Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Are You a Learning Leader? Lessons from MetLife

Every day I'm immersed in training issues for senior care providers: writing and editing CEU courses for administrators, discussing new, creative ways to train caregivers, working with our learning partners to develop online courses to reach out to even more care providers, especially those located in rural, remote areas with limited access to big-city training opportunities.

I love the example of MetLife, and the recent article that came to my attention recognizing this company as a "Learning Leader." Doris Fritz, the VP of learning and development, identifies the company's need to go beyond basic training and to address learning as a vehicle for corporate development in a fast-paced, changing business environment (sounds a lot like senior care, doesn't it?).

MetLife chose three main focuses of training:

1) Centralization and systemization to increase efficiencies;
2) Using technology and a design team to gather resources into the central distribution source;
3) Focusing on learning needs that advanced the company as a whole, including new employee orientation, customer sales and service, and in-depth product knowledge.

MetLife had been offering training as instructor-led, but determined that, to meet their goals, they would need to develop a robust e-learning approach. MetLife chose to hire an in-house team and spent significant resources developing their own e-learning solution.

The result? Quicker and more effective skill building in new employees immediately evident, with anticipation of strong, long-term results from this approach.

The application for senior care is clear:

1) Focus on building a community or company training approach that goes further than simply compliance;
2) Look to technology to help systematize the approach and delivery (and we don't need to build it from the ground up, with those high costs and time delays);
3) Expect increased skill development, at a quicker time-line, than traditional instructor-led approaches.

Improved training is accessible to almost every senior care community and company. Not going the extra mile to provide all the training, resources and support to our caregivers and other staff is a mistake that we cannot afford to make as we build excellence in service.

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