I work with many companies, many of whom seem to think there is a holy grail to learner engagement. They tell me how hard it is, how lethargic and apathetic their learners are to learning and generally bemoan their lot.
When I probe a bit deeper, I often come up with the same old reasons as to why their learners don’t engage, but are they just smokescreens and excuses? Check for yourself now, and make sure you are not falling for any of these excuses:
- “My Line Manager doesn’t support the learning”
I have yet to meet a line manager who would not give their eyeteeth to ensure their people were really developed and achieving peak performance. If Line Managers are not supporting learning you have to ask yourself how good that learning is. Perhaps you need to revamp or reinvent your offering.
- “I’m too busy to get away for learning”
Of course people claim they are too busy, no doubt they are. After all, we wouldn’t have a job if there was not a job to do. But does your culture support that view? Is it acceptable to be too busy, or could you put some value and kudos on making time to learn, making people feel that being able to ensure they can plan in learning means they are more valuable to the business than those who don’t?
- “I am already skilled”
If that were true, we would have reached utopia. Having people who have just the right skill level to do their role is what we are actually aspiring to, so it is hard to believe that people are already skilled enough. In sales speak that is a false objection, they probably mean “I don’t want to admit I am not skilled enough”, or “I don’t want to get outside of my comfort zone to learn and try to apply something new”. Start challenging people to find out what they really mean and support them to take advantage of the learning on offer.
- “It’s not the right learning for me”
Of course it is true to an extent that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. When you have learners with so many different needs, one size won’t fit all. That just means that you need to vary your solutions, build learning journeys and have a range (or blend) of solutions, with something for the beginner through to something for a seasoned practitioner.
- “It won’t help me in my role”
Sometimes people cannot see the relevance to the learning on offer and how that could possibly help them. It is our job to make those connections. A brilliant idea one of my customers employs is by using simple, closed rhetorical questions placed on posters around the business. For example, in the lift there is one that says – ‘How did that meeting go, get the outcomes you wanted? No? Then consider our Influencing skills programme’. Simple but really effective. If they cannot see the relevance then we really need to help them make those links, and if there are no links to make then you really are delivering the wrong learning!!
Sales and marketing really is at the heart of learner engagement. People are moving so quickly they don’t have time to join up the dots themselves, we have to help them.
You will always encounter excuses when trying to engage learners. It’s inevitable that not everyone will be engaged all of the time, but through creating a culture where your learners actively seek out learning and development for themselves, you will be much better placed to gain the trust and engagement of the majority of your people.
One of my recent blogs, Embrace your inner marketer to engage your learners, gives you the first steps to take to begin introducing engagement into your culture.
Want to know more about delivering learning that your people can’t get enough of? Get in touch with us today to find out more.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.
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