As Lucretia Hall and her team roll out a number of inaugural learning and development initiatives, they have valuable insights to share with the field. Here, Hall outlines what gets a new L & D department off to a successful start.
Part II – Lessons Learned
In the first post of this two-part series, ‘Part I – Laying the Groundwork,’ Hall and her team shared insight into the mechanics of getting a Learning & Development ( L & D) program off the ground. However, aside from the mechanics, the team learned key lessons we wanted to share:
Culture and teamwork matter. Hall credits a large portion of the L & D program’s progress to the fantastic company and team she is immersed in. She works with a talented and supportive group of L & D professionals. She also receives coaching and guidance from various leaders on what is needed to be successful. This includes presenting in front of SoftwareONE’s Global Leadership Team to being tuned in to the initiatives at the executive level that are important for all employees. She has been fortunate to be given the opportunity to meet with leadership and management across most of North America to build out face to face relationships that are so important to a company’s culture. In addition to all of this, people across the organization have been enabled by the leadership team to fully participate in L & D engagements from interviews to coaching to workshops.
Interviewing, according to Hall, has been a central piece of the puzzle. Getting to know internal customers well involves a lot of interviewing. These interviews require balance. As an L & D leader it is important to balance gut instinct with an adherence to reality, and to balance empathy in regards to the experiences of the stakeholders, while upholding data as an equally important informant.
For Hall, her interviews confirmed and strengthened some areas, while also uncovering new insights. She used innovation design interviewing techniques and employed non-leading inquiry questions such as:
- What do you want to do more of, and less of, in your job?
- What would help you do a better job?
- What gets in your way of success?
- What would you create if you were in my shoes?
- What’s happening when you’re happiest at work?
- What makes you feel connected…to others, to the work, to customers?
She made connections in those interviews which helped build the foundation for future coaching relationships, trust, and a solid reputation.
Hall started every interview with the mantra “our conversation is confidential and you will never hear me repeat what you’ve said. It is going to be used for the betterment of the company and to help all of us be successful.” In addition to interviewing, establishing trust was a key ingredient to success. Hall is grateful that her company’s Human Resources (HR) department and executives placed their trust in her. They provided her with confidential data and “handed over the keys.” She credits SoftwareONE as a place where people trust their co-workers. To Hall, this is part of what makes it such an enjoyable place to work.
While the work has only just begun, Hall is sticking to the mantra “we have a dream opportunity in front of us.” She and her team look forward to continuing to build a Learning and Development program that SoftwareONE can be very proud of. With company Core Values like “Employee Satisfaction” and “Passion” guiding the way, the L&D team envisions a future with a promising return on investment – satisfied employees.