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  • Writer's pictureRahul

Are your able to drive sustainability in your training and development initiatives?

According to Barbara Kellerman, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, $50 billion is spent by companies on leadership development and only 15% learners say that they apply the learning back at the workplace.

World-wide, organizations are spending far too much time installing the right program. However, the effort has to be balanced in making sure not only that the programs are relevant but also ensuring the required benefits are realized.

Best places to work always begin such initiative right at the top. The senior management team has to role model the best practice of leadership before cascading it across the organization. I remember a discussion with a telecom CEO who wanted to change the culture on performance management within the organization; he wanted to build managerial capability to have effective performance and career dialogues.

He wanted to conduct a one day program for all people managers to build their skills on having performance management dialogue while he was having this discussion, he thought of checking with his VP who is his direct report on having such dialogue.

He did an impromptu role play and post that he decided that he along with his direct reports will also sit through these workshops as well. Program sustains if senior leadership understands, role models and review their down the line while deploying any change initiative.

The second most important stakeholder is the Learner’s manager. Manager of the learner has to ensure there is a development tension created in this intervention where he sets expectation before the program; he shares the purpose of nominating with his team member along with stating expectations.

Post that he follows up informally during the workshop by checking his progress and later makes the learner accountable to apply the learning's by giving opportunities in job situation and ensuring he makes this as a part of his regular review. Manager plays an important role in ensuring learning sticks if managers don’t play this role than there is a high chance that learner can get off the path of learning. The role of the Learner follows thereafter.

The Learner should attend the session with stellar focus and ensure he completes all the pre and post activities of the program. It becomes easier for the Learner to embrace learning if the environment promotes development.

To keep the Learner motivated organizations often give incentives such as certificates or make such interventions a pre-qualifier for higher roles in the organization which go a long way in motivating the Learner to stay focused on his development.

HR needs to brand the intervention and manage the communication rightly across the organization so that people at various levels in the organization can relate to the higher objective of the program. It should ensure that the various stakeholders understand their respective roles and responsibilities clearly so that they can work seamlessly to help achieve the desired outcome.    

Some of the key questions HR need’s to think about

  • Is the initiative aimed at the most critical needs of the organization?

  • Have stakeholders made accountable to the process?

  • Is the solution being implemented well?

  • Have steps been taken to ensure that it will endure in the organization?

  • Has the business benefitted from the changes the initiative brought?

While these ideas just begin to scratch the surface, I would like to leave you with some tools and templates that you can experiment and implement immediately. Download DDI’s Sustainability Toolkit that you can use—and let me know how they work for you!

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