To ensure better adoption of L&D programs and higher participation in L&D offerings it is important that the product portfolio is strong on relevance, quality of content, and the value of offerings. These are the focus areas for most L&D Managers.
Organisations that pride themselves in people focus and talent development focus are also strong on their processes of training need identification, training delivery etc. If they have the budget they may have a robust product portfolio as well – thus giving employees access to an elaborate learning suite, e-learning programs, class room programs etc.
One of the key challenges everywhere, however remains – poor participation in L&D initiatives by the employees.
There could be lots of reasons for the same and some may vary with organisations, however one of the reasons clearly is – a poorly implemented communication. Normally the communication tool in use by most L&D managers is a simple e-mail to the employees or to the managers announcing a training initiative seeking participation.
Well this is not enough in most cases. While this gives an one off information and supports the awareness agenda in a way – it is also important that the employees (internal customers for L&D offerings) see value in offerings. Employees need to relate to the value that the L&D offerings create for them i.e – to help them with their personal development, to help them with their work place performance etc., to help them learn new skills etc. The question remains – What’s in it for me ?
Employee awareness on L&D offerings and positioning of L&D portfolio is as crucial as the quality of programs, and content. A well-crafted communication strategy should look at the audience, the product portfolio, the message, the medium and the timings for the communication.
Some guidelines for planning an effective communication strategy for your L&D function:
- Review the L&D products portfolio, and their target audience. You may explore in depth based on levels, business division, department etc.
- Establish communication requirements for various L&D offerings, e-learning, blended learning, m-learning , class room programs, open programs, university programs etc.
- Connect with a sample of employees across departments, levels to get their perspectives & expectations on L&D communication. Identify need and communication requirements for various employee groups – based on department, location, accessibility, level, role etc.
- Incorporate factors that may ensure that the communication strategy – focuses on reaching out to the right audience, product positioning, branding for enhanced usage & participation by intended audience.
- Identify and recommend approaches to reinforce a message by alternative mediums, follow up communication, etc.
- Identify / recommend appropriate medium / tools for reaching out to desired audience depending on message / L&D offerings etc. Identify appropriate tools & technology to ensure impact of communication leading to better adoption, participation and usage of L&D portfolio. (Example: E Mail, Print Newsletters, SMS, Intranet, Marketing Collaterals, Posters, Brochures, and other communication tools / platforms.)
- Establish Roles of various stake holders to support the communication strategy & plan. The stake holders may be from within the organization or may be vendors / partners.
Based on the above you should be able to outline a well meaning Communication Strategy for L&D function that would ensure better awareness, better adoption, and higher usage of L&D offerings. Now, you can create a time bound plan to ensure on going communication, product oriented communication etc.
© Praveen Mishra, 2014