Overcoming Challenges

In my first blog post here, I wrote about some challenges I faced so far in my career as a Learning and Development (L&D) professional. I promised to follow up with how I overcame them:

  1. Training is often an afterthought.

Your company needs to become a culture of learning, we as L&D professionals need to design training in a way that it becomes part of the everyday tasks of each employee. This way, we support performance and your learning programme will be on everyone’s minds the minute they issue a job offer or a new product is on the horizon.


Collaborate with and make friends in every department. Find out what they struggle with and help people learn and develop in a way they feel comfortable with. This in turn helps everyone be more productive, keep learning and the company becomes more efficient. Put training on top of everyone’s priority list!


  1. Training does not have a (big) budget.

And actually, it does not always need one. By subtly integrating training activities into every day work lives and facilitating knowledge sharing, we can start creating a culture of learning. Although once training is on everyone’s priority list it will be easier to free up cash for solutions that really help the whole company become better at what it does.


Use already established, free of charge options for employees to exchange ideas, best practices, ask questions and organise themselves: use social media. It doesn’t have to be Facebook or Instagram, but you can use Skype, Slack and even WhatsApp. You can organise people into groups according to departments and projects and let them create their own groups to chat. They don’t always have to be work related. Sometimes it’s really good for colleagues to get to know each other on a more personal level. The more people have in common, the more they will collaborate.

In addition to being free, most people also already know how to use these tools, so no introductory guidance is needed! If someone doesn’t, arrange for a colleague to show them – facilitating knowledge and skill sharing is everything.


  1. Staff complaining about boring PowerPoint presentations…

This is a difficult one. Or is it? Learning by doing is best, right? If you ever watched The Office (the American version), this little gem might delight you: Fire Drill – PowerPoint is boring. If you haven’t watched it yet, this was your introduction.


Don’t do what Dwight did in the video, for it is a bit extreme. But, instead of you always being the one to present, facilitate. Invite people to workshops, for them to share what they might already know about the topic or what they think it’s about.

Create short activities that people not just participate in but contribute to.

Example: Send out information and guidance about the topic for everyone to study before a meeting (pre-reads) and ask everyone to give a 2-minute presentation on a specific part – but not to use PowerPoint. See what happens. Try out different methods and find one or more that work best for you and your colleagues. Just get people involved.


  1. Too many different skill sets are expected from one person.

This one is also fairly difficult to overcome, probably the most difficult of all. You can try 100 times to explain to your manager and finance director that you need money to either attend training and learn the relevant skill sets yourself or to employ someone who has them already. If there is no money in the budget, then there is no money in the budget. To be honest though, a company that does not understand the need for employees to develop and pay for the relevant training, might not be a company you want to stick around at.


This might not be what you want to read, but despite what I just said in my last sentence, maybe instead of the company paying for your training, you can pay for it yourself? Maybe you can make a deal with the company to pay you back (even partially), once you produced the first results from your training.

If not, pay for it anyways because you will always be able to use your new skills somehow and somewhere. There is one important thing I have learned about work and the future of it: be a perpetual learner. Don’t rely on your company to teach you everything you need to know about your work.


Was that helpful? Leave a comment to let me know 😊

Challenges of a Learning and Development Professional

Hello World! For my first post, I thought I’d write about some of the challenges I have been facing in my career so far, so you can get to know me a bit better and hopefully we can connect on that level too!

So, this is the story of me, a Learning and Development (L&D) professional in a corporate world. It could also be your story.

Ever since I was little, I loved learning and I loved school. I wanted to be a teacher, someone adored by kids, helping them achieve good grades. How easy and amazing it would be!

As I grew older, I realised how much stress a bunch (or better, 30!) kids and teenagers can be, not least because I was one of them. I learned that teachers also don’t exactly have 6 weeks off during summer and don’t really earn a fortune. So, I let go of that dream and placed my career on hold for a while.

Once I started working, I enjoyed helping others with their tasks and training new hires into their roles. It felt good to share wisdom and I liked how people looked to me when they needed help. I thought to myself ‘Heck, I don’t need to teach kids to be a teacher, I can train adults!’. My dream came true after all.

Again, of course, what I didn’t know about where the challenges connected to L&D teams in the corporate world.


Here is a short list that you might identify with:


  1. Training is often an afterthought.

I realised quickly that the training team or trainer was often left out of decisions on projects that influence how people work, what tools they are using and ultimately how they will learn new skills and do so going forward. Or you are informed on the day a new person starts that you need to dedicate all your time that week to the induction of said new hire. Ugh!


  1. Training does not have a (big) budget.

Many companies seem reluctant to invest into their people, starting with the training budget. It is more important to allocate money to the design of new products or bonuses of senior management (Which are, granted, people too.). You can use PowerPoint and video conferencing to communicate with people speaking different languages in different time zones, right? Google Translate is free last time I heard…


  1. Staff complaining about boring PowerPoint presentations…

‘Great, another afternoon wasted sitting in meeting room ‘Waterloo’, trying to stay awake whilst listening to an energetic trainer and participating in group activities. I wish the company would provide short, online training modules I could complete conveniently at my desk…’ … is probably what the average employee will be thinking when you drag them into your workshops.


  1. Too many different skill sets are expected from one person.

Finally, the company has decided to gift you some money and is investing in an online Learning Management System. You get to name it and everything, how fancy! Oh, and while you are at it, can you create all the content? You know, use Articulate Storyline, Video and Photo Editor, Camtasia and whatever else you need to convert your boring PowerPoint presentations into animated, fun, short little videos employees and clients get to watch at their desks. Without any training for said Software, of course. There is no money for that or hiring a Training Designer now that we bought you that really fancy, expensive Learning Management System…


Of course, these challenges are not exclusive to training departments. So if you are working in a different area and can still relate, I would also love to hear your comments!


What is the challenge you find yourself most confronted with?

What are others not listed?

Leave a comment and I will dedicate a next blog entry to tackling those challenges.