Love is in the air this week. And this has got us wondering - can you improve your L&D training outcomes with a fiscal roll in the hay or should you be more loved up and committed - less a Tinder date and more Love Actually? With a few more weeks to go until the new financial year, how will you be using your (hopefully) shiny new budget to show the ones that you work with that you love them? At Laughology, we think there’s a lot to be learnt from St Valentine’s Day.
According to Wikipedia, a billion cards are sent on Valentine’s day. Assuming that most of these costs more than a quid and knowing that the big padded ones cost several times that, it’s safe to say that we spend over two billion pounds on cards worldwide - which we don’t even sign!
And that’s before we buy pressies, M&S meals for two and a bottle of plonk. Apparently, the average Londoner spends £86 on Valentine’s gifts. But why?
Some people enjoy the cloak of anonymity provided by Valentine’s day, perhaps to pursue an unattainable or unrequited love. Others are looking for a night or two of passion or, if they’ve got a smaller budget, a quick roll in the hay. But the majority of us, it seems, want something more; a long-term relationship; possibly a lifetime commitment and that’s why we invest so heavily - both financially and emotionally.
So, how does this link to the way in which you allocate your training budget and develop your staff? Quite simply a one-off training day is great and can boost morale, get a smile on people’s faces and have a small impact. Like a bunch of flowers or a card. However a long terms strategy is better, will have greater impact and sustain a longer, stronger relationship between you and your employees.
Laughology works with schools, businesses and organisations, both nationally and internationally. Sometimes we are booked to facilitate one-off sessions. These are delivered in a fun way, providing a great introduction and food for thought, on topics such as Growth Mindset, Being Solution Focused Through Flip It Thinking and Wellbeing.
Much like a bouquet of roses, people love, appreciate and speak highly of these events at the time. For them to have a lasting impact and not wither away, we know that it helps to have a strategy in place. Applying what one has learned is where 80% of learning takes place. It is using the skills and knowledge within the work environment that makes the learning stick, causing a behaviour change that produces desired results. This depends on leadership support and coaching. So, spending a bit more money on ensuring leaders and managers have the right skills to support encourage and coach will create a greater impact as well as a sustained approach. Furthermore, having change champions who are experts in the desired new behaviours and who can follow up and regularly, refer to the learning and support managers in setting up action learning sets can help. And if they are confident to deliver further in-house training on the back of the sessions and hold people to account with their commitments that they have made, then that’s a strong model. Using something like our Laughology learning impact sheets can support this learning too.
Champions are also a great support for workplaces that are going through extensive change. In recent years, we are seeing more return business and ongoing projects than ever before. Leaders are realising that it takes time and ongoing support, to develop their people. Especially if they are going to bring about realistic cultural and behavioural change, with new ways of thinking, behaving and working.
Before embarking on any change initiative or programme, it might be helpful to find out some information first. This way you can really understand what you to spend your money and the impact it will have on your relationship’s ion the organisation. Here’s’ some helpful questions to ask:
- Do I know the changes, their impact, rationale and benefits?
- Could I explain them to anyone I work with?
- Do I believe the change is worthwhile?
- How will the change impacting existing workload?
- How can I communicate the need for change, the first steps, how people will be supported, and when we have achieved quick wins?
- Are there other parallel projects that will have an impact on the changes I’m managing?
- Can we combine forces and integrate plans and communication?
- What changes will happen and when?
- Can I stagger the impact or combine time sensibly to lessen the impact?
- Do leaders know their responsibilities and the commitment expectations?
- Has change successfully occurred in these groups in the past?
- Can we learn from what did or did not work well?
- What level of trust exists between groups and how can this be improved?
- When is communication necessary?
- How can I make the messages clear, interesting, and engaging?
Understanding these questions, will help you form a long-term plan which may consist of:
- Fact-finding activities, such as initial staff surveys or chats with focus groups.
- Sessions for the leadership team or early adopter departments.
- A whole company launch event, to share the vision and aims of the programme.
- Training for all staff, over a period of time, with opportunity for learning to be taken back to the day job and embedded.
- Other support, possibly in the form of evaluations, cheat sheets and online learning such as webinars and short film clips.
Unlike a one off valentine’s card we like to build a long term relationship with our learning partners, in doing so we know we can really make a difference.
If you fancy a quick roll in the hay, with a keynote speech or a workshop, we’re always up for that. And you don’t even have to buy us roses.
And if you want to spread the love, develop your staff teams to be even better and create a happier, more successful organisation, we’d be very interested in having a longer term, more intense relationship with you.
Happy Valentine’s day!
With love, hugs and smiles from Laughology xx
Sarah is an ex-headteacher and a natural with children and loves learning from them, except when they set her swimming challenges, which one of her pupils did once, in the hope she’d drown.