Last time, we explored the 70/20/10 model for employee development that suggests that:
- 70% of learning should consist of informal, on-the-job activities that happen right in the workflow — things like projects, team roles, and stretch assignments. This is frequently referred to as "experience".
- 20% of learning should happen through others, including coaching, mentoring, job shadowing and networking — also know as "exposure".
- Only 10% of learning should be reserved for "education" — traditional formal instruction, workshops, university programs, webinars and the like.
Yet, even organizations that are striking the illusive 70/20/10 balance continue to report less than exemplary results. 70% + 20% + 10% doesn’t necessarily add up to 100% of desired learning and performance success. Something in the equation is missing.
A few more Es that contribute to effective employee development
Before experience, exposure and education (the traditional 3 Es) can take hold, you need to address a few additional Es.
E is for expectations and employee engagement
You also need clear expectations and engagement. Engaging employees is essential to optimizing the return on an organization’s investment in learning. That’s where we left off last time.
E is for execution
When it comes to education (workshops, classes and formal training), execution is generally far more sound than in less formal learning modes. Learning through experience and exposure is frequently ad hoc, left to chance, with little structure. And we wonder why it doesn’t deliver the anticipated results!
All learning benefits from:
- A compelling business and personal case
- Concrete objectives and a clear purpose
- A plan for how new skills/knowledge will be applied
- Proper resources, tools, and support
- Milestones and check-ins to ensure that progress is being made
Orchestrating the details and executing well enhances results.
E is for evaluation
And yet, it’s what happens after training that makes the greatest difference in terms of transfer of learning and use of new skills and knowledge on the job. Many organizations spend as much on training as they do on equipment. Yet, with physical assets like new machinery, there’s almost always an effort to measure the return on this investment. Not so with training.
The next ‘E’, evaluation, operates on two levels. First, it’s essential to assess the effectiveness of the learning intervention. Methods vary from gathering participant reactions to testing their learning to recording behavior change to measuring bottom line impact. This information is critical to being able to refine approaches and continuously improve the quality the training provided.
But equally important are the mental processes participants use to evaluate and incorporate what’s been learned. The importance of this reflective loop cannot be overstated. Yet, it’s one of the most overlooked dimensions of learning.
Think about it. Frequently workshops run long and what gets short-changed? Reflection and action planning! And in experience- and exposure-based learning, this sort of focus on collecting insights and setting intentions for their use is rarely even considered.
Want to see infinitely greater results when employees engage in training? It’s as simple as having their managers follow up with one simple question: What did you learn?
In today’s pressure-cooker of a workplace, people run from experience to experience, rarely pausing to reflect and integrate insights… before moving on to the next task before them. A short three to five minute conversation after training communicates the importance of learning and creates the space for insights and intentions to transform themselves into new practices on the job.
E is for embedding new skills into performance
When the other Es become part of the learning landscape, individuals begin to embed new skills into their daily performance… and organizations can embed new, higher standards throughout the organization. This elevates expectations and creates an upward spiral or virtuous circle of effectiveness and performance.
Make it easier to get the most out of employee development initiatives
Education, exposure, and experience are really just the tip of the learning iceberg. Include a few more Es and you’re well on your way to making it ‘E’asier to make the most of your training efforts.
Your turn… what do you do to make it ‘E’asier to get training results?