Capitalise on Learning at Work Week – quick before it’s too late!

Having written about how Learning at Work Week might just be a one trick pony for some organisations I thought I would check out what people were tweeting about during #LAWW. Be warned – searching on that hashtag will seriously impact your productivity!

The bottom line is there were many people celebrating the success of their people, plenty patting themselves on the back for a year well done, and many, many more just sharing their personal learning.

As I love a story so much it was like a banquet for me. I was inspired, motivated and learnt quite a few new things – learning at work in action no less.

What struck me was that there were a number of common themes that seemed to capture my interest and turn that interest into action, and in reality, that is all we are ever trying to do when we are engaging with our learners in the workplace.  When I talked with my marketing colleagues about that experience they explained that actually there were some key marketing tactics being employed, albeit unknowingly in most of the examples I had reacted to.

So what where those tactics?

The absolute number one, which I talk about constantly, was storytelling. What was particularly interesting during Learning at Work Week, was that those stories almost always included –

The back story – where I was in my life, where we were in our organisational story

The final straw – the actual motivational factor that moved me to action, or meant that our organisation would bite the bullet and take action

The learning itself – how it suited me, how it matched my needs, how the learning journey resonated with me

The outcome or result – what I did with that learning and how it fed back into my story and moved me from where I was to where I am now

There were personal stories, organisational stories and industry specific stories. All different, all inspiring. But how can you encourage more stories from your learners, to inspire and motivate others?

Know your audience and know their needs – what was talked about for apprentices, health and safety, leadership and management or health and beauty were different but relevant to those audiences.  If you want to engage with your learners then you need to know your audience and you need to find out what is important to them – some tricks I picked up were:

Check out Amazon – at first I was confused, how might Amazon help to know your audience? But actually, if you look at what your learners are interested in – say Leadership or health and safety and read some of the reviews you get real insights into what concerns them, what they were hoping for and what they need

Check out Twitter – use hashtags to search and look at the top influencers, then check out where they get the most engagement, that will highlight your learners biggest concerns and interest

Ask them – are you in a queue for coffee, or waiting for a bus with other colleagues? Take the opportunity to ask them how their day way, what frustrated them, and what would make it better – get into the habit of asking. Obviously use focus groups too but for real raw data – the queue is the place to find it!

When you know your audience the way you engage with them is more potent, more personal and more motivating.

What is the key message?  The whole point of Learning at Work Week is to promote the key ethos of learning at work, but what is your message, why is that important to your organisation and, just as importantly, why should that be important to your learners? Having key messages that only link to the organisations needs will not fully engage all your learners, it needs to link to their needs also.

Don’t let Learning at Work Week be a one trick pony. Build on the momentum and keep telling those stories.

About the author – Stephanie Morgan:

Stephanie has extensive experience in Learning and Development and is passionate about helping people thrive in an ever changing world!  One particular passion is helping individuals progress their careers to board level. Stephanie believes that learning is at the core of becoming a great leader.

Connect with Stephanie on Twitter @stephanieLandD

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