Over the past 10 years, we’ve had the good fortune to experience (both as participants and facilitators) a really broad range of learning and development.
As we’ve reflected, experimented, observed and witnessed outcomes of these experiences some key ingredients have emerged about the ‘how’ of effective learning and development spaces. We believe the most productive space for learning and development occurs when the facilitator/s –
- Has a genuine respect and willingness to recognise the wisdom that already exists in the room
- Knows how to (and is prepared to) create a genuine dialogue with participants – not a monologue
- Encourages the understanding and use of simple tools that aren’t rocket science (the complexity or ‘wow’ of the tools are not in themselves outcomes or indicators of success)
- Creates a space for participants to reflect, question and think their way to greater self-awareness
Although many may say they do these things, in our experience, few really do.
Obviously, these ‘ingredients’ can’t always be used in their purist forms. However, it’s vital that they comprise a significant portion of the learning and development mix for employees within your organisation. Ideally, some of these ‘ingredients’ would comprise at least part of all training experiences. Do this well and you will not only get greater value from your training dollar but you will also reap the benefits of increased Employee Connectedness.
Why can we say that these ingredients promote EC? Three main reasons –
1. They facilitate the creation of relationships between people in organisations – a relationship cannot be created via learning and development that is nothing more than a monologue from the facilitator!
2. They communicate a sense of value to employees – you have something valid and useful to contribute!
3. When employees learn something about themselves at work (i.e. increased self-awareness), it says to them that their employer respects and values them as real woman and men and not just as employees.
A fourth reason is that some data we’ve been collecting says that learning environments with these ingredients increase EC. In a recent survey we asked employees from a variety of industries seven questions about their learning and development experiences. The main finding of interest was the strong correlation between EC and those who could positively answer the question “I have received training that has helped me understand myself better”.
So what does increased EC as a result of effective learning and development sound like in practice?
After completing some of our recent workshops that explored the relationship between self-awareness and role effectiveness (we naturally tried to use the ingredients in the best way possible) a participant made the following comment: “I’ve learnt so much about myself and for the first time feel like I’ve actually been trained as a real person…” Needless to say she was extremely grateful to her employer and returned to her role feeling more confident and informed about how she wanted to operate. Increased EC? Check!
There is great reward waiting for organisations who can give their employees an experience that prompts this kind of reflection and commentary.
In our opinion, learning and development must be delivered in a way that contributes to two outcomes:
1. The practical learning outcome (e.g. increased knowledge about customer service or the new software package etc).
2. An increase in EC.
A well timed, well considered learning experience with ‘the ingredients’ can transform an employee’s ability to deliver on their primary role and increase their Employee Connectedness level. It’s not just about the mere presence of programs.
Is your learning and development schedule increasing Employee Connectedness? Is it building strong and productive relationships between employees?