Thursday, April 29, 2010

LSG Webinar: Making an impact – tricks for grabbing management attention

Today's liveblogged notes are a recap of the Learning and Skills Group webinar by Laura Overton of Towards Maturity. Laura is one of the UK's leading consultants in the elearning space and is widely renowned for her work with Towards Maturity - an independent, not for profit organisation with a passion for helping others to improve the impact of learning technologies at  work. The topic was about how learning consultants can maximise management attention on their programs.

"Practical stuff backed with hard facts...", was how Don Taylor introduced the topic. The agenda of the webinar was to cover off some points from the list below:
  • How we create managerial indifference!
  • Why estimating benefits always sells you short
  • Reporting on impact not activity - why complex ROI methodology is unnecessary
  • How to use the Impact Indicator findings in your organisation
  • Tricks for tackling managerial indifference
We've all heard stuff like:
  • Training is not my job!
  • Elearning isn't real work!
  • My manager won't give me the time!
  • This is just not a priority right now!
  • You want to spend how much?!
Audio was very choppy today, so my notes are patchy as well.

What are the top tips for managerial indifference?

Often the things that we do are the ones that cause management to be indifferent to the things do. IMO, use of the word 'social' is one of these as is not using their language as is the lack of communication linked to making real performance change. Here are Laura's top 5:
  1. Make sure it's not relevant
  2. Do as much possible to imitate past bad experiences
  3. Never talk about business outcomes
  4. Only focus on cost savings
  5. Alternatively don't talk to them at all!
There's a comprehensive list here.

Why is it important to grab managers attention

"55% learners say their line managers opinion is most likely to influence their elearning uptake." This is based on Laura's research. The way to grab attention however is to create value -- managers need to know that learning technologies will actually generate value.

There are heaps of case studies on Towards Maturity to help create your business case. A picture of possible success is more likely to get traction than pure imagination. "Leave the cost benefits in the business case and promote the benefits in operational efficiency and flexible training such as reductions in travel trainer and time costs." ,said one participant.

3 Impact indicators:
  • Efficiency
    • Cost, Volume, Time
  • Business Agility
    • Time to competence
    • Ability to respond to business need
    • Business responsiveness to change.
  • Management perception of value
    • How do we measure?
    • report?

Efficiency

"There's no point delivering more learning for less cost faster if all we're doing is rubbish."
This said, effficiency indicators look good. People are reporting time cost and volume savings! Obviously, saved costs mean that you have more time and money to spend elsewhere. That said, if the quality of learning isn't great, it only accentuates your problems because you're now just creating problems at a much greater speed.

As it turns out most people don't seem to do simple cost benefits of the use learning technology. Only 29% of Laura's participants do this. The cost benefit calculation is perhaps quite siple.

Business Agility

69% report faster time to competence
59% report improvement ability to implement changes faster.

This has got to be a great case to make with management.

There are a host of other benefits:
  • reach of learning
  • efficiency with compliance
  • satisfaction/ engagement
  • customer satisfaction
  • organisational productivity
  • qualifications
  • revenue increase
The results however seemed mixed and my guess is that it'll be useful to look at the Towards Maturity case studies to find out what succeeds in the success stories.

Management Perception

Unfortunately, we don't communicate very well if productivity, efficiency and time to competence has improved significantly.
Most people report the following - % of staff uptake, efficiency in demonstrating a skill and staff satisfaction. That said, other measures such as productivity, revenue, customer satisfaction don't necessarily get address. I guess this is because it's not easy to measure, but oh well!

That said, it's not all about ROI! Case studies, podcasts, social networks, surveys and talking to managers really can help capture our success quite well.

If people come and say good things, try capturing it on audio for podcasts or in a document, for a case study! Great advice for bottom up cultures.

Tips for tackling managerial indifference - the 5 C's

  • Cultivate relationships and ask questions
  • Cut out the jargon
  • Calculate the basic efficiency benefits. (convert  features into benefits)
  • Confirm your own impact indicators
  • Capture and communicate your successes
Here's some interesting stuff from the Towards Maturity evidence for change campaign that can help actually show some of the value that we are gunning for.

13 comments:

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