Continually increasing efficiency, improving performance across the organization, and maintaining a robust leadership pipeline are critical for organizational success. Investing in organizational development is the key to making this happen. Luckily, in the past several years executive support and learning and development budgets have grown to meet this need. Whether you are working to develop your high potentials into future leaders or honing the skills of your teams, working with an experienced partner can help you build the organizational training and development program that addresses your organization’s unique learning needs and future goals.
Regardless if your initiative will take place in-class, virtually, or a combination of the two, it will pay off to seek out partners with the following six attributes:
An effective organizational development initiative is designed with you, not for you. Choose a customer-centric provider that is willing to work in partnership with you, so they can deliver against your needs and your reality, and address the unique challenges faced by your organization.
2. Consultation Services and Strategic Rollout Support
You can’t design an effective organizational training and development plan if you don’t have a complete picture of the organization’s current state. Whether it’s upskilling specific competencies or ensuring the health of the leadership pipeline, you can’t determine a path without knowing where you’re starting from or where you’re trying to go. Look for a partner who can work with you to understand your starting point, identify gaps, and help you implement the solutions that will move the organization in the right direction.
3. Proven Learning Methodology
Presenting information to people is not enough to boost skills and spark a change in behavior. While training needs to deliver knowledge, it must also lead to understanding, and give opportunities for practice. This way, participants know exactly what they are changing, how to change it, and why they should want to change their current behavior.
To achieve this level of personal conviction and skill development, choose a partner who uses an experiential learning method. Experiential learning creates an immersive environment where participants get to apply their own capabilities, then a skilled facilitator leads a discussion on how the challenges and outcomes of the experience mirror the ones they experience on the job. This methodology not only allows participants to practice their skills, but it provides proof that the new behaviors are effective, fuelling the mindset shift necessary to create real change in the workplace.
4. Content Customization and Adaptation
In order to be relevant, applicable, and engaging, the content of your training program must feel seamless to participants. Content that incorporates real examples from your company or industry will resonate with participants more than generic or irrelevant examples. Look for a partner who can customize your training content and adapt the corresponding materials to align with your company’s branding, internal language, and examples.
5. Proven Track Record
Don’t leave your organizational development and training needs to chance. Look for a partner that has a proven record of success in your industry or one with similar challenges. While they may not always be able to share the names of clients for privacy reasons, they should be able to provide examples of their work and the approaches they have taken to achieve and maintain results like the ones you are seeking. Having the ability to introduce unique content that addresses your specific needs and audience can mean the difference between mediocre training and a program that creates lasting behavior change.
6. Cultural Fit
It is also important to find a partner that can adjust their programs based on your organization’s structure, internal dynamics, and cultural values. Ask any potential partner how they will work with you to learn about your organization’s specific culture, and how they will fit with that culture to create long-term impact on employees and facilitate change.
Investing in organizational training and development is not something any training professional undertakes lightly as it's success (or failure) can impact personal, team, and organizational effectiveness. Therefore, to maximize the return on your investment a training and development partner must be wisely chosen. Working with a partner that will take the time to understand your business, your challenges, and your employees, customize their content accordingly, use proven learning methods, and fit with your organizational culture will yield a much higher return.