How to enable a successful L&D program

When it comes to technology, be realistic about what you want to achieve, reminds this regional HRD

How to enable a successful L&D program

Just like everything else tech-related, the pandemic has accelerated learning for organisations. Ariel Woo, regional head of people COE, Asia Pacific at Allianz recalled how pick up was ‘really slow’ when they first rolled out a new L&D initiative across the region sometime back in 2018.

Fast forward to today, and especially during lockdown periods, even the most resistant employees were approaching HR to find out ‘what’s new’ to learn. “You can really see the change in how people view content,” she told HRD.

“People continue to crave learning. They want to learn and they’ve now realised that they don’t have to be in a face to face setting to learn. There are also all these technologies enabling their learning. And maybe because they are now forced to work from home and have to rely on technology, it becomes less daunting to touch new technology.”

Read more: Can technology enable an inclusive L&D experience?

Woo will be on a panel at HRD’s upcoming virtual L&D Asia Summit on April 8, where she’ll share insights on choosing the right learning tech to meet your employee and business needs. In her current role, she leads in various areas, including talent management and L&D across 10 countries. Coupled with over a decade of experience heading L&D transformations through her career, she definitely knows a thing or two about digitalising processes to improve the employee experience.

When choosing technology, she told us that you should always work out a clear strategy and business goals before picking a new platform or program. This can help you through the process of getting leadership buy in, the right budget, and eventually the results you want out of a costly investment.

“Some mistakes that we see when organisations choose L&D tech is the technology is not aligned with strategy,” she said. “I mean it’s difficult to look at long term, especially when it comes to technology. But you need to be very realistic. Consider a midterm plan of about five years. Even when you look at upskilling and strategic workforce planning, it’s always a timeline of about five years.

“To avoid choosing the wrong tech, you should be very realistic about what kind of [platform] you need and be prepared that technology will change. It also helps to have a partner that has the vision and foresight and somebody that you can work together with on a longer term.”

Read more: Your L&D initiatives may be missing this vital element

Above all, while having the right tech is important, she reminded that the main and most difficult part of leadership’s job when rolling out a new initiative is change management. Technology is just a “small part” of the entire experience.

“If something doesn’t work, you can always troubleshoot it,” she said. “But the whole change management around adoption, engagement and continuous usage of the tech is much more important.”

The experienced L&D leader shared practical advice for HRDs aiming to implement a successful program.

“Set your medium-term learning strategy first so you know what you are trying to achieve,” she said. “Then choose an L&D technology partner who will help you achieve your strategy, and be able to support you both technically and in the engagement. Keep in mind that you will not be able to have everything when it comes to technology, so be realistic about what you want to achieve.” Click here to join the upcoming exclusive discussion around all things L&D.

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