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Delivering results - practical ideas to increase stakeholder engagement

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DateFebruary 22, 2011 Posted by: Laura Overton   Keywords: Conference roundup, involving managers, learner engagement, managing change, marketing

Event roundup updated April 2011 

Delivering results with learning technologies – getting there faster and smarter

The first joint Towards Maturity in association with the British Institute for Learning and Development (the BILD)- Delivering results with learning technologies – getting there faster and smarter was held on the 12th of April and led by Laura Overton. 

This interactive session drew on research with over 1200 organisations and practical case studies to investigate how to avoid costly mistakes that lead to obscurity and fast track your way to success. Delegates were provided with specific resources to help:

  • Increase buy in for new learning approaches
  • Market effectively to learners and managers

It was fitting that the event which helped participants aim high in delivering results, was hosted by WSP  who are  a global design engineering and management consultancy company behind the creation of iconic structures such as The Shard, London, World Trade Centre, New York and the Zayed Museum, Abu Dhabi!

Here we provide a quick overview for those unable to attend on the day!

What implementation practices influence results?

The highly interactive session drew on Towards Maturity’s extensive longitudinal research.   Towards Maturity have identified 6 workstreams of implementation practices that really make a difference. Compared with the bottom quartile, those organisations in the top quartile of these practices are achieving:

  • Twice the audience take-up
  • 33% additional cost savings
  • 50% more savings in study time
  • 6 times decrease in time to proven competency

Each of the 6 workstreams involve engaging key stakeholders, however research has shown that many organisations struggle to get buy in and as a consequence fail to deliver the results they are looking for.

This seminar specifically provided an interactive process to help delegates conduct a stakeholder mapping exercise to increase effectiveness and engagement.

The exercises throughout the day usedinduction/onboarding programme as an example but could be applied for any new initiative. The session focussed on marketing and communication rather than design which is also a critical component for success.

Here are just a few of the steps in the stakeholder mapping process:

Clarify opportunities and potential objections

Understand the barriers and opportunities relevant to your organisation - knowing what you want to achieve and the obstacles you are up against is important for success. The table discussions provided some really interesting feedback; what were regarded as opportunities could, in a slightly different context, also be seen as barriers.  For example, taking a ‘Martini’ approach of anytime anywhere learning, could be seen by some members of staff as being a negative experience; as rather than being given time off to undertake learning, people were expected to learn in their own time.  Whilst social media and informal approaches open up lots of new routes to learning, they can also give rise to their own challenges.  Social media channels are often blocked by the organisation and senior management don’t always trust informal learning as a reliable as by its very nature it’s not easy to control.

Identifying key stakeholders that will influences success

Influential stakeholders will help organisations realise the benefits and also overcome the barriers. The group identified a number of stakeholders who would influence the success of induction programmes include including the HR function, Finance Managers, the SMT, the Learners, Line Managers, IT staff. All of these would have an interest in the learning programme but all would be looking for different results. 

Wanting different outcomes was not the only difference between stakeholders, each stakeholder also held a slightly different position in terms of power and influence within the organisation as well as interest in learning process. Therefore, although carrying out a stakeholder mapping exercise is a key step to successful engagement; it’s only the first step.

Understanding stakeholder motivation

A one size fits all engagement strategy would definitely not fit all. Groups were asked to put themselves into the shoes of the different stakeholders to identify, in terms organisation or individual performance levels, what would be keeping them awake at night?  We quickly came to the conclusion that it was not going to be training or technologies. For example:

  • Learners are most likely to be concerned about how can I get noticed quickly in my new organisation, how can I settle in and be more confident
  • Managers are most likely to be concerned about their Key Performance indicators e.g. profit and loss, turnover, targets, career progression, service levels, quality targets, sales etc. A key message was that these will vary from business to business – find out yours!

Clarifying stakeholder communication  - the 'What’s In It for Me'?

Looking at opportunities and barriers from the perspective of different groups of stakeholders allowed delegates to develop a short ‘elevator pitch’ that was targeted, succinct and far more likely to lead to successful engagement.

Does your current messaging resonate with your audience?

Delegates were encouraged to review current communications messaging in line with the new messages developed that are directly aligned to stakeholder motivation – this simple exercise identified a number of gaps that could be closed. 

Key learning points:

  • dentify the opportunities and barriers that learning technologies can offer our organisation? – don’t be surprised if some things fit into both categories, it’s all a matter of perspective.
  • Know and understand your stakeholders, what power/influence do they have within the organisation? Are the stakeholders interested in the learning outcomes and if they are, what is their interest? What is keeping your stakeholders awake at night - what are their needs?
  • Map the opportunities and benefits that the learning programme will bring against stakeholder requirements - Identify the WIFM that is significant to them and communicate it to them in language they will understand.

Full resources from the day including examples, case studies, templates and exercises are available for free for premium users of the Towards Maturity Benchmark Centre.

About the Towards Maturity Benchmark Centre

The Towards Maturity online benchmark centre applies everything we know about good practice to provide organisations with personal practical time saving advice. It takes you through a 3 step continuous improvement process to build unique snapshot of your organisation that helps you take the best action to delivers business benefits.

Basic users will receive the following for free:

  • A standard report outlining:
  • Your performance indicators across the 6 workstreams and where you compare with the top quartile performers and the average of the group.
  • Your own Towards Maturity Index* (TMI) - a snapshot assessment of your current level of implementation maturity to compare against top quartile organisations and the average.
  • Feedback on where you stand on each of the 6 Towards Maturity workstreams compared with others

If you want to receive personal practical time saving advice including all the resources that were distributed prior to and following the workshop, we recommend that you register as a Premium User.  In addition to the basic service you will also receive:

  • A detailed implementation report providing you with feedback against 19 specific activity areas within the model to help you fine tune your action plan.
  • Tailored recommendations on actions to take for each activity area to help accelerate performance together with targeted resources to help you get there.
  • An action planner to help you outline objectives and gather resources together to improve in each activity area.
  • Detailed templates ,hints and tips and how to guides to support action.
  • The opportunity to download your action planner to help support your internal planning
  • The opportunity to retake the benchmark and compare results up to 6 times in a year to help monitor progress.

To register login here.  For a limited time we are offering an introductory discount to this new service.  If you would like more details, we would love to hear from you on elearning@towardsmaturity.org
 

Also do complete our minipoll.

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