• Thilak Iyer

The Learning Challenge

Are your Learning programs working? Are you getting the right ROI from your learning programs?

At the end of every learning program workshops, the participants invariably feel highly energized and applaud the program. The attendees mostly feel that the topics that were discussed were so much applicable to their work and would start planning how they would benefit from the program.

However, the real data is much more humbling. Consider this (based on a recent work from HBR):

Only 12% of employees apply new skills learned in L&D programs to their jobs
The attendees forget 75% of topics covered in just 6 days.

Today, particularly during the pandemic, the organizational spend on Learning & Development has been at the peak. Organizations are pouring in millions to keep their employees relevant. However, organizations are struggling with the learning outcomes and learning ROI. Another McKinsey study found that just 25% of the participants go on to implement any of the concepts they learnt in the learning programs.

With much of experimentation, we have come up with following key aspects that has helped us improve “Learning Retention” and “Learning Implementation” by over 60% (measured in terms of number of participants in specific programs who have implemented bulk of the learning over the next 90 days).

So, what are we doing that possibly works:

Use it, or Lose it: We all know that all learning will be lost if we don’t apply immediately. So, we work with the leadership participants to come up with a focused short-term plan that spans across 30-60-90-days – with specific activities in each of the segments. The leaders choose their areas of focus and devise SMART goals and activities spanning across the 90-days. Such a plan ensures that the concepts are implemented on real-life work scenarios and not theoretical in nature.

Consultative Coaching: When leaders go through the workshops they are very much involved and learn by applying concepts during the workshops. After the workshops are over, once they prepare the 30-60-90-day plans, they go-ahead and want to implement. However, once the rubber hits the road, a whole raft of doubts and inconsistent understanding appear. The leaders also get sucked into their day job with little time left to implement the plan.

The Coaching sessions help to clear doubts and remove knowledge impediments. The “Consultative” part of coaching enables co-creation of solutions. The sessions also helps in creating time from their otherwise busy schedule.

Both the plan and consultative coaching are critical aspects of post-program implementation that ensures that not only the knowledge is retained but it is also implemented appropriately.

Individual Needs in a collective program: While each of the programs during the workshop mode is collective in nature, the individual expectations and learning pace should not be ignored. As an important part of learning programs, we meet with each of the leadership participants individually to understand them, understand their expectations and their needs.

It is extremely important that each of the leaders has walked into the program with a willingness to learn and apply; and possesses the right level of experience and exposure. Many times, we have been required to turn down leaders who did not possess the attitude to learn or was not playing a role that would leverage the learnings. There has to be buyin from the participants who should become clear about whats-in-it-for-me.

Clarity of Learning outcomes: Before jumping into the program head-on, it is extremely important that all stakeholders are completely clear and fully onboarded on learning outcomes. And the stakeholders include the leaders who are participating in the program and not just the program sponsors.

The above key aspects have clearly enabled us to help achieve better learning outcomes and learning retention. Of course, not all we tried led to improvement in these parameters and we had to drop them along the way. While these have helped us to achieve significant improvement in these parameters, we continue to delve deeper and conduct many micro-experimentations and measure outcomes.

Watch this space.

If you would like to learn more or provide feedback please reach out to us at hello@effilor.com.

You can look at some of our impact stories at Effilor.com/impact.