Welcome to the Top 10 series Powerful Practices: Targeting

These next few Powerful Practices will highlight top Learning & Development challenges, their criticality, best practices for resolution, and how they and Meridian Learning Management System can position you for success.

We’ve all been here… a higher-up issues a year-end goal of lean business process training for every associate across the organization.

So, YOU, in the lean business process team, scramble to get the curriculum designed, facilitated, and wrapped-up by year’s end to all associates to meet your goal.  The organization should now have an army of trained, engaged, and motivated lean process engineers to drive performance, reduce waste, and cut costs?  End of story, right?

You may think so, but not really.

There are so many factors that contribute to the end of the story including audience analysis, business goals, production targets, organizational goals… these all contribute to the overall effectiveness of training and whether or not the training launch was effective in meeting the overall goal.

These factors all relate to one thing. Targeting!

How to successfully target learning audiences

Targeted training is when you analyze these factors to develop an audience profile that you use in designing and developing training that meets the needs of that specific audience.

Audience segmentation is a process of dividing people into homogeneous subgroups based upon defined criterion such as product usage, demographics, psychographics, communication behaviors and media use.” Wikipedia

The business factor segmenting the targeted audience might be training that drives the performance of an individual business unit, contributes to the overall health of the organization, reduces production waste, and increases employee engagement (just to name a few). Each of these scenarios presents a unique audience with specific training requirements.

Targeted training may include one or more of the following audience segments:

  • Learning Modality
  • Business Unit/Division
  • Process/Procedures
  • Standards/Requirements

Let’s take a look at each one these in a little more detail.

Learning Modality

Training targeted based on the learning modality best suited for a specific audience is one of the most crucial elements when designing your custom training solution.

Would you develop an intensive, 40-hour instructor-led classroom session on customer management for your road-warrior sales executives? No! The modality would not fit.

First of all, sales executives are normally not tied to an office or seat, (hence “road warriors”) so making them sit in a classroom for 40 hours is a recipe for disaster!

  • You would perform some type of audience analysis to determine the best instructional strategy and modality for that audience segment whether brief surveys, side-by-side observations, or quick touchpoint calls to get a better idea of their daily routines and processes.
  • Then, you take your findings to develop a customized, blended curriculum for sales that may include:
    • Pre-work such as work sheets to determine missing competencies
    • eLearning curriculum to introduce the core curriculum
    • Official kick-off call/virtual meeting for introductions, expectations, and standards
    • Virtual classroom sessions woven with eLearning courses PLUS hands-on scenarios and role plays for reinforcements of valuable concepts
  • By utilizing this approach, the specific audience needs will have been defined and the custom curriculum will encompass most learning styles for maximum efficiency and retention.

Business Unit (BU) / Division

  • Business Unit/Division targeted training is also very important when designing training solutions for your organization. In the lean business process example from earlier, the right implementation approach would be one standard curriculum across all business units?  It may seem like the easiest and most economical approach, however, it will not meet the needs of individualized business units such as Finance, Marketing, and Engineering.  Each one of these business units has its own unique team of employees, processes, goals, products, and procedures.  A one-stop training curriculum will not address the specific needs of a Finance Manager, let alone an Engineering Manager.
    • By simply performing a quick needs assessment of each of the business units in your organization, you can assess the needs of each BU and tweak the curriculum to meet the individual needs of each unit.
    • For example, Finance and Treasury undergo quarterly government audits that are very tedious and timely. You could create a handout or quick 15-minute eLearning module to cover this material separately to add to the total curriculum that only Finance team members would receive.
      • The core curriculum would remain the same and Finance would get an additional 15-minute module or their specific work flows. Problem solved.
    • Incorporating these small “tweaks” into the curriculum, will allow ensure the right content gets to the right population at the right time for precise measurement and effectiveness of the training program.

Process/Procedures

  • Since work flows, processes, and procedures may vary by division, location, and manager, it would be a best practice to target training solutions for individual processes and/or work flows. Let’s say your organization is upgrading their Salesforce Application and is in need of a full training implementation.  Would you roll-out the same training to every sales exec and admin in the organization? Not really… You would create targeted training per role such as sales manager, sales executive, and sales administrator.
    • The training design should include a brief intro to the new Salesforce Application i.e., the how’s, why’s, and reason behind the upgrade, followed by how to access and login to the new system, and basic navigation and functionality. Then separate the curriculum by role – sales manager would have a slightly different curriculum than a sales admin because their daily roles and responsibilities greatly vary.
    • This way everyone affected by the changes understands the project drivers and background, how to access the system, and then, most importantly, how to perform their jobs in the new system.

Standards/Requirements Compliance

  • Standards and requirements vary greatly from vertical-to-vertical, division-to-division and role-to-role. The need for targeted training here is critically important to the overall health of the organization.  Let’s say your organization is launching a new PMO (Project Management Office) including new roles of Senior and Junior Project managers.  The training needs for this type of venture will include overall PMO training (what is PMO, what are the core standards, requirements, expectations, processes, and outputs of the PMO) along with core job training for each new role.
    • Training for this type of implementation may include an introductory eLearning module that covers the new PMO from an organization perspective (covering all associates) including the background, need for the PMO, goals, location, outputs, and team, followed by job specific training for each of the new roles.
    • Senior Project Manager core content may include the primary roles and responsibilities, team organizational structure, online repository for process, templates, and procedures, systems used, quality standards, and escalation processes… just to name a few key elements.
    • By utilizing the introductory eLearning course and pushing to all employees in the organization, this move will introduce the new department and requirements to the entire office quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively.

As you can see by now, targeted training must be a key element in your training strategies, solutions, and implementation schedules.  Launching training to meet the needs of the audiences in your organization must be well thought out and planned with strategies, aligned and structured to be successful.

Meridian LMS™ offers a wide variety of tools, resources, and functions that can help you create targeted training to specific audiences, business units, or processes/procedures.  Introductory eLearning modules can be designed to launch a new product, process, or standards to the masses, followed by more specific on-the-job training and collaboration spaces for further audience engagement.

To operate as a cohesive, strategic, business entity, all units must collaborate in a healthy, open arena for sharing, communicating, living and breathing the mission, vision, and strategic goals of your organization.

Meridian Knowledge Solutions is the leading provider of enterprise, web-based learning management software. Meridian’s powerful, easy-to-use solutions are leveraged by organizations dedicated to building world-class learning enterprises. Meridian has over 7 million users worldwide, and believes that learning is first, learning is yours, and learning is without limits.

Discover modern learning the Meridian way!

Download our infographic: Four Key Channels to Targeting Your LMS Audience

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