Over the years I’ve seen many a well-intentioned people development initiative end up with mediocre results. What’s worse is that there is very little Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Efforts (ROE). This is my conclusion after working with over 23,000 participants and over 100 organizations.
It’s not just about the participants alone! It’s all about the Eco-System! And this includes the 2 sets of people who don’t even attend the development programs themselves viz. the Senders and the Payers.
So let’s look at the various elements of the eco-system.
- Sender : the managers, supervisors and leaders who send their people into the development programs. What are their needs and expectations? What insights can they provide into the business context and future demands that the business will make? What is it going to take to make these people eager to support the development effort? Their support is critical while designing the intervention; else, we may end up with them unintentionally sabotaging the impact.
- Payer : the people who provide the budgets and who have expectations around the strategic competencies and development areas needed for the future. What kind of return do they expect from any people related initiatives? How can it mesh / obstruct other development efforts that are concurrently being pursued?
- Participant : the people who actually attend the programs. What do they expect and why? What kind of baggage are they likely to carry with them to the program? Are they coming in as Hostages, Vacationers, Socializers or Learners? Further, sometimes, they may be unable to clearly see their own needs and it might help getting inputs from a level up and down while understanding the needs.
If all these are addressed, the deadly Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting sets in. As many of you know, Hermann Ebbinghaus, during his experimental investigations of memory, discovered that our ability to recall information shows a rapid decrease over a very short space of time. After just a few hours, more than 60% of information is lost. This is a frightening thought! So even if everything has gone off well, the natural human trait of forgetting will wipe out all efforts – unless of course this is factored into the development initiative as well.
Additionally, the facilitator and the development methodology adds another dimension into this picture. Is it based on Adult learning principles? Is it designed to factor in the short attention spans that participants invariably have? Is it an enjoyable experience? Is it relevant to the participant’s context?
As you can see, this is a process and not an event. And unless your people development initiatives have the rigour that is needed for visible change, they will end up as great experiences that don’t deliver any ROI / ROE. So, after working with over 23,000 participants and over 100 organisations,
I’ve developed a dynamic model that addresses your ROI / ROE on people development efforts. This Model is grounded in Appreciative Inquiry & Coaching and I call it The ChangeThatStays Model. It is a model that combines an understanding of how people learn best with processes that accelerate learning like personalisation, application & retention. It is a model that focuses on getting results that impacts your business positively.
Here are the details –
Engage with the various stakeholders – Business Head, HR / L&D and participants to get a fix on the following:
1.Intent – why is this initiative important? Understand explicit and implicit needs.
2.Expected Outcomes – Result areas like competencies, behaviour, values, etc.
3.Involvement – is there a compelling reason for the target audience to change? What could it be? What is the extent of support that stakeholders
can provide and can be sought?
Design a customised intervention along with key stake holders that:
1.Prioritises 2 – 3 key competencies / skill’s that can have dis-proportionate ROI.
2.Factors current organisation culture and leverages support from stake- holders.
3.Crystallises milestones and support structures like reviews & platforms to measure impact on business.
Putting participants through a facilitator-led but participant-centred ‘LearningLab’ experience that:
1.Introduces them to concepts & tools & helps them apply and personalise the experience through interactive, challenging, reflective & insightful
simulations and de-briefs.
2.Builds on strengths rather than attempts repairing weaknesses, thereby significantly impacting the ‘stickiness quotient’.
Embed: (1 or both options from below)
Go beyond the exposure stage to build new habits:
1.On-the-job application assignments to help apply learning at work.
2.1-on-1 / Group Coaching / Peer Learning sessions that are essentially immersive experiences combined with individual reflection and guided
mentoring / coaching . This is all about integrating small experiments with feedback loops from the Coach / Mentor.
The focus, as you can see, is always on what will help demonstrate visible change.
So what next? A no-obligation exploratory conversation could be a starting point. Please connect at firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you.
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