and rolling it out across the business.

  • Social learning has become far more prevalent due to the opportunities provided by social media and technology

  • Face to face learning still has a significant role to play, but the learning must be tailored to the needs of the business, relevant and delivered in such a way that individuals don’t feel that they are being talked at.

So in practical terms, how can this be achieved?  Well here are just a couple of simple examples.

Encourage people to talk to each other:

It sounds so simple yet how often do people really talk to each other?  A recent BT staff survey indicated that 78 per cent of their employees like to learn from their peers.  

I recently spent a few days with a new client, sitting down with various stakeholders within the business so that I could identify what the journey from a customer’s perspective, having gone from not knowing the company existed through to being a loyal customer.  This also involved attending several visits with customers on their sites.

The learning was invaluable as it gave me a genuine insight into how the Organisation works from sales through to service and gave me a broader perspective of how different departments are interdependent on one another.

It was telling how many stakeholders mentioned to me afterwards that I probably know more about the business overall than they do, despite the fact that in some cases, they had worked there for a number of years.  Yet how many employees are empowered to do something similar for themselves, other than in the first week of their induction?

Make somebody famous:

Marketing professionals will tell you that somebody is far more likely to watch a video in full as opposed to reading an article.  Well done if you have got this far with this article by the way!!

Whilst there are some excellent suppliers of corporate training videos, they don’t come cheaply and many lack authenticity, becoming dated very quickly.

An alternative to this, following the theme that individuals like to learn from peers, is to record your own videos using staff members as actors.  

This is an exercise that I have used with a few of my clients with regards to performance reviews.  I was pleasantly surprised at how willing people were to take part, which is obviously key.  We used the Organisation’s own internal documentation and processes, changed the names to protect the innocent but based the scenario on a realistic conversation that would typically take place.

The conversation was not scripted.  We simply gave our ‘actors’ the context of the scenario and off they went.  

The video was available on the intranet and could be used as part of a classroom based learning programme.  Curiosity meant that the uptake of those who viewed the video was impressive, as were the number of people who commented that it was refreshing to have a frame of reference of ‘what good looks like’ when it comes to conducting performance reviews.

Just don’t forget to discuss image rights with those who agree to take part!

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