As the future of training is changing from the dramatic world events of the last year, it’s a good time for leaders to embrace the enormous opportunity that exists in driving long-term, successful, and embedded change through motivated, engaged and equipped employees. It’s about supporting your people to develop life-long skills, create a continuous learning culture, and easily navigate the changes in their workplace that they face every day. As we know, successful organisations will put their people first as their greatest ambassadors and equip them with the skills they need to handle whatever comes their way.
According to the CIPD, “Employees who have good quality jobs and are managed well, will not only be happier, healthier and more fulfilled, but are also more likely to drive productivity, better products or services, and innovation.” We would add ‘deliver exceptional service to customers’ to that list, too, since many business goals are fundamentally linked to building strong customer relationships.
So how do leaders ensure employee training sticks? How do you embed those skills in your teams to really drive a culture change for the long term? How do you know it’s really making a difference – to your people and to your business metrics?
Driving culture change through training
Have you ever felt that the impact of training you have implemented was transient? As leaders, we’ve all seen the use of new ideas evident initially but then the momentum ebbs, skills are forgotten, and people revert to their old habits. One client of ours hit the nail on the head – “I love this content but how will you stop me going back to my evil old ways?”. At MGI Learning, this concept underpins everything we do. It’s vital to ensure that every person who trains on our courses and uses our tools practises the mindset, language, and behaviours consistently and continually. In fact, our tools are designed to also help in personal lives, as life skills that benefit both at work and at home are often the ones that stick for the long-term – the skills become firmly embedded in the psyche.
Ensuring new skills become a way of life takes focus and dedicated embedding activity. A practical approach is required when changing any behaviour, which is easy to understand, easy to practice, and easy to implement.
Four ingredients for sustained training impact
At MGI Learning, we focus on four areas that clients need to work on to ensure they experience a sustained impact from any training investment. Our simple but highly effective approach enables our customers to create lasting change in their organisation, which leads to improvements in all the metric areas they are looking to better, such as customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
1) Learn it well
Of course, with any new skill, we need to learn it. We need to understand what it is and how to use it in daily life. This isn’t just down to your people, however. How they learn, how they take on board the information and how they understand it practically is often down to how it’s taught. This includes having an engaging first teach of the skill with plenty of practical application and storytelling to bring it to life. The training needs to be relevant, tailored to the team and its unique environment and challenges, and of course, highly engaging. If the training is being delivered online, as is the case at the moment, the eLearning experience needs to be delivered in short, interactive modules, using a mix of media like video and clickable areas. At MGI, our face-to-face virtual training sessions use a plethora of tactics for engagement such as video interspersed with trainer delivery, online activities to increase active involvement, break out rooms to encourage interaction, virtual whiteboards or polling to enable group participation, instant message chat and emojis to get live reactions.
2) Live it and practice
Once the skills are effectively learned, and people understand them, believe them, and see how they can use them practically, they need to start living them. This is when we begin to use the skill and ensure that we demonstrate the use of it in appropriate circumstances. Practising using these new skills and continually improving ourselves to increase the sophistication of using them should be enjoyable and rewarding. The key here is to quickly and easily link back to the benefits of learning the skill in the first place. Putting in place incentives to ensure people feel rewarded and supported for demonstrating and living the skills is also helpful to gather and keep momentum.
3) Link to the positive outcome
If people can genuinely see that using these skills will improve their performance, we are firmly on the road to positive change. When managers and their teams link the use of the skills to helping them achieve their goals, their motivation to learn and live the skills, of course, increases. Your people need to believe it makes a difference to them personally and helps them make a difference in the workplace. It’s this embedded knowledge and experience that will drive collective adoption and ultimately drive culture change. The more people that develop the right mindset, language and actions to succeed and communicate that to others, the more others will adopt the same, with a firm knowing the outcome is positive for all. Asking for employee feedback, testimonials, and rewarding and communicating real-life positive outcomes is a great way to ensure the newfound skills are continually linked to the positive result.
4) Lead by example
As we look back over our 20 years of experience, the most successful and rewarding projects we have worked on are those where managers and leaders embrace the use of the skills and demonstrate their commitment through role modelling. Leading by example is a vital ingredient to ensuring sustained change within teams. Conversely, we’ve seen that the root cause of projects that fail to meet their potential can usually be traced back to a lack of leadership commitment to demonstrate and embrace the new skills themselves. Leading through coaching, reinforcing excellent use, supporting those who need more help to develop the skills and creating and keeping momentum are all essential aspects of leading by example.
So, if you are considering a change management training programme or you plan to invest in equipping your people with the skills and tools they need to handle whatever comes their way, building a robust plan of action to make sure the skills stick and deliver the outcomes you want, long-term will give you the foundation for success.
We would be delighted to talk with you about the training that we provide and show you the results that our customers achieve. If you would like to book a free consultation with us, do get in touch.