How to introduce your new training solution to the company
If you’re about to implement a new training platform, you’ll have already invested time and energy researching and trialling options. You may also have had to present the strategic benefit to other stakeholders in order to secure budget and buy-in. With all that taken care of, it’s all downhill from here, right?
Well hopefully, yes. While an investment in employee skills and culture should be an exciting time, there are pitfalls to avoid and best practices you should follow to build engagement and maximise the value everyone gets from your new training solution.
This guide to rolling out your new skills platform covers some things you may wish to consider before you go full steam ahead, from building initial momentum to reporting on success.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
· Resistance you might face
· 5 steps to successfully launch your new training platform
· A sample communications plan
(Including sample text you can adapt)
Resistance you might face
Before we go any further, let’s address the elephant in the room. It’s unlikely that everyone will be as keen on a new training solution as you might like them to be. The reactions to a new platform (as is the case with anything new) will most likely range from eager to curious to sceptical and finally, to outright Resistant.
This is normal and can be managed with a 2-pronged approach;
· Public praise of those who are engaging will encourage the curious (and later the sceptical) to follow suit. This is especially true if you can point to the personal and professional benefits being enjoyed by those who have engaged.
· Privately work to reduce barriers or areas of resistance. Keep in mind that resistance is normally innocent and can often be overcome with a little individual guidance. The good news is that when you can get a resistor to engage, they can end up being your most powerful advocates when it comes to creating a long-term culture of growth.
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the drivers of resistance, and how you can manage those who fall into each category:
Resistor type 1: Change-resistant
Most likely to say: “Why do we need this?”
Actually concerned about: Losing control and fear of the unknown or of failure. This often prompts employees to view change in the workplace as negative and unnecessary.
Win them over by: Asking them to be amongst the first to provide feedback and make them feel like part of the launch.
Resistor type 2: L&D sceptic
Most likely to say: “I’ve seen it all before” or “it’s waste of time”
Actually concerned about: Having experienced lots of different training approaches (not all of them successful) in their time with your company or in previous jobs, they might see the platform as “just another HR tool they need to log into.”
Win them over by: Showing them that the platform and content you have invested in is modern, stylish, and bitesize. Ask them to be open-minded and give it a fair chance.
Resistor Persona No.3: Tech-tentative
Most likely to say: “What’s wrong with PowerPoint?”
Actually concerned about: Either doesn’t trust new technologies or is worried about how they will be perceived if they can’t use a technology that everyone else can. They may look to deflect the issue away from themselves by exaggerating or blaming unrelated ‘issues’.
Win them over by: You need to help them to see how simple it is for themselves. Once they see how easy it can be, this group can quickly turn into powerful advocates to other users.
Resistor Persona No.4: Target-focused
Most likely to say: “I don’t have time for this”
Actually concerned about: Maybe there is a bit of an ego thing going on here but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Busy managers with tight targets and deadlines might be reluctant to take time out of their packed schedule to engage with new training tools.
Win them over by: Sharing case studies of similar organizations who’ve become more efficient after adopting a new training platform. If you’re using Training Sensei to replace some training which would otherwise have been face-to-face, you can point to this to show that you’re actually saving them time.
Resistor Persona No.5: ROI-driven leaders
Most likely to say: “Still to be convinced”
Actually concerned about: You may have won approval and budget for this initial rollout, but there could still be senior managers who’re unsure about the value of an ongoing investment.
Win them over by: Providing targets, post-launch statistics, and user feedback.
Having identified and defined your key personas, you can directly target each one and address their concerns.
5 steps to successfully launching your new platform
Launching a training platform presents opportunities for the company and everyone in it to develop and grow. You know that, so now you need to make sure everyone else does too.
1. Talk to your dedicated success partner
Establish a relationship with your success partner and you’ll have access to our expertise whenever you need it. There’s no substitute for having someone on hand who’s seen it all before. They will understand your objectives, explore ideas with you, share what has worked elsewhere before, and help avoid any potential pitfalls.
Our success partners are here to proactively help you get the most from the platform. They will save you time and help you to showcase the benefits to other stakeholders.
2. Plan your communications
A small number of well-considered communications should do most of the heavy lifting for you. The four key aims of your communications should:
• address ignorance
• provoke interest
• drive and retain engagement
• communicate success
With Training Sensei there is very little setup time. Having said that, the earlier you start communicating the better. We’ve included a suggested communications timeline and some example text at the end of this guide.
3. Set objectives
You may wish to identify some specific and measurable targets that would be deemed a success by you and other stakeholders. For example:
• get X number of people to have completed a single course by Y date
• have a total of X number of courses completed by Y date
Share this information with your success partner who will be able to help sense-check that the targets are achievable and can work with you to help you achieve them.
4. Start training – your first month
It can be tempting to try to do too much too soon to encourage engagement. Training Sensei’s built-in events and features use the latest L&D methodologies to encourage engagement so we generally advise letting this play out for a month or 2 to get a baseline of the activity levels.
Additional rewards such as a monthly prize are generally a good idea but remember that it’s easier to give the odd incentives (when they are likely to have the desired impact) than it is to make them the norm straight away.
After a month you will have a good barometer of overall level of engagement as well as a picture of which individuals look like your power users, and who needs further encouragement.
By month 2 you can start to leverage and respond to real activity data, giving you a few more cards to play.
5. Measure, share, and respond to activity data
Publishing summary data (or at least publicly praising those who have engaged the most) can be a subtle way to show that activity is being reviewed at a senior level.
This is also a good opportunity to think about tailoring the learning individuals have access to. This can help create a sense of control and ownership, particularly with those who have been most resistant to getting on board so far. It’s difficult to credibly answer the question ‘what would you like to learn more about’ with ‘nothing’.
Something else to consider at this stage is whether to create a team of ‘super users’. This group of ambassadors can (formally or otherwise) help engage colleagues who sit somewhere between passively curious or weary to engage further.
Peer-to-peer endorsement is like gold dust. When learners show their colleagues how they are using the platform, it’s more powerful than you telling them they should use it.
After 3-6 months you should start to see patterns emerging at an individual level. For example, you might uncover that an individual has a tendency toward completing challenges on Leadership, which can provide a focus for your 1:1 discussions or performance reviews.
If your employees feel forced to use it, they’ll probably view their entire training as a chore. The key to a successful rollout, therefore, is to create sufficient intrigue that most people will check out the platform out of sheer curiosity in the first instance.
Once they have done a course or 2 you will have significantly reduced barriers to further engagement. This approach is far more likely to cultivate a learning culture in the long term, which permeates throughout the team.
Whilst it absolutely pays to invest time in creating the right 2 or 3 pre-launch messages, don’t spend too much time trying to plan for every eventuality. Instead, let the built-in engagement mechanisms do their thing and put some time aside to review activity after the first month.
If engagement is lower or higher (yes, that’s a thing) than you’d like, then know that your dedicated success partner is on hand to help.
All things considered, if the rollout is concisely and enthusiastically communicated then you should expect a successful rollout of your new training platform.