I enjoy learning new things, but only when I feel I have time to do so. Before I try to learn something new, I check my schedule to make sure I have enough free time to devote to it.
I believe most of us are like this; it’s easier to learn when we aren’t overworked and feeling stressed out by deadlines and time commitments.
Training is a crucial part of empowering our teams, but we can mess it up if we don’t consider what else our people are supposed to get done at the same time.
Your team is busy. You should know. You allocate a good part of their workload.
So, what happens when you organise training for your teams?
If they are flat out, apart from the sighing and a few choice words. Chances are your people will feel even more swamped. There’s no space in their timetable and even less space in their brains. They’re already feeling overwhelmed.
If this is the case, then you’re wasting your time if you expect your training to be successful. How can people concentrate on learning something new when they’re minds are still struggling with work on hand?
If learning is so important in your organisation, why isn’t it supported in practical ways?
Training is expensive.
You’re in HR. You know how much training can cost.
Tell me this. How often have you led a training course and known it wasn’t going to be successful?
You can answer honestly. I know it happens. I’ve seen it .
No matter how skilled you are, you can’t impart knowledge to people whose minds are elsewhere or simply overloaded.
Before you implement new learning, do this.
This is the most practical thing you can do to show how important learning is AND give your people time to do it…
Clear the board.
Make some space so learning will really happen.
Change your organisational priorities and make sure your teams see the change.
What can you do?
Start with your own team. If you want them to devote time and energy to learning something new, find ways to free up their time.
- Do they really need to go to a team meeting each week or would a monthly one work just as well?
- Do they really need to write those long reports, or would a summary do?
- Is there a system or procedure your team follows because it’s always been done that way? Why not remove or simplify it?
If you want your team to give you their time for training, you need to find a way to give them time they can spare.
Is there a business case for this?
Of course, there is.
- You are maximising the learning your team will get from the development program.
- You’re streamlining outdated systems.
- You’re reducing team stress.
- You’re enhancing team commitment and engagement.
Shall I go on?
Put a rough dollar value on each of those long-term benefits, and it really adds up.
Making space for development is something your organisation should do as a matter of course. It’s probably not happening yet.
Apply it to the way you work with your own teams. See how it works for you and then you can demonstrate the results.
Your next challenge will be to introduce it throughout the whole organisation.
Go to it!