Business Leader , Insync Blogs , | 2020/09/30 at 9:02am

Adoption and learning are ongoing, evolving processes that cannot be confined to a one-hour workshop

The year 2020 has thrown us all into a spin. Whether dealing with long lockdowns and sharing your workspace with your five-year-old, or being forced to rethink your entire business processes, it is fair to say we have all learned something. 

Learning and developing is a core component of any workforce. Businesses experience a huge amount of change during their lifecycles, and employees are generally expected to adapt and grow with each modification. Recently, there has been a general shift in how staff learn, with many organisations opting for self-managed learning journeys. The expectation that this can deliver the necessary education however, is flawed.  

“Self-managed learning relies on motivation. Staff are often expected to find time in a busy schedule, so they need to be highly motivated to complete it. In addition, self-managed learning journeys generally rely on pre-packaged tools and information which do not address specific learning needs. This can lead to disgruntled staff, a lack of confidence and an overall impact on productivity,” says Megan Strant, Principal Consultant – Adoption and Change Management at Insync Technology.  

So how do you ensure that your staff are learning and being equipped for the information and support they need?  

Understand where your staff sit in the ‘learning pit’  

The theory of the learning pit is that in order to learn, we first need to be thrown into, what is essentially, a pit of despair. By facing a challenge, staff identify that they may not have the knowledge and competency needed to complete it. This can have a knock-on effect with confidence and a willingness to jump in and give it a go.  

“Managed, ongoing learning means you have specialists standing by, ready to help staff climb out of the pit. In the case of technology and workplace computing, we do this by having staff touch and try the tools and ask questions as they go,” says Megan.  

By getting hands-on with a tool and having time to absorb information, staff are more likely to adopt and use it in their work life. According to Megan, this is because they have transitioned through the learning pit, from unconscious incompetence, to being consciously incompetent and ultimately consciously competent.  

“It’s important we consider all stages of the learning pit, because incompetence makes staff feel silly and stupid, it leads to embarrassment. This is a blocker for learning and so your adoption and change management needs to address this,” adds Megan.  

To allow staff to become competent, it is important to provide psychological safety by setting realistic goals and timeframes on how something is learned.  

Consider the anchors your staff need in order to learn  

In order to provide the guidance needed to help your employees through the learning pit, organisations should consider the information being delivered and the format of it.  

“At Insync, we want to provide anchors for staff that make it easier to remember information. We do this by focussing on the relevance of the content and how it is presented. We provide creative visual content and hands-on demonstrations and we repeat any components needed to continually reinforce behaviour,” says Megan.  

Putting structure around learning also ensures staff continuously move forward and stops their learning from stagnating. This is especially important if the learning is around workplace computing as the systems and tools are constantly evolving. Staff who may have received Microsoft training in 2017 can’t be expected to be consciously competent in a Microsoft environment in 2020.  

Realise learning isn’t a project with an end date 

For Megan, one of the key issues with self-managed learning is the perception that training is something that has a clear end date. Employee learning should in fact be an ongoing process, driven not only by product releases, but inhouse pains and challenges.  

For this to happen, seeking and listening to staff feedback is crucial. Learning has to be collaborative and include those with their ear to the ground and hands on the tools, as well as managers and leaders.  

“When it comes to learning, the people using the tools should have a voice. What struggles are they having, what goals should they be working towards? By driving learning programmes based on pains rather than product releases, you will prevent frustration and increase adoption,” notes Megan.  

Switch to managed learning 

Revising how you implement learning and development requires a shift in mindset. Professor Edgar Schein said back in 1955 “my own thinking has evolved from theorising about ‘planned change’ to thinking about such processes more as ‘managed learning.”   

To assist businesses in making the shift, Insync Technology is launching M365 Manage. The solution encompasses planning, governance and adoption and change management for organisations working in Microsoft 365.  

“Before we can address learning, we first embed ourselves in an organisation in order to understand what it is like to work there and how they use their platforms. Then we set goals and immediately focus on quick wins, because we know this builds confidence,” says Megan.  

By looking at the specifics of each organisation, Megan believes real, long lasting change can be implemented, and business leaders can be confident their staff are consciously competent.  

To find out more about Insync Technology’s M365 Manage, contact the team today