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Learning Executive Think Tank Presents White Paper, "Top 4 Ways to Get Closer to Your Training Consumers"

Report Sheds Light on How to Establish Closer Relationships With Clients and Core Audiences

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 07/15/09 -- Expertus (www.expertus.com), a global provider of services that optimize the business impact of learning, today announced the release of a white paper from the most recent Learning Executive Think Tank. "Top 4 Ways to Get Closer to Your Training Consumers" summarizes the learning leaders' discussion and is available at http://www.trainingefficiency.com (direct link: http://www.trainingefficiency.com/system/files/Top-4-Ways-to-Bring-Learners-Closer_Think-Tank-Report.pdf).

In the fourth virtual Learning Executive Think Tank, Tom Clancy, VP of Education at EMC, and Tom Kelly, former learning executive at Cisco, NetApp, and Oracle, met with several top learning leaders to discuss the messages and approaches they're using to establish closer relationships with their clients and core audiences.

The roundtable participants agreed on some major points that laid the foundation for the conversation. Firstly, change is a constant factor in their business. And, one of the most significant shifts occurring in the training industry is the change in focus from training to performance. In order to be successful, learning leaders must take on a business-partner mentality and assume the role of performance consultant instead of learning leader.

The panel also indicated that tracking the number of people who completed training is not as meaningful to the enterprise as it once was. Instead, what matters are the results on a broad scale that can be attributed directly to training.

The group agreed that to know what clients need and how best to deliver a useful end product, you must get inside the organization to begin to see their challenges from their perspective as a colleague. Our learning leader panel shared some of the approaches they're using to get closer to their clients, determine the clients' needs and build effective training programs that succeed. We uncovered these top four takeaways:

Finding #1: Determine True Training Needs; Training requests are not the same as training needs.

The dynamics of business today require that change be addressed quickly and effectively. This is often achieved through training. However, the role of the learning department has shifted from devising compulsory training programs to meet particular skill sets to advising clients on how to meet specific performance objectives. To satisfy performance objectives, you need to dig deep to uncover true learning needs.

Finding #2: Drive Relationships with Customers; Solid relationships result in better outcomes, more satisfied customers, and higher productivity.

Driving relationships means immersing yourself into your customer's business -- working side-by-side with your customer to get a better understanding of the dynamics of their operation. All of our panelists agreed that relationships are critical in the creation and implementation of meaningful training programs. When you entrench yourself in your learners' business, you understand their challenges, instill trust, and establish yourself as a trusted advisor.

Finding #3: Build Training Around Macro-Business Metrics; If training is not directly linked to performance goals and outcomes it will be viewed as a drain on time and money.

Training has no meaning unless it produces desired outcomes. Likewise, desired outcomes cannot be achieved if they are not recognized in the design of a training program. Macro-business metrics are critical to outcomes because they are directly tied back to the business unit or company goals. These metrics can be formulated by working your way backwards and developing training based upon meeting these goals.

Finding #4: Develop a Community of Power Users; In order to get the quantity and quality of feedback you desire, you need to develop more training champions.

Champions can come in the form of individual "power users" or "counsels." Essentially, they are trusted groups or individuals learning executives can rely upon for valid feedback regarding training requirements and constructive criticism.

By training "power users" first, learning leaders can analyze the effectiveness of training initiatives before implementing them on a wider scale. This is how to determine what customers really want and need, and whether or not you are giving them what they want.

To view the entire report and read additional insights from the Think Tank, visit http://www.trainingefficiency.com/system/files/Top-4-Ways-to-Bring-Learners-Closer_Think-Tank-Report.pdf.

Three additional Think Tank discussions are planned for 2009. To find the latest results from each roundtable discussion, visit http://www.TrainingEfficiency.com. To inquire about participating, please contact Gordon Johnson at [email protected]. For information on Expertus, please visit www.expertus.com or call Mike Murrell at 803-802-9971.

About Expertus

Expertus is the leading global provider of services that optimize the business impact of learning. For more than a decade, the firm's 500+ learning management professionals have defined and implemented plans, processes and technologies that transform training organizations -- creating measurable value for the world's most successful corporations. Clients include ADP, Cisco, ConocoPhillips, EMC, Honeywell and Lockheed Martin. Every day at these and other companies, more than a million employees, customers and business partners are educated as a result of Expertus' innovative business strategies, outsourcing services and technology-rich solutions.

Based in Silicon Valley, Expertus serves its clients from offices in the US, UK and India. For more information, visit www.expertus.com, or call toll-free (877) 827-8160.

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