Effective & Sustainable Learning & Development

August 2022

Jacqui Priestly, Executive Manager for Capability, explains how we need to train our teams to deliver. The key objective for any learning & development program is a noticeable and sustainable change in behaviour or output.


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Everybody knows that capability development programs are important for attention and also team engagement. But we are often asked how to implement a proper capability development program that is efficient but also sustainable.

If you’re going to invest in all of this capability development, you want to make sure there’s a noticeable difference to the team, the output and the behaviors. It’s important to understand what your overall departmental goals are and also the organizational goals because if you don’t have the right blend of skills and strengths in the team, it’s going to be hard to meet those expectations.

So analyze the skills. If you don’t already know what the strengths and development areas of the team are, it’s important to find that out so then you can leverage and lean on those skills and the strengths of individuals across the group. We’re finding that these days organizations are focusing on the strategic side of procurement and things like influencing and soft skills more so than the procurement technical side.

Our school has helped many organizations to develop and implement blended learning programs. We start with a capability assessment so that we can determine the strengths and opportunities within the team and also just get a baseline that you can measure against on the track. We offer formal training which we can deliver either face to face or virtually in covertime. We also have a suite of E-learning.

When organisations are looking to implement capability development programs, one of the things that they struggle with is the experiential and mentoring side. So we often find the formal stuff is pretty easy. You send people to a training day, although often that’s a blanket approach and not necessarily targeted enough, but the informal stuff is much harder. So if you’re going to focus on the experiential side of things, there’s a few things that I recommend. One of them is to use a blended approach.

So don’t just put all your energy into training or into eLearning or into mentoring. Use a bit of everything. You also want to identify top performers in the team and give them the opportunity to coach and mentor others. The other thing that I would really recommend is give your team members the opportunity to go and present to their stakeholders. It’s great for their personal brand and everybody hates it a little bit, but it’s so good for learning and development.

The final one is let people work on stretch projects because it’s good for their development and that experiential learning you just can’t take from that. The most important thing when it comes to any capability development program is to make sure that it’s effective but also sustainable and makes a real difference to your team.