Who’s on the L&D Naughty List this Holiday Season?

L&D naughty listWe’re making a list. We’re checking it twice. We’re going to find out who’s naughty or nice — and who has been taking workplace learning seriously this past year.

While there are plenty of learners on the Nice List this year — we love engaged learners and supervisors who support and encourage training programs — there are always a few people on the Naughty List. You can probably think of some: the people who don’t finish modules, complain about learning, and want to cut the learning budget.

To help you identify the people who might need a little guidance to get into training in 2022, we’ve written up a Naughty List. Read on to see who is getting coal in their L&D stocking this holiday season.

Disengaged Debbie

Poor Debbie. She’s just not engaged at work and definitely not with her training. All learning seems to be a chore for her. When you send her out to live, in-person training at conferences, you get a big sigh. When she has to take online learning, she completes it with the air of someone who is being punished. She’s so disengaged, her attitude is beginning to affect her peers who seem to be catching her discontent. Gallup calls employees like Debbie “actively disengaged” — and she’s part of 15% of the workforce. However, actively disengaged employees often need more time working with a manager. This may be a good time for Debbie’s supervisor to sit down with Debbie and ask her what her career goals are. Adopting a coaching approach and designing a learning pathway that’s relevant and personalized to her may bring a little magic back into her learning life.

Stingy Steven

Steven is a supervisor, and he is gung-ho when it comes to learning — but he’s not in the giving spirit. Ever. While he wants his learners to take all their assigned courses, he also won’t give them time to do so. Instead, he expects them to learn on their own time, outside of regular work hours. This causes resentment among his learners, who feel that they’re being asked to give up their personal time for work. Help Steven find the holiday spirit by building learning into work hours so that people can learn on the job, not during their free time.

Whiny Wendy

Wendy doesn’t want to take her learning modules. When she does, she’s just not happy with them. She’s annoyed with the way the courses look, with the content, with her learning pathways. When Wendy has input, the L&D department cringes because it’s always a complaint. But Wendy’s feedback deserves a closer look – although it may not seem constructive, there are some important tidbits that deserve attention among all the negativity. Give Wendy a more positive outlook by sifting through her complaints and seeing what’s really bothering her. She might just be telling you she needs more engaging or relevant learning, and that sentiment might be just shared by Wendy’s peers. There may be some valuable gems in her feedback.

Tutorial Tim

It’s rare to see Tim’s entire face; he’s always on his phone, looking up information about how to do his job at work. YouTube, Google, Reddit, social media — you name it, he’s looking up a tutorial, searching out “hacks,” and then spreading his newfound “knowledge” around. L&D advises against this as a best practice because they’ve already created learning that would answer his question if he would only look for it. Even worse, a lot of his information is wrong or out-of-date. Tim is used to looking up information online at home, but at work L&D should give him the gift of telling him to seek company-sanctioned information first (before embarking on web searches) and making that information easier for him to find and access.

Good-enough Gus

Gus can exist at any level in your organization. His approach to L&D? “Meh, good enough.” Whether he’s completing his own modules, helping to choose new content, or encouraging learners to train, Gus just wants to check off the “learning” box on his to-do list so he can prove compliance and just get it done. The training doesn’t need to be fun, engaging, or even relevant, as long as Gus can say it’s complete. Change Gus’ outlook by showing him that engaged learners tend to learn more, or by giving him the beautifully wrapped present of a course that’s actually (*gasp*) fun for him.

Traditional Trisha

Trisha is stuck on the learning of yesteryear. She’s absolutely opposed to trying new kinds of learning, including new training modalities, new content, new tools, a new learning strategy — anything new. Even if a modality is proven to work, Trisha will be opposed to it. Her favorite phrases are “But this is the way we’ve always done it” and “Why reinvent the wheel?” Make no mistake, however: Trisha’s just nervous about a new approach failing. Bring her back to the Nice List by letting her test drive a new technology or new content so she can see that it’s not so bad after all. Who knows; she might even like it!

Bottom Line Bobby

Bobby is a decision-maker at his organization. He sees learning and development as optional — a nice-to-have, but not a need-to-have. He doesn’t see its ROI and in fact, thinks it’s more of an expense than anything else. He’s always asking if he can cut the L&D budget for next quarter and put the budget where it “matters.” He’s part of about 40% of decision makers that aren’t big supporters of L&D, according to data from LinkedIn. Bobby needs a visit from three ghosts this year who can show him how learning contributes to the bottom line by helping ramp up new employees quickly, upskilling people, increasing engagement and satisfaction, improving customer experience, and growing new leadership within the organization.