This month's Learning Event topic brought to mind ATD-OC's inaugural Training Manager SIG meeting, in which the Training Director (and department of one) of a local retailer was sharing her challenges in reaching out to a workforce scattered throughout malls and outlet stores across the nation.
First and foremost, the presenter had to rely upon a shifting roster of store managers to deliver her training -- she simply could not be in all stores in a reasonable span of time to deliver the training herself. Her solution was a "training-in-a-box" deliverable, where each store would receive the training material, along with a manager's facilitation guide.
From this solution came other challenges: consistency, and ensuring learning effectiveness.
I would imagine Taco Bell's OD department (two of whom will be presenting this Wednesday, April 22) had similar problems, if at a greater scope.
The management and professional development of geographically dispersed teams has been a growing challenge since the latter half of the previous century. As technology has lessened the impact business has on a growing organization, as more and more companies have expanded their reach from regional to national to global, communication breaches the spans between teams at the speed of thought. Yet physical interaction remains limited, and meaningful communication becomes hampered without the most deliberate of asynchronous explanations.
Solutions abound, creating additional challenges of adapting to technology, budgeting time and resources, and the challenge of an ever-changing environment. Do you deliver eLearning to ensure a consistent message is shared across the organization? Do you rely upon web meetings to help facilitate that interpersonal dialogue that eLearning lacks? Do you collaborate in the cloud? Or do you rely upon your organization’s leaders to deliver the “Training In A Box” packages that you design?
From what I gather from the description of ATD-OC's April 22 lunchtime Learning Event
, there's no one way. The training team at Taco Bell continuously adapts its strategies to figure out the right blend of e-learning, virtual sessions, and classroom training (yes, there's still a place for classroom training). It'll be interesting to learn more about their methodology of when to shift gears, of identifying which blend works for which team.
Who wants to ask them about including informal/social learning tools into the mix?