I was recently in New York on business and had my first personal meetings in over 18 months and had an experience that was an interesting metaphor for employee development and training.
While there, I took the opportunity to spend the evening and attended a performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Performed by experimental sound artist ASUNA in the center of the room was presented a large circle of more than 100 keyboards. ASUNA started by playing a single note on the keyboard. He then moved on to the next keyboard and played another note or notes, then another keyboard and another, until finally all 100 keys played in unison. The effect was a gradual crescendo that culminated in an explosive, meditative immersion in sound. As I watched ASUNA carefully move from keyboard to keyboard, playing note after note, it occurred to me that this experience was in many ways similar to the best practices needed to conduct and harmonize development and training of employees with business goals.
How? It can be said that each employee of the company is responsible for playing a series of notes on his own keyboard. Combined with the efforts of all other employees, the company harmonizes and achieves together much greater results than one player could.
In particular, I think there are three main areas in which training and musical performances are similar:
- Focus on customer experience.
- Emphasis on employee experience.
- Leadership and performance.
Throughout the development of the 100 Keyboards show I am sure that ASUNA carefully imagined the experience it wanted its participants to gain. Companies also have similar planning exercises to determine their ideal customer experience, including one that will attract new customers and retain existing ones. Accurately defining a customer’s life cycle using tools such as design thinking, customer path mapping and customer voice, can help link different company departments, including marketing, sales, product development, engineering and more, within a well-defined execution strategy.
However, I believe that companies often miss a key component during this strategic planning: they often do not take into account what underlies staff experience should also be. Although this blog is too short to properly discuss the links, you can read this blog further Employee career cardsand this one next user experience in learning for more information on the topic.
In a nutshell, if employees are ultimately responsible for stimulating customers and thus the success of the company, they need their own roadmap and a clear understanding of what notes to play, in what combination and when.
Advanced training is one of the most effective tools that business leaders can deploy to better align their organization with future goals and objectives. By determining what skills employees bring now and what they will need in the future, managers can plan for future work.
Digital transformation, remote work, new technologies, new generations of the workforce and many other factors are causing unprecedented change and straining talent markets. Identifying existing skills and preparing for the future allows companies to better manage the talent chain by filling open vacancies from within, which includes the added benefits of longer employee retention, lower hiring costs and increased employee participation – all of which allow employees to better deliver.
So how do you begin to determine your ideal training program?
Start by working closely with other business leaders to accurately – and if possible visually – determine how your company’s customer engagement strategy matches the desired employee experience. Next, determine a comparison of current and future status of what skills employees should perform in this strategy. Once skills are identified, determine how best to create and cultivate a culture of lifelong learning for all employees – from employees in the first place to managers and senior executives, everyone should have access to professional development opportunities. It is also important to make sure that your leadership development curriculum emphasizes coaching and staff growth. Then evaluate whether your current learning technology and content strategy allow for quick and inclusive skills development, and what additional investments you need to make in your learning ecosystem.
Finally, you may want to consider which change management and internal marketing staffing companies are needed to promote and sustain the adoption of your training program. This is especially important if you are implementing an internal talent market in addition to an in-service training program.
The requirements for human resources (HR) and training and development (L&D) to fill the talent gap in today’s rapidly changing and increasingly digital economy have never been higher. Matching employee experiences with key customer maximization strategies provides an opportunity to identify key skills needed by employees now and in the future. With careful planning and execution, like ASUNA and its keyboards, leaders can synchronize each employee’s contribution to the whole, allowing individuals to achieve greatness together.