Lesson 5: Many staff are still struggling and it’s not recognised

I have been consulting solely on Microsoft 365 technology for just over a decade. I reflected on this recently and realised I have engaged with over 80 clients. This is a 6 part series diving into some consistent themes from engaging across many organisations and industries.

As a consultant you engage with an organisation with specific scope and at times are constrained by budget on what you can deliver.

I have learnt to (where required) work lean and go with what is most powerful.

I shudder when a project only has budget for training, or when some projects (particularly a trend I noticed in 2020) don’t factor in any training, but just share some Teams videos via a site and staff are expected to self- learn.

With the mass remote working in 2020 and now the new view of ongoing ‘hybrid’ working, organisations need to coach and drive culture change with regards to ways of working. With this employees need support to grow and learn to not only keep up with changes, but work with confidence.

Some of my work begins with an employee survey, gauging their opinion of tools, what they use and their level of confidence.

I have to say, in many cases the range of applications used is narrow, and more importantly confidence is low.

Often, I worry the success of a project, roll out or the workplace ways of working is mistakenly gauged by the noisy savvy staff. By the ones we see doing posts and working more ‘out loud’. Somewhere, deep in the workplace, are the quiet ones. Those who don’t speak up and are struggling. And sadly this is often the majority.

Provide a platform or account to access self-paced learning, and many wont access it.

Run sessions and many wont turn up.

While yes I understand it’s their fault, the resistance and lack of motivation to try. But the organisation needs to take some responsibility also in the stall of progress with ways of working.

They don’t turn up?
Find the language to drive desire and motivate.

They don’t view the content?

Make it part of the working week. Ensure people have time and it is reasonable to expect them to allocate work hours to watch and learn.

This is part of true ADKAR. Desire, hype, motivation. It’s crucial to the long-term broader workplace journey.

Have you heard of ‘The Learning Pit’?

You can find many example of this online. I came across it a few years ago in my child’s classroom at the time. When I thought about the image I realised how important it is for workplace learning.

We all fall into that pit when we are struggling with learning something new.

When employees are expected to use a new application, or work in a different way, they too are thrust into the pit.

It takes a lot of work to recognise this is part of the Learning Cycle and that you cannot always move through the cycle alone without support.

Consider the Learning Cycle

When you brush your teeth, it is unconscious competence. The skill is automatic.

When you try to learn to do something new in Microsoft 365, at some stage it becomes conscious incompetence and there comes the frustration of the new.

Practice makes progress.

We learn and have to motivate ourselves, or be motivated by others, to keep going and not only master a skill but then do it often across our work day to have it become the new normal, and the new automatic way of working.

Employees have ongoing change with this platform. We need to understand their journey, the dips, the support, motivation and hype that can push them along to build the skills and enhance ways or working organisation wide.

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