In order to deliver more value, Learning & Development organizations should adapt from supporting learning in a “push” environment to supporting learning in a “pull” environment. For our book we are exploring what we can learn from successful startups. This includes some of the new competencies required of a L&D team in order to deliver unmistakable value. One of these new competencies is marketing. In a world where learners are often pulling support from sources like YouTube or other resources on the web, L&D needs to ensure that its solutions have the attention of its learners too.
Historically, organizational learning was pushed to learners via compliance requirements, development plans and corporate-wide initiatives. Today’s environment requires L&D to make its solutions desirable for learners to pull. This means more than having another table in the cafeteria or sending out another email. For learners to want to pull L&D’s solutions they, like any consumer, must see that the value outweighs the cost. Time is money to employees, managers and executives alike. They will decide where to spend it.
This shift requires L&D to look at all aspects of its solutions and the tools they use to ensure that they are both relevant to the business and appealing to learners. Everything from the descriptions in the LMS to the structure of the solutions themselves will need to be reconsidered. The low utilization rates for elearning catalogs, frequently available to all employees on demand, are a solid proof point that more than access is needed for learning solutions to to be “pulled” by the learners that need it.
We do not see marketing as a necessary evil. Rather we see it as a required value creator. L&D is doing a disservice to its customers if the higher quality learning solution does not win the battle for the learner’s investment. Salespeople are known to say that you do not sell something. Rather, you help the customer buy the right solution. L&D has to get better at helping its learners buy smarter. Today L&D is trying to come up to speed on new technologies, data and more. As learning professionals, we are being asked to learn a lot of new tricks. But learning is what we do best, right?