L&D professionals realise how important marketing and communications is, with 91% identifying these as vital skills. However, only 41% think they have the necessary expertise to carry out this part of their job effectively. Ali Soper from MicroLearn explains some practical steps that practitioners should take to help themselves. She starts by looking at setting objectives, to make your L&D strategy S.M.A.R.T
As with any marketing plan, it’s a good idea to start your internal marketing and comms plan with the end goal in mind. Think about what a successful learning strategy looks like for you. Is it enough for staff to say they like the digital content available or are you looking for more demonstrable results? The best way to do this is to set SMART objectives:
S – Specific
Be specific with your goals and avoid woolly objectives. Remember you need to define the problem you’re solving within the organisation before implementing the strategy. So, why are you creating a learning strategy? To achieve a solution to a real problem, be sure you’ve narrowed down exactly what success will look like for your organisation.
M – Measurable
If you can’t measure your success, whatever that look likes in your organisation, you’ll struggle to manage it. Set some quantifiable success factors, ideally performance improvements, such as calls taken, reductions in complaints, increased customer satisfaction, increased sales. You might also want to measure increased uptake and feedback for your own purposes – these won’t help you measure the all important performance changes, but can be helpful for L&D.
It’s a good idea to take a benchmark measurement before the learning strategy is implemented and one at the end, so you can review tangible figures. This can be extremely effective when demonstrating Return On Investment (ROI) to stakeholders.
A – Achievable
While you should be ambitious, don’t allow your expectations to go overboard. Your initiatives should be achievable. Nothing crushes enthusiasm like unobtainable targets, which leave you feeling like you’ve failed.
Make sure you have buy-in from high level management – the key people who need to back you and your objectives to help drive success. And don’t forget your IT team. In short, ensure your project aspirations are achievable, both in terms of scale and plausibility, with the resources you need to be sure you set yourself up for success.
R – Realistic
Be realistic about what you can achieve, with your budget, resource and time scale. Have you given yourself enough time to achieve your goals? Have you got the resources required? What resources could you create in-house and where could you consider off-the shelf or bespoke alternatives? Is the organisation ready for what you’re looking to implement?
T – Time
Time is one of the most important elements, as you’ll need to know when you are going to deliver and implement the strategy. Establish where the finishing line is if you’re going to measure what you have achieved so far, and if you need to extend the deadline, that’s fine, just make sure you set another delivery date and share this with stakeholders, so everyone is aware of how the plan is progressing. This will keep you focused and allow for solid and useful reporting.
Consider when would be the best time to implement the strategy. You might want to avoid the busiest times within your organisation, for example the end of the fiscal year or periods with high levels of annual leave. You’ll need to time your plan so that it has the best chance of success.
Check out MicroLearn’s Setting Objective infographic for more information. MicroLearn has a whole range of content which covers Setting Objectives, which you can try out for free by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
About Ali Soper
Ali Soper is the Creative Director and Cofounder of MicroLearn, a passionate team of eLearning creators, developing stunning, engaging and effective microlearning resources. Ali’s career in eLearning first began as a creative developer, building professionally deliverable eLearning content at Jenison Digital Learning. She refused to believe that ‘click next continue’ was really the best way to learn. Alongside her father Steve, the pair cofounded MicroLearn in 2016 to deliver top class, bite-sized content which helps people to work better, safer and smarter in the age of the skills economy.