(This article was first published on the RTS Group LinkedIn profile as part of the 2022 Stress Awareness Month series exploring how the Learning and Development industry can help reduce the impact of stress in the workplace.)

The dream L&D solution slips easily into every learner’s routine/calendar. They dive straight in, engaging from the start. It all clicks and, suddenly you’re seeing that change in action. The ROI of the solution is incredible, your boss is in awe and you’re onto the next challenge.

L&D (and life) is never that easy though…

If companies don’t look beyond the strategy, the change, the solution, how can L&D bring positive changes to their teams? Even if learners know what’s in it for them, if the solution is too intrusive or badly delivered it’s another tedious task on their to-do list. In stressful work environments, it’s one more thing they don’t need.

If we could talk to learners to find out how they feel, what would their response be?

‼️ “Space in my diary for a two-hour course? I think I can squeeze it in… June 2025?” How easy would it be for you to slot an unexpected course into your diary? Chances are your audience is just as busy.

‼️ “Exams always make me feel like such a failure. I know what I need to know and then just freeze! And if there’s no chance to re-take it…” Do you want to change or are people parroting things back? Change happens when people do-the-doing not talk-the-talk.

‼️ “Why are YOU telling me how to do my job? I know how to do my job!” You know how essential this information is, but do your learners know why they need to know this and what’s in it for them?

‼️“I’ve got this training course to go to, but the car failed its MOT, fuel prices are through the roof, and I’ve just had my utility bill!” You know that real-life problems don’t go away when people clock in, right? Are you providing positive changes to cut through the noise and give learners some control?

‼️“Use this fancy new piece of learning tech, they said. It will change how you do your job, they said. It won’t work on my desktop, they didn’t say.” Are you using digital tech in the easiest, most accessible way? What barriers could stop your technologically shy learners from engaging?

For any learner struggling with stress, any one of these mindsets will stop them from engaging.

It doesn’t have to be this way though…

It’s our job to empower learners, to show them the changes to revolutionise how they do their jobs and take them to the next level. There are so many different tools we can use to connect people with the information they need to know. eLearning, micro-learning, face-to-face/virtual classrooms, gamification… It’s not about the tools you use, it’s about how your learners will use them that makes the difference.

It’s about stepping into their shoes. Meet them where they are so you can walk them to where they need to be.

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