Learning drives desired results, but a learning programme can only be effective if it is sustainable.

The key to making it sustainable is to find a balance between building an individual’s skills through training and education, and ensuring their growth is channelled into driving results.

By this we mean the practical application of those newly acquired skills to the job – and the reinforcement of what they have learnt.

Follow this strategy and your business will be a more established and mature organisation, with a more engaged workforce that enthusiastically meets business challenges head-on, something which has been proven in our survey on what makes a PMO successful today.

In The Global Sate of the PMO: An analysis for 2013 we found that the active PMO – one that measures training impact and sustainability of learning – is more likely to be a career paver.

This is significant because it is career development that leads to project success, with 75% of project being delivered on time, budget and scope by the active PMO, compared to only 39% for the non-active.

Be focused

But it takes time and commitment, as well as the support and involvement of senior management, for a learning culture to become embedded within an organisation.

Before that can happen, the right training solution needs to be identified, with an initial, upfront assessment of the problems or desired areas for improvement.

Pre-training assessments are not only beneficial for ascertaining individuals’ skill levels, they will establish where your organisation falls on the maturity scale, and help identify skill resources that can be tapped into – as well as identify any shortfalls.

This way you can achieve a strategic learning programme that will not only ensure real returns on your training investment, it will remove the risk of wasted resources and guide the organisation through its overall strategic plan for growth.

When conducting an assessment it is essential to look at the bigger picture, objectively, in order to define a learning programme that will focus on what is needed for improvement and success.

Once this is achieved, it is then crucial to implement the learning plan in small, measurable steps, involving regular check-ups to evaluate the progress.

The creation of a road map, complete with milestones, to guide you on your path to improvement, will help to keep your development strategy in line with your end-goals.

Get active

There are also several practical processes you can try, to ensure the long-term impact of your training process:

  • Get to know and understand the preferred learning styles and motivations of the people you intend to train and be prepared to be flexible about how, when and where you support them.
  • Think of actual case-studies that will provide hands on learning opportunities to be practised before returning to the job.
  • Ensure that the tools and methodologies are in place for staff to implement their newly acquired skills, such as company processes and infrastructure.
  • Enable knowledge sharing and real-time access to resources such as mentoring, by allowing collaboration through social networking on mobile channels.
  • Foster a culture of social collaboration to encourage inspirational and altruistic behaviour, facilitate teamwork and enable employees to emulate positive workplace behaviour.

These actions, as well as measuring training impact and sustainability of learning, will lead to a more established organisational and individual maturity, with a more engaged workforce that enthusiastically meets business challenges head on.