L&D Digest

89% of Spanish companies deem training vital, Learner Personas and measuring the ROI of soft skills.


L&D Digest is your monthly rundown of the most important L&D news from European and global Learning and Development sources.

L&D Digest for November 2020 brings to you some positive news from Spain. The general attitude to L&D in organizations is very positive. The vast majority, according to a Cegos study, considers training vital in the current climate. Get to know how to create learner personas and measure the ROI of soft skills. French portal Culture RH gives some advice to HR how to assist the employee in development. Also in this edition: create policies that would allow for better inclusion of transgender persons and more.

89% of Spanish companies deem training vital to overcome the current crisis

A Cegos study Descodificando el futuro del aprendizaje en la era postconfinamiento cited by RR.HH Digital reveals that 89% of Spanish companies deam training vital to overcome the current crisis and thus continue investing in training. 

59% of Spanish companies suggested they are going to train in the digital form during the rest of 2020. The other 24% will use blended formats, with the majority of digital training.

The topics of the training revolve around soft skills, mostly leadership and personal development. 61% of companies will use them.

Inside this group 24% will invest in upskilling their teams. The other 65% will reduce investments in this area, but they will not get rid of training as they consider it essential. Only 11% of Spanish companies consider suspending training activities.

Using Learner Personas for Empathy-Driven Training

How to design a truly personalized learner experience (LX)? “With empathy” says Debra Jensen. But to do that, you really need to get to know them. A helpful tool here is one that product and marketing folks have known for some time already – the personas.

A learner persona also includes background information, goals, and pain points as well as job functions, learning preferences, and attitudes.

What are the benefits of using learner personas? They ensure that L&D content designers are making decisions based off learners’ perspectives instead of their own. Additionally, considering the persona’s needs can help come up with better training strategies that will touch upon a wider range of learning styles. It also helps create more relevant messaging and finally – design with empathy. 

How to construct a persona?

Use data from your LMS and/or TMS. You can also gather qualitative data from interviews with learners or online surveys.

It is recommended to create 2 or 3 personas per project to ensure that you’re addressing multiple needs and evaluating training through multiple perspectives.

Design engaging training with us throughout the entire talent life cycle.

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How to measure the ROI of Soft Skills

Is it even possible to measure the ROI of something as seemingly hard to measure as soft skills? The SHRM team comes to the rescue and teaches us how.

It is a five-step process.

1. Start with Why

To determine the ROI of soft skills, you need to start with the evidence of need. Business need. So basically start with where you want to finish. 

It is frequent that companies invest in skills like agility or empathy with little knowledge of their tangible impacts. Ensuring the solution drives the business measure—a critical role for the gatekeepers of new programs—may just involve a performance discussion.

2. Plan for the Results

The next step entails defining the desired outcomes and business impacts and, when implementing a new solution, developing objectives. Objectives are set at each level of outcome: Reaction (i.e., how participants and others react to the program); Learning; Application; Impact; and ROI (if the ROI calculation is planned).

It is of vital importance to engage the stakeholders. When the expectations are explained properly, stakeholders, including participants, will usually step up to their responsibilities and take the journey to impact and ROI.

3. Collect Data

It is possible to collect data even when it comes to soft skills.

When it comes to application (behavior change), the data collection methods to use may include observation, focus groups, interviews, performance reviews, customer feedback and surveys of both the individual and stakeholders. For example, as part of a leadership development program for new supervisors, capture data via 360-degree feedback either from interviews or a survey, as well as more formal performance data.

As you have the KPIs set from step 2, you can asses against them.

4. Analyze the Data

To prove the impact to the business, you can use the benefit-cost ratio (BCR) and the ROI:

BCR = Program Benefits / Program Costs

ROI (%) = (Program Benefits – Program Costs X 100) / Program Costs   

5. Communicate and Use the Data to Optimize the ROI

Communicate the results to the proper audiences, with the program’s sponsors—most often executives—at the top of the list. Also, use the data to improve the programs, essentially optimizing their ROI. That, in turn, improves the case for continuing to fund them. Because many executives see soft skills as a cost and not an investment, this type of analysis shows them the opposite: that soft skills are indeed an investment, calculated the same way a CFO would calculate the ROI for a building or other investment.

Companies are relying more and more on psychometric tests

In early November The Economist looked at psychometric tests. According to the weekly magazine, this tool is increasingly used in recruitment.

Charles Johnson, who has been creating psychometric tests for 40 years, says they are very useful in recruiting highly skilled workers. Candidates for low-skilled positions, on the other hand, can quickly become bored in their jobs when they are very cognitive.

The results from the frequently used in recruitment the Big Five personality model, are often surprising. Introverts turn out to be the best train drivers because they pay attention to what many people consider to be details, i.e. safety procedures. They also handle spending long periods of time alone well. Extroverts on the other hand are not necessarily the best call center employees if they like to spend a lot of time on unintended conversations with customers. According to occupational psychologist Steve Fletcher, the most desirable feature of people who work in customer service is assertiveness. Thanks to them they are more productive – they can have more conversations in less time.  

Psychometric tests, as Charles Johnson says, can be useful. But only in combination with aptitude tests and detailed recruitment interviews. 

A better workplace for Transgender, Gender-Fluid, Nonbinary, and Gender-Nonconforming Employees 

According to Harvard Business Review, the perception of gender in society is changing. But jobs are not keeping pace with demographic and cultural change. The magazine claims that better procedures can be used to address this. It is helpful here to interpret the company’s policy against discrimination in such a way that it can be truly fought. One example is the use of such terms when addressing a person as they wish. It is also worth reviewing your recruitment process for transgender people. HBR suggests that you ask during the process how the candidate defines themselves in terms of gender. If there is a dress code in your organization, you can rephrase it to focus more on the functionality of the dress. For example: “clothing should not impede lifting a 20-kilogram package”. You can also make the transition period easier for employees. HR can present a transition coming-out plan for the employee, although not everything can be planned. An empathic and individual approach is of utmost importance here.

How can HR support employees with their choice of professional development?

The French portal Culture RH reports that 88% of HR directors and representatives think that the possibilities in their work increased during the last 3 years and that their function has become more strategic (76%). 

According to the authors, 4 new skills have become vital for HR: supporting digitalization, keep talent retention high, predict which skills should become obsolete and help with workplace burn-out and disappointment. 

The development of hard skills and soft skills, has therefore become the central subject.

Understanding coworker’s needs

The needs of employees are diverse but can be addressed through these 4 sets of objectives:

  • To solve internal or external problems and dysfunctions
  • Accompanying change or career development projects
  • Develop new skills in the face of changing market or professions
  • adapt to the cultural changes of the company

The classic method: The annual interview

It can be carried out during the annual interview with the employee’s manager. They will revise the objectives set one year earlier, listed in the previous year’s follow-up document.

They analyze successes and failures and set new objectives for the coming year. Then, in front of the objectives listed, the means that will be necessary to meet them must be specified. Among these means, training must of course be considered.

The development of the Employee Skills Plan

The folders of training allow to have a clear idea of the educational contents, duration and costs.

When certain projects are more complex, they require specific service providers who will offer quotes for the employee’s personalized needs.

Assisting in the choice of Training Courses

Depending on the employee’s objective, the cost and the pedagogical content of the training, the training manager can choose among several forms:

  • a “catalog action” purchased from a training organization: calibrated but less customized
  • an “intra” training: it is a question of adapting a catalog training or creating a customized training for the company which will be able to serve the collective and manage team problems.
  • remote training: practical but not always possible depending on the training methods (role-playing, role-playing situations, etc.).
  • training organized internally, by the company’s employees working in their area of expertise: this reduces the cost of the action, and the transmission of internal knowledge.

We will support you in planning oout the Employee Development Journey

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Will you or do you use learner personas? Do you think the attitude to L&D is as positive in your country as it is in Spain? Do you have feedback for L&D Digest for November 2020 or suggestions for the next L&D Digest? Drop us an email!

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