Learning New Skills at Work Is Complicated

brain diagram for Learning New Skills at Work

Learning New Skills at Work is Not Easy
When you want to upgrade the skills of your workforce, know from the beginning that learning new skills at work is complicated.  Unfortunately most new work skills are not acquired by simply reading or observing others; you cannot become a pro golfer by devouring all the books on the subject or watching tournaments on TV.

And surprisingly to many, learning new skills at work does not happen by attending one-time training programs.  Based upon measuring over 800 training programs, our research shows that only 1-in-5 participants on average change their behavior and performance from training alone.  Behavior and performance change takes alignment, commitment, desire, feedback, practice and reinforcement.

Begin the Learning Process Right
If you are interested in learning new skills at work, treat the process like a change initiative, not a learning event.  That means starting with high levels of relevance to the (1) business, (2) the participants and (3) their bosses.  We call this 3X Relevance.  Without it, do not expect more than 20% of your target audience to proficiently apply the new skills on the job.

Before launching a training program designed to build new work skills, you need all key stakeholders on board.  All three levels of stakeholders must believe that it is in their own best interests to invest the time and energy to learn the new work skills compared to all the other priorities on their plate.  You need to build a compelling story around how the new skills will help each individual, their team and, ultimately, the organization as a whole.

Break It Down Into Micro Behaviors
Once your business case for learning is clear and agreed to by your key stakeholders, your next step is to break down the desired skills into the micro behaviors that tie directly to your desired performance outcomes.  For example, to learn how to hit a winning serve in tennis, you need to:

  • Have the proper stance
  • Use the appropriate grip technique
  • Toss the ball correctly
  • Coil, bend your knees, and swing the racquet to gather energy and gain power
  • Hit the ball at the peak
  • Follow through

Create a New Habit with Micro Behaviors
New behaviors create new performance results when they become habits.  The best way to create new habits is to pair a behavior with a cue and then practice them over and over.  For example, let’s say you decided that team meetings needed to be more effective.

  • The first skill to be learned might be preparing an agenda.
  • The cue would be the scheduling of a meeting.
  • The micro behavior would be itemizing the agenda.

Then spend the first portion of your next meeting, revising and refining it with meeting attendees.  If you follow this process for each new meeting, you’ll soon need far less time to put it together; the behavior will become routine.

Next you can perhaps focus on meeting facilitation skills – how to keep on topic, how to handle conflict, how to stay on time, how to encourage open exchange of ideas, etc.  One skill will build upon another and soon your meetings will be far more productive.

The Bottom Line
Learning new skills at work is a process that requires building new habits that are relevant to the participants, their bosses and the organization as a whole.  To make a difference, focus time, energy and resources on doing it right – with cues associated with behaviors that add up to skills that become habits and that matter.

To learn more about learning new skills at work, download How to Transfer of Skills and Knowledge from Training to the Job

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Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.

Sarah Parks
Senior Project Manager

Hyperion

We recently contacted LSA Global to assist us with a unique training request. We gave LSA a very short deadline and LSA custom designed a training program to meet our exact requirements within the limited time allotted to them. We found their facilitator to be well versed in the subject matter and very credible; the design provided practical and valuable information to our team of managers. I highly recommend LSA Global, particularly in the area of management training.

Julaine K. Souza
Senior Vice President

I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.

Phyllis Moracco
HR Director

The Managing Virtual Teams program was extremely valuable. Your consultant/ facilitator’s fundamental knowledge of Synopsys as a company provided an incredible base to build upon while tackling the complications of managing and working with globally distributed teams. My team walked away walked away with highly useful practices and tools. It was an excellent use of our time.

Debra Martucci
Vice President, Information Technology

The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.

John Mastrorilli
FRDP Leader

Intuit

We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.

Mary Johnston
HR Manager, BU Radiology Informatics

We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager

On behalf of Roche and my staff I would like to sincerely thank you for your help with this. The English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment and coaching that you provided for our team was a great success.

Cam Greig
Associate Director

Roche

We engaged LSA to design and deliver a 6-month custom executive coaching program for a group of our key leaders. The focus of the program was to help a core group of senior leaders to leverage previous investments in management training, to ensure the engagement and retention of key employees, and to push critical strategic initiatives forward. Even with the high expectations of our senior people, LSA has completely exceeded our expectations. I would recommend them to anyone looking to create and implement a custom coaching methodology using proven tools to drive true change.

Ivan Fukumoto
Senior HR Manager - Staffing, Training, & Development

SeaTel has found our partnership with LSA Global to be very valuable and beneficial. We turned to LSA to customize a supervisory/leadership solution to meet our needs. LSA delivered a customized top quality solution. I’d recommend LSA Global to any company looking for a best-in-class training and consulting partner.

Kortney Riddle
HR Manager

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

I am very impressed with the quality of work and talent. LSA did a great job of listening to my needs and providing the exact management training program expertise I needed to get the job done.

Don Pryor
Director, Business Planning & Analysis

Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

Susan Anderson
Workforce Planning Bureau

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