busting 6 myths around L&D programs

With the millennials increasingly joining the workforce, expectations from learning and development programs are changing. As a generation, millenials are a technically savvy lot. They expect personalization and an element of surprise in everything that is offered to them. Clearly, the need for a fresh approach to talent development has never been more pressing. But before embarking on the journey to devise new ways of learning, here are 6 myths that training leaders must take note of.

Myth 1: Developing the right learning programs depends on the ability to detect the right needs 

Reality: Effective learning outcomes are a result of a wider perspective that includes the company’s culture both at organizational and team level. Such an approach helps L&D leaders understand the formal and informal objectives that training fulfils. A smart learning agenda therefore strives to address the ‘psychological safety needs’ of people by giving them the confidence that an organization’s L&D efforts will make them resilient even in volatile markets.

Myth 2: Training needs analysis is only for identifying requirements and launching programs 

Reality: Training needs analysis improves performance temporarily. For a sustained impact, learning professionals need to strike a long term connect with learners for their current as well as future needs. Learning leaders are, in fact, performance partners. They help employees diagnose reasons that stop them from realizing their potential and suggest relevant learning solutions for today and tomorrow.

Myth 3: Learning and development is a cost center and has nothing to do with business strategy 

Reality: Learning is a strategic effort to accelerate performance which ultimately impacts the business. The key is to identify the correlation between training and business value creation. Assessing where learning figures in the organization’s strategic game plan can help L&D leaders revisit training in a whole new light.

Myth 4: Leadership training is only for managers

Reality: This notion is narrow and disregards the developmental needs of potential individual contributors who are critical for business. Leadership development begins with self-awareness about the skills one needs to be able to lead a high performance team. Leadership skills are relevant across the organization. They create a vibrant leadership pipeline by building a ready pool of front line leaders who can be hired internally.

Myth 5: Open spaces strike better engagement and informal learning 

Reality: Research findings in the Journal of Environmental Psychology contradict this thinking. While staff interactions are recurrent, most of them are brief and perfunctory due to lack of privacy. Informal learnings occur as co-workers seek help from their colleagues. But shuffling between helping and attending to their own work can result in employees suffering from "cognitive load," due to the need to constantly reorient themselves towards their own tasks. 

Myth 6: Technology alone can change performance management

Reality: At best, technologies like artificial intelligence or data science help make performance management a more efficient process.  To create real value, human acumen remains indispensable. Any organization that believes that talent can be nurtured, needs to closely observe its people, and be aware of their evolution during their tenure with the company. It takes human capabilities to recognize the patterns involved in employee journey and identify the right spots where learning interventions can help.
 
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