Monday, May 02, 2005

Focussing on Learning

Personal development. Developing their people. Helping them learning. Helping them help themselves and each other to learn. Oh, and a bit of training.

Yes, training comes last and rightly too. Training is useful, but for many things it's one of the worst ways of helping the organisation learn. Training these days is pretty commoditised. Few providers offer anything different, well maybe apart from The Mind Gym.

Face it, your employees like training because it gets them out of the office, and they don't really like that. It is also pretty tangible - 'I had this issue so I went on a course'. Easy to measure.

Oh, and HR provides training. 'If one of my team needs to develop I can offload it to HR' - bingo (if it doesn't work it's all HR's fault)

Let's refocus this. It's not an 'HR issue' it's a business issue, and that is where is should sit. No, not booking training courses but delivering the organisation's learning.

So what does the HR provide? Well it should be encouraging things to happen. How about setting up a few interdepartmental workshops? Get them talking to each other. How about influencing the communications agenda? It's not the CEO preaching that makes people listen, it's about conversations. HR is usually number 1 or 2 user of internal comms so has a good place to start.

Why doesn't everyone use the intranet? Because it's not easy to find what you want or is explained like you want to say it, not how they want to hear it. Bring in folksonomies, put information on wikis where they can question and update. Use blogs, RSS feeds - give them the choice to publish what they're doing and listen to who they want to. Ever considered that this might raise their engagement? There is probably an inverse relationship between your control and their interest.

It's not about big programmes. it's about starting small 'learning fires' - little, easy to implement local initiatives - and then watching them fan the flames.