Jennifer K. Snyder

Developing People; Engaging Employees

Category: Learning

Learning Strategy: The Journey Continues

by equusnyder

Who knew? Who knew that it could get this complicated? As I hammer out where I want our company to head from a learning perspective, I ask myself more questions than I answer; I reveal more options than I can choose; I find more opportunity than I can take. As frustrating as it is, I find solace in this quote from Winston Churchill:

Progress

So, I push forward. I’ve identified some key tactics, including establishing an executive learning board, starting a certified instructor program, and launching a “Learn Everyday” campaign, but realize implementing these actually means sacrificing growth in other areas – areas that I felt were a high priority at one time.

I think the three initiatives on which I’m focusing are critical for the foundation of a healthy learning environment. The executive learning board will help provide direction and ensure inclusivity of the entire company, the certified instructor program will create a framework, level of expectation, and human resource, and the Learn Everyday campaign will help with the shift in mindset of what learning can mean to our employees.

What will suffer as a result, at least in the short term, is the quality of our online offering – something I had really hoped to address this year. Last year, because of the acquisition and new LMS, I elected to maintain the status quo, that is, continue to use online courses that have little if any learning value. Many are “box checkers,” that is, courses that enable us to say, “Yes, our employees have been trained in that.” My issue with the courses is that they are not well designed. They are what many outside of the learning industry think of when they hear “online learning.” They are by and large read-and-clicks. Knowing how effective eLearning can be, they drive me nuts. If money were no object, I’d hire it out or at least find some off-the-shelf replacements. But, painful though it may be, this is not where I need to spend our precious resources this year. I need to finish laying the foundation of what was started last year.

The other area that will suffer – again, in the short term – is our ILT offering. We have a real need for supervisory classes. In Q4 of 2014, we offered a one supervisor class every month. We had already decided on a hiatus for January and February, but until I have a team of instructors who can deliver courses across the company, I will need to reduce my anticipated offerings for my supervisors. Again, could I hire it out? Yes, but particularly while the company is in growth mode, our department is running lean.

onmyway

It’s difficult to paint a clear picture of where we will be in three years from now, but I believe using last year and this year to create a sound foundation will enable us to have a stronger, but malleable program in years to come.

Taming the Beast: Developing a Corporate Learning Strategy

by equusnyder

Once again I find myself using this blog as a way for me to articulate the thoughts in my mind, not necessarily to share them with you, but because the mental images are lying in a big heap in the middle of my brain and I cannot make sense of them.

IMAG1068

The tactile effort of typing the words, and then seeing the words on the screen, seems to help my brain understand the logic that is screaming to get out. It’s no wonder my ears ring.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been given the opportunity to lead a corporate learning program that’s never really been formally established in a 60-year-old company. What a challenge! But, what an even greater opportunity! I am blessed beyond measure.

I joined the company in 2013, just as half of it was being acquired. This was a good thing for me. I spent 2013 getting ready for the split, and 2014 regrouping. 2014 was about positioning. I allowed our content to maintain status quo while I focused on getting a new robust LMS up and running, and getting a skilled learning specialist to partner with me in the venture. We had a few good ILT courses in Q4, but by and large, this year was about preparation.

kkfayWhich brings me to where I am today – crafting what the company’s learning strategy will looking like in the coming years. I feel a bit like Fay Wray in King Kong, being flailed about at the top of the Empire State Building. It is hard to get my arms around this monkey.

Starting with the End in Mind

As with most problem solving and invention, it’s usually best to start with the end in mind. Read the rest of this entry »