5 Ways To Build A Transformative Training Program

5 Ways To Build A Transformative Training Program
Summary: The most competitive and innovative companies recognize that long-term success requires perpetual learning. This article outlines 5 key tips for establishing corporate education programs that enable and encourage transformation through applied learning practices.

Accelerating Transformation: How To Build A Transformative Training Program

In order to succeed and stand out among a sea of competitors, companies must be in a constant state of change. As a result, implementing effective, transformative learning programs and working with Learning and Development (L&D) professionals has emerged as a critical priority, no matter a company’s size or industry. Despite the majority of companies reporting that they’re in the middle of a transformation process at any given time, though, recent McKinsey research indicates that more than 65% of those transformations fail.

The most common reason transformative programs stall or fail is because a company’s employees aren’t adequately prepared. Successful, long-lasting change requires that employees not only understand the changes being implemented, but also that they have the knowledge to take on new roles or solve old problems in new ways. Providing company-wide applied learning experiences is one of the most effective ways to support employees through a transformation, as this approach teaches them how to convert newfound knowledge into practical skills. Also, by making applied learning experiences available at their precise time of need, employees are more inclined to pursue learning opportunities.

Applied learning programs not only significantly advance overall company development, but have the power to both accelerate careers and help businesses grow and succeed. Below are 5 key best practices for building an effective applied learning program that supports transformation:

1. Pinpoint Skills Or Role Gaps

Demand for certain skills or roles is often much greater than the supply, so it can be more productive to develop talent internally rather than searching for unicorns. Start by identifying the specific skills or roles your company most needs, and then determine if they can be developed in-house, and what resources your organization will need to achieve this.

2. Encourage A Curious Company Culture

A company culture in which asking questions is seen as a sign of weakness is toxic to learning. Work to build a culture that encourages curiosity and make sure employees always feel comfortable asking questions, as people who are inquisitive and honest about what they don’t know are usually the ones most ready and able to learn.

3. Incorporate Varied And Engaging Learning

Learning programs that rely on a single format (e.g. a lecture with minimal audience participation) aren’t very effective. Instead, learning experiences are optimized when the format is varied and knowledge is actually applied. Make sure experts and learners collaborate on concrete projects and real-world assignments, thereby turning newfound knowledge into practice.

4. Introduce New Challenges

If you never ask employees to do anything new or different, you can’t expect them to learn. In fact, the most innovative companies understand that work is learning and learning is work. Ensure your management team, in particular, is viewing employees as learners who can adapt, grow and rise to any variety of challenges put in front of them.

5. Encourage Ongoing Learning

In truly effective learning environments, employees learn to solve a problem, continually improve in their role and remain competitive. Continuous learning enables continued relevance. When people apply what they learn as they’re learning it, they set themselves up to learn more, faster. They can tackle real-world problems and manage situations on the fly, asking and answering their own questions as they work a problem through.

The unfortunate reality is, much of what we learn from textbooks in school fades over time. The same is true with corporate education. In fact, research shows that the half-life of learned skills has fallen to roughly five years, and in some instances it’s as short as 12-18 months. To ensure long-term competitiveness and success, today’s companies must recognize that continued relevance demands continuous learning. More specifically, establishing an applied learning environment in which employees can put newfound knowledge into practice is key.

Final Word

Transformation is hard, so it behooves companies to implement applied learning programs that equip employees for the organizations they wish to become. Organizations can help employees achieve this by making sure they’re applying what they learn as they’re learning it. Provide highly relevant education programs to ensure knowledge retention over the long-term and encourage employees to learn to ask and answer their own questions as they work through problems in the moment. In doing so, companies will be able to evolve along with rapidly changing market realities and spur innovation in the process.