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Learning to take responsibility

Alisia Hobbs, Head of Training

Having reviewed the feedback of the recent Roc Search staff survey, some of the results got me thinking about the way we deliver training. As Head of Training at Roc Search, it’s my job to ensure we deliver training that meets the needs of the business but primarily, the needs of the individual.

We’ve all known for a while that the way training used to be delivered, and how it was when I started my career, has changed, for the better. The days of being stuck in a classroom for eight or nine hours at a time are long gone. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat that allow for ‘instant’ sharing of pictures and messages have shaped the way people want to consume content. Not to mention artificial intelligence and machine learning which will further revolutionise the ‘personalised’ learning landscape.  

It’s up to us as L&D professionals to take note and listen to what employees are telling us. It was one of the key sections in our recent staff survey and it should always be an ongoing and open dialogue with staff. What we want to people’s views on the best training methods for our people. They when, how, where, when scenario.

By the way, never make assumptions about Generations X, Y, or Z – these are just letters – you’d be very surprised at some of the answers we get and by who!

Getting the right mix

I think that the consensus among most L&D experts is that a blended approach to learning is the smartest option. The big benefit of using an e-learning platform, for example, is that the learner can access the materials as and when they want. They have the flexibility to run the courses when it best fits into their work schedule.

What is essential to e-learning’s success is that it lets people take responsibility for their learning. At Roc, we don’t believe in always dragging people into training rooms, we want them to do their own research and take ownership of their training. They will learn much so much more when it’s done on their own terms. And it’s down to me and my team to deliver and anticipate future training requirements.

We make sure that the first part of our new starters’ training can be fully completed by e-learning. In this way, by week eight, they already have a clear understanding of the job and our company – we’ve just shown them how to get there. We’ve also found that 45-minute training bites, which we run three times a week, add the most value. A quick burst of learning works wonders.

Teacher training

Before you think I’ve gone e-learning barmy, I’m still a big advocate of classroom training. We know that this form of training is highly effective – if you think of schools, teacher contact is so important. You wouldn’t dream of having kids sit in a front of computer all day. The same applies to corporate learning – the classroom is an environment everyone is familiar with. Also, it isn’t as easy discuss, debate and learn from each other on a laptop!   

There are also some skills that are better taught in a ‘live’ setting where you can act out certain scenarios. The role of the recruiter is so much more than just sales, it’s about communication (verbal and non-verbal), relationship building and customer service among others. The lost art form of writing letters or formal emails also needs to be addressed.

Being available to our employees is also very important to us as trainers. At Roc, we try to spend the bulk of our time either at a desk with someone or in a classroom. We hot desk and sit among our teams. Our focus is on giving training in real time – we make sure too that our regional offices see a trainer at least every six weeks. This means everyone has another point of call for them to raise issues, which helps us improve as a business.

Keeping up the pace

One of our key priorities and objectives – and a measure of how well we’re doing – is staff retention. The higher the quality of training and development we offer means people can do their jobs better, progress their careers and fulfil their potential. We recently outsourced some training to the CIPD, which has been fantastic. It’s a common mistake for businesses to move people into management roles without providing them with the necessary support.

Everything nowadays needs to be mobile friendly – it’s a base requirement. Even though it’s a work in progress for us, our internal systems training videos, for example, are available on smartphones. We’ve also looked at gamification and will continue to assess all technologies to determine what’s best for our business moving forward. 

Advancements in technology and the learning preferences of individuals are forever evolving. We need to make sure that we adapt with the times and keep up with the relentless pace of change.

If you’d like to know more about Roc’s training programme, please call me on 07760 161 893 or email