An informed and engaged workforce is key to success for every learning program you are driving: be it for your sales force or your consulting community. However, most often learning programs are failing at a very early stage of the process due to lack of awareness and acceptance. This is where a comprehensive change management and communication approach come into place. Once you succeed in the awareness and acceptance phase, your target group will take action and adopt your learning program.
The four phases awareness, acceptance, action and adoption are the four key ingredients of your learning program and describe the desired outcome as well as the respective level of commitment. But what do they actually mean?
Creating awareness is the very starting point within your change management and communication journey. In this phase you are making sure your respective target group is aware of a certain learning program. Awareness can be reached through various communication channels such as newsletters, portal banners, or campaigns. For all those activities you should always keep in mind engaging early with your three main stakeholder groups: decision makers, program owners and change agents. Especially, decision makers and change agents play a vital role during the communication journey as they highly impacting the awareness level within your target group, whether be it through first line mangers’ or direct managers’ communication.
With this approach in mind you will successfully reach the next stage within your change management approach: creating acceptance. Acceptance for a respective learning program is key to make people act and adopt a learning initiative. Most likely, with a generic communication approach, indicating your target group should take care of your learning program, you won’t reach the desired outcome and anticipated level of commitment. At this point you need to incorporate a certain level of “enforcement”, meaning change agents and/or managers need to outline the importance of this training program, providing insights on the strategic imperatives why it is important and connecting it to a comprehensive KPI approach.
Once you have reached the level of acceptance, your target group will take action, executing on your learning program. During this phase, you should constantly align with your main stakeholder group (see above) and track the success of the program (e.g. how many colleagues have taken the training and/or passed an assessment). Also work on a re-enforcement strategy, provide follow-up communication strategy packages to your management which they can use as follow up communication.
During the adoption phase, regularly follow up with your target groups via personal interaction, interviews, or simply feedback surveys. It is important to constantly doing a pulse check, getting feedback from your target audience, on the value and impact of your learning program, receiving potential ideas how to improve learning content further.
What are your personal experiences with regards to employees’ level of commitment within your learning program? Do you follow a similar approach? Looking forward hearing back from you.