Hello, everyone. You may have noticed I’ve been gone for awhile, but I spent my summer being treated for cancer — Hodgkin’s lymphoma to be exact.
It’s been a real eye opener, going into the clinic and spending six to eight hours each week receiving infusions and dealing with different side effects. I received a list of common side effects and symptoms. But they forgot to provide the solutions, some of which were quite simple. The result: self-induced anxiety and over complicated solutions, multiple unnecessary trips to the doctor, exhaustive and occasionally dodgy Internet searches and several emergency room visits in the middle of the night.
It really got me thinking about how organizations approach learning for their people. How many times have you found yourself learning something you should have learned much sooner? How many times have employees in your organization experienced this?
Most organizations are not as proactive about learning as they need to be. Yet, with the technology available today, they have the capability to be. Many learning functions publish a list of learning services and then sit back and wait for people to sign up rather than letting them know what and when they need different offerings. True, some new hire orientation programs and certain programs for high potentials are proactively offered, but little else. The result: stumbling, bumbling, frustration, rustication and who knows what else — all at a significant cost to employee engagement and organizational capability.
Organizations should provide symptoms and then solutions for their employees in addition to skills and career maps. The symptoms list or better yet the symptoms online resource center, can be a place to turn for answers that have been vetted to align with the organization. The solutions can come from a multitude of both informal and formal learning resources.
However, this is not enough. In our digitally savvy society, we need a solution that assigns when assignments need to be made, proactively pushing learning before it is needed, and can identify solutions when employee identify their symptoms.
For instance, a leader might say: “I have a difficult employee who is argumentative with others and not keeping timely commitments.”
The symptoms: direct report, argumentative, does not keep commitments. The right system would read and interpret the symptoms, and then provide immediate suggestions and a list of resources to turn to. These resources might include the phone number of the HR business partner who can help, a help desk with qualified coaches, virtual learning nuggets and a sample role-play discussion thread to have with the employee. It might even let the leader put the question to a group to crowdsource the answer.
I called “Ask a Nurse” and got: “We are experiencing higher than average wait times. The average weight time is 30 minutes.” It led to anxiety, bewilderment, another unnecessary trip to the hospital and time and money spent unnecessarily.
Are your people learning what they need to know before they need it or as they need it? Or, are the people in your organization spending more time and resources than necessary to find solutions as and when they need them?
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