Managing the Training Fun

Two key ingredients of best in class training

I don't know enough about Facebook and Twitter to claim they've got the best training programs in Silicon Valley, but there are some kernels of truth you find in the most successful corporate training initiatives. This piece by Max Nisen nails quite a few of these.

The first is an on-boarding experience long enough for the new hire to truly get acclimated and contribute to the organization's culture. At Facebook, this occurs during a seven week Bootcamp in which new hires work on fixing actual problems with the site's code. These fixes new hires work on are up live on Facebook's site within a week of the new employees hire. How is that for getting employees up to speed?

Another component of best and class training initiatives is they are driven and led by the CEO. And by led I don't mean just merely sponsored. At Twitter, the leadership program is run and taught by the CEO, Dick Costolo. Having this level of commitment by the president of the company sends a message to the entire organization that this is important to the firm's success. 

Learn & Lead

I've been fortunate in my career to experience both ends of the spectrum. I've had CEOs look at me in disbelief for asking them to take a small yet active role in the on-boarding of their new hires, and I've had other CEOs jump at the opportunity to work with me and provide direction on training initiatives. Nothing you bake into your training program will get your learners attention more than walking into a training room and having the CEO of your company there ready to teach and mentor.

As Jack Welch once said, "An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage." Get your chief executive on board with your initiatives, and involve your learners in solving your organization's most vexing challenges. Do this all as quickly as you can, and watch your training initiatives go from nice-to-haves to crucial parts of your company's DNA.

Alex Santos

Alex is a co-founder and Managing Member of Collabor8 Learning, LLC, an instructional design and performance management consultancy. His firm collaborates with organizations to enhance the way they develop  and train their people. To learn more about Collabor8 Learning, click here.

Alex can be reached at 786-512-1069, alex@collabor8learning.com or via Twitter@collabor8alex.



Who’s going to pay for your Learning Record Store?

Jane Hart recently released interim results for her Learning in the Workplace Survey and though it is still open, has found evidence that show how workers continue to organize and manage their own learning in the workplace. 

Interestingly enough, shortly after I was reading Jane's interim results I bumped into this great infographic by Catalin Zorzini (scroll down to the Testimonials section) on how web designers get educated.  What struck me the most about this infographic were the testimonials from web designers and the bottom of the page.  Look at how many of these designers consider the skills they have self-taught themselves through experimentation and the tutorials of others priceless- and in many instances superior to those skills acquired in a formal education. 

The interim results from Jane’s survey as well as the infographic and other anecdotal data we continue to receive from our clients point to a growing trend in the learning and development field.  Ownership and control of learning and development activities is shifting from the L&D department to individual learners.  One technology that is sure to move this trend further along was the release last week of the new Tin Can API. 

Click on image for slides from presentation of The Experience API by Nik Hruska at Defense Game Tech Users’ Conference 2013.

Click on image for slides from presentation of The Experience API by Nik Hruska at Defense Game Tech Users’ Conference 2013.

The new Tin Can API brings with it the portability of “experience” data will allow learners to take their learning records (which will be stored in the cloud) with them when moving from one organization to the next.  Learning records are no longer locked into one organization’s LMS and left to rot there once an employee leaves.  This has some pretty massive implications for the fields of human resources, organizational development as well as training and development.

There are still some kinks left to be worked out with this API, for example – when an employee leaves a company and is in between jobs, who pays for that cloud-based learning record store?  Traditionally speaking, companies have paid for some learning management system to keep these records. When employees ask to take their learning records with them so that they don’t have to retake that compliance or sexual harassment prevention course again upon starting employment with another organization, will companies download these records from their learning record cloud and hand them over to the employee in a USB stick?  Better yet, will organizations feel comfortable handing over this data on behalf of a departing employee to a competitor?

Many of these issues will get worked out in the months and years ahead.  In the meantime, if you are one of those learners whose already taken responsibility for your own learning and development- would you pay for a personal and portable cloud-based learning record store?

Alex Santos

Alex is a co-founder and Managing Member of Collabor8 Learning, LLC, an instructional design and performance management consultancy. His firm collaborates with organizations to enhance the way they develop  and train their people. To learn more about Collabor8 Learning, click here.

Alex can be reached at 786-512-1069, alex@collabor8learning.com or via Twitter@collabor8alex.

 

Here's one way you can prioritize requests for "training"

Every time I talk to the manager of a Training or L&D department, the one thing I can always count on hearing is how extremely busy they are. I remember well being in this role, and having to find a solution to the barrage of training requests that came into the department in a way that was transparent, objective, and somewhat inclusive. These three characteristics mirror my leadership style pretty well, and I feel it's important for the team to be able to clearly articulate why we are tackling some projects with haste, while allowing others to simmer on the back burner for a little while. I thought I'd share one of the tools we came up with, in the hopes that you can find some benefit in this "weighted scoring" methodology.

I gathered the troops one Monday morning and announced that going forward every training request that came into the department would be scored and given the priority it deserved.  After all, we were only seven, and were being stretched way too thin by all the competing demands that were being placed on the team.  It took a couple of hours but we developed the matrix you see here. It's a very simple tool to use, and I'm providing you with a link to the Excel spreadsheet that we created and you are more than welcome to modify it according to your needs. In this meeting we developed nine criteria that we were going to use to rank projects, and gave them a weight from ten being our most important to two being the least important criteria for us in evaluating a project.  Secondly we identified three priority levels with one having the lowest priority and three the most.  WE gave each priority level a description we could all objectively agree on.

Once you've got this training prioritization matrix developed, take the list of projects on your plate and simply score them.  For each criteria on your scale multiply the weight by the priority level and add up the total (or have Excel added up for you) to "score" the projects. The projects with the higher scores are what your team should be focusing on with vigor, while projects with a lower score should be on your back burner.  The next time someone comes running in through your door with a request for a new training initiative gather your troops, grab this matrix, and objectively ask yourselves– where does this request belong on our list of priorities?

I hope this tool can help some of you training or project managers out there, and by no means is it perfect. In fact, if you've got a different method for prioritizing your training projects I'd love to hear it!  Feel free to grab the spreadsheet from my Google Drive by clicking on the icon below.  How do you prioritize training requests that come across your desk?  Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you.

Click to download the training priorities spreadsheet here.

Click to download the training priorities spreadsheet here.

Alex Santos

Alex is a co-founder and Managing Member of Collabor8 Learning, LLC, an instructional design and performance management consultancy. His firm collaborates with organizations to enhance the way they develop  and train their people. To learn more about Collabor8 Learning, click here.

Alex can be reached at 786-512-1069, alex@collabor8learning.com or via Twitter@collabor8alex.