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Blake Henegan

Optimus Learning Services

Managing Director

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Reducing L&D overwhelm and simplify your workplace


Reducing the overwhelm

Recent studies by Deloitte* on human capital trends have highlighted that over two-thirds of organisations identified issues with the “overwhelmed employee”.

More technology and too much access to employees being the key drivers. So, what does this mean for the L&D department? Let’s first think about the overwhelm the L&D team may be experiencing. How can we help our employees if we are just as overwhelmed?

The results aren’t surprising to us and from an L&D perspective, the digital revolution is forcing learning and development to change at a rapid speed. L&D departments are tasked with keeping up with new learning technologies.  Pressured to introduce more blended learning. Governing self-directed learning and managing learning plans. Creating learning cultures whilst trying to engage more with the business. Add in how to maximise the Apprenticeship Levy pot and the L&D mind surely must be full to brim if not overflowing.

It’s enough to leave you wide-eyed and not knowing what to start first. So how we can model good practice to take control of your overwhelm in advance of helping your employees?

Looking after yourself personally

The challenges for L&D aren’t going away. Those companies who don’t update their learning approaches will lose their competitive edge. What can you do personally to reduce the overwhelm?

  • Prioritise and review – obvious we know but when you are in the thick of it, reminders to do this and take this time is essential. Make a list of priorities based on what is important. Not sure what is? Then speak to the business and get their input. Then focus, really focus, on that.  Review regularly to keep on track.
  • Reach out and connect – make sure you have people who will support you or let you blow off professional steam appropriately. Friends, colleagues, family.
  • Create a PLN (personal learning network) – build up a community of peers who can support you and share their challenges and successes. If you don’t have connections with L&D peers, then reach out to some.  There are the excellent forums on TrainingZone as well as groups such as L&D Connect and L&D CoWork.   Embrace social media, Twitter has a healthy community of L&D.   And have some face to face contact with people.  
  • Stay healthy – make time for some physical activity each day. Eat a healthier diet and if you can, enjoy some good sleep. I’m a dad of a 5 and 3-year-old so I know how challenging this is.  But its important to keep on top of looking after yourself.

Simplify your workplace

Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte, a leading provider of research in HR, talent and learning, and his team looked at the data about overwhelmed employees. They discovered the need to simplify your workplace.

According to Josh, “the key is to work really hard to declutter work. Stop sending so many emails. Reduce the number of things we ask people to do. Simplify the technologies we have. You can’t just layer more stuff onto people.”

Make changes in your organisation

  • Review rules and processes – are there steps or processes that waste more time than they save? Is the L&D department the central hub for employees booking training and learning activity? Does it need to be?
  • Step back more often – spend time planning and reviewing to ensure you can provide the business with regular updates on progress.
  • Spend time with the business – a recent report by Towards Maturity stats that those L&D professionals who communicate successes to managers are twice as likely to influence culture.
  • Reduce meeting times – ok, we’ve just told you to spend more time with the business, so it doesn’t need to be a time-consuming activity unless it needs to be. Make sure there is an agenda, everyone comes prepared and stays on topic and to time.
  • D.O.A – Delegate, automate or outsource – What tasks can you automate? What tasks do you do that could be delegated to people within your business or outsource? Sourcing and booking of training? Training administration?  There are outsourcing, managed learning services providers and freelancers that can release you from the stress of these tasks, reducing your overwhelm and allowing you to be more strategic.

Be free. Be you. 



Author Profile Picture
Blake Henegan

Managing Director

Read more from Blake Henegan

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