How do I improve learning and development programmes?

SHIFT Act 1, Episode 1: Current reality

FUNDA is a training and conferencing company who specialises in providing the knowledge and resources their clients need to train their people and develop their teams. FUNDA (funda is the Zulu word for ‘learn’) started out 17 years ago and quickly made a name for themselves in the organisational learning and development sector. Their clients praised the quality of the content they provided and the expertise of the specialists they hired to present the training.

Over the last 7 years or so, FUNDA had been losing clients, though. When they ask defecting clients why they are leaving, they get mixed answers:  ‘we are cutting costs, so we are opting for online learning courses’, ‘We felt that we needed more entertainment and inspiration mixed into the learning – something wow’, or ‘our people want something that is more fun and challenging, something that brings the team together ’and ‘we are looking for something different, that is more relevant to us specifically and can cater for the diversity of people we employ’.

The owner and CEO of FUNDA, Claire Pillay, started looking at what her competitors were offering. She noticed that the speaker’s burro across the square from her had halted their office renovations. A few years ago when the renovations at Motivation Inc started, it looked like they were doing great, now it seems they were cutting costs. “If people are really looking for inspiration and entertainment mixed into the learning, why is Motivation Inc not booming?” Claire wondered.

A previous loyal client of her company dropped in one day to give her a pamphlet: ‘Team Adventures’ it read ‘every extreme adventure you can think of for your whole team’. She looked at her client with raised eyebrows: “So is this the trend now?”

“No,” he answered “too expensive and nothing changes at the office after you go on one of these”. Can’t you get us something that is fun and meaningful? Isn’t there a way in which we can learn, bond, be inspired and shift our company into the 21st century so that we can keep up with the changing times?”

Claire realised that the lecture based, information transmission model her company was built on, no longer served. People can get everything they wanted to know off the internet in various forms to fit their individual needs, from blog articles to full online courses. But people are also no longer looking for pure motivational or inspirational speakers who can both entertain and teach them at the same time. While people enjoy the ‘show’, they still leave without the message impacting and changing their work environment. Yet, when organisations try to remedy this by taking their teams on teambuilding experiences to build relationship and connection, still people do not integrate the experience into everyday work life.

“So what is the solution?”  Claire asked herself, “How do I improve our learning and development programmes?”


One Reply to “How do I improve learning and development programmes?”

  1. I too find it difficult to find the balance between ‘inspiration and entertainment’ when it comes to developing learning material. I’m not sure that everything always has to be FUN, but it must be relevant. And perhaps some of the problem lies in the lack of needs analysis before resorting to training. Sending people on training when the problem is not about knowledge or skill is just frustrating!

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