Human capital as a competitive differentiator is moving up the agenda in boardrooms around the world. As those with P&L responsibility scrutinize talent development strategies, they’re asking questions.

And, there’s much to question. COVID accelerated the enterprise shift to online learning, but also increased confusion. The world is awash with talent development strategies and learning content; asking the right questions to separate the wheat from the chaff is imperative, particularly in thinking about the behavioural aspects of team development.

Business leaders should step up to the role of being the “Grit in the Oyster” and ask the right questions.

The first question to ask is:

“How are we getting our people ready for Change, indeed Constant Change?”

Leaders articulate desires for their workforces to be Adaptable, Collaborative, Inclusive, Curious, and better at Critical Thinking & Innovation. These cognitive and behavioural skills are the need of the hour as companies compete to out-think their competition and lead their market with new products and services.

Three other questions to ask are:

What do I mean by Learning? What are the Behavioural Outcomes I want to achieve?

Learning is an overused term, often equated to activity and access to learning content instead of outcomes. Ask what are the daily attributes, mindset and behavioural traits I want to see my people exhibit and how do I train them to get them to that standard?

To train effectively requires “intention” and “engagement” with “repetition” over time so learning “sticks”. All proven cognitive science about how adults learn reinforces this; am I considering the learning science when I choose my learning strategy?

How do I know if I have achieved those Outcomes? How will I have the data to show the training I’m signing off on has improved my business?

Measurement of business outcomes whether it be revenue, profitability or employee churn is crucial and yet most corporate training lacks meaningful measurement. Vanity metrics such as “content viewed” or “courses completed” are meaningless if you want to effectively train a workforce to improve business performance. Is your chosen option providing measurement of the outcomes from that training in delivering behaviours and mindsets that are improving the business?

How can I train 100% of my team or workforce?

How can I ensure that all of my team or workforce complete the training? A professional football team, an infantry battalion, a medical or legal team are all expected as professionals to complete 100% of the structured training set to enable them to be professionals and yet the average completion rate of enterprise online learning across white collar workforces is a paltry 5-15%.  Implementing a training strategy where 100% of a team or workforce gets trained should be the norm not the exception.

At HARDSKILLS, we are privileged to work with clients that have set a high bar for what they want out of their cognitive and behavioural training. Developing behaviours such as Critical Thinking, Agility, Collaboration and an Inclusive mindset that “Stick” is really hard to do. But, it can be done with the right approach and intentionality. It can be Effective, Measurable and Scalable.

Start with asking the right questions when making decisions about your talent development strategy. Be the “Grit in the Oyster.”