Why Learning and Development needs to be more than just ticking a box

Busy executives are increasingly drawn to finding “quick fixes” for organisational problems. Unfortunately, when it comes to developing people, there are no quick fixes. Human beings are complex and behaviour change is difficult.

Increasing the wellbeing and productivity of employees requires real time and effort.

In our most recent episode of the Cred Podcast, we interviewed John McDonald, the CEO of ProActive Resolutions. He has over 30 years of experience working with organisations to build respectful workplaces and manage conflict more effectively. He explains:

“There's a lot of ‘tick the box’ in the people area of business. It's unusual for decision makers in organisations to pay anywhere near as much attention to how their people behave with each other as they do to the more technical and financial aspects of the business. When they do pay attention, it is often in response to an internal survey or census exercise that tells them staff are not engaged, or not committed to the organisation. We kind of sit up and take notice for a short period of time and get our HR people or learning and development people to come in and do some training or hire someone else to do the training so we can tick the box. Our experience is that every organisation and business succeeds or fails based on how well we all work together. It's astonishing then how little effort and commitment is put in to that aspect of the workplace. And like I said, when the effort is put in, it's often half-hearted and not sufficiently resourced”

John’s experience echoes our own. One-off training initiatives very rarely lead to any lasting change. In fact, they can often do more harm than good. Many employees can become very cynical after being involved in multiple initiatives and not seeing any real progress.

Organisations might be able to save a lot of money and time by avoiding box-ticking initiatives altogether.

Alternatively, if organisations really want to develop their people, they need to invest the necessary time and resources. No single training workshop, coaching session, e-learning course, or mobile app is going to do the trick.

The best organisations have smart, comprehensive, and long-term approaches to learning and development. That’s the only way to see real results.