Top Learning and Development Mistakes to Avoid

Top Learning and Development Mistakes to Avoid
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Learning and Development Mistakes
Corporate Learning and Development has come a long way but still has far to go.  We’ve learned that there is such a thing as the “forgetting curve” that tells us that if new information isn’t applied, 75% of it will be forgotten in only six days.  And despite spending almost $360 billion (yes, with a “b”) globally on corporate training, most learning and development functions struggle to change on-the-job behavior and performance.

According to Gartner, 24×7 Learning, and McKinsey:

  • Almost three-quarters of employees don’t believe they have mastered the skills they need to do their jobs
  • Only 12% of learners apply the skills from corporate training back on-the-job
  • Only 25% feel that the training they receive makes a measurable difference in the on-the-job performance

Where’s the Training Disconnect?
For organizations and employees to realize the full value of corporate training, they must connect two common “disconnects” related to the transfer of skills and knowledge that occur between learning and results.

The first disconnect is related to a lack of business relevance and occurs when the training has little applicability to key business priorities that your target audience, their bosses, and the company’s leaders care about.  The second disconnect occurs when participants are unable to consistently apply the new skills and knowledge on-the-job while receiving performance coaching.

Top Learning and Development Mistakes to Avoid
To make your investment in training and development worthwhile and aligned with your business and talent strategies, avoid designing misaligned training strategies or delivering training that is:

  • Untimely
    To be effective, training should occur as close as possible to when the new skills and knowledge will be used. While this sounds like a no-brainer, you would be surprised how often companies train interviewers months before they need to interview a new candidate, or train presenters months before they need to give an important presentation.

    This is a mistake; most skills will be lost if employees cannot apply them immediately.

  • Too Content-Rich
    Not all skills are of equal importance to each person, team, or organization. You’d be surprised how many L&D practitioners cram communication, problem-solving, decision making, time management, delegation, work load management, goal setting, coaching, giving feedback, etc. into new manager training and overwhelm their newly promoted people managers.

    This is a mistake.  Invest the time required to do a proper training needs assessment to identify what matters most for your unique situation.

  • Too Generic
    If generic and off-the-shelf training actually worked, more than 12% of learners would apply the skills from corporate training back on-the-job. To increase skill adoption and impact, customize learning to meet specific individual, team, and corporate objectives that matter.

    Personalized, customized training reaches each employee where it counts.

  • “One and Done”
    Training events do not change behavior or performance. Our research found that only 1-in-5 training participants change their on-the-job behavior from standalone training events — even if the instructional design is sound.

    If you want to create skill adoption and impact, treat training as a change initiative, not a one-time training event.

The Bottom Line
If you want to get the most out of your Learning and Development investments, ensure that training has direct relevancy to employees’ jobs and to the priorities of the business.  Then make sure that you do not fall into any of the above traps that hinder effective behavior change and limit performance improvement.

To learn more about how to avoid L&D mistakes, download Top 10 Training Function Warning Signs You May Be in Trouble

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