How to build a learning culture within an Agile organization: A Q&A with our guest, Katy Tynan, Principal Analyst at Forrester

Listen to a recap of the Q&A we had with our guest, Katy Tynan, Principal Analyst at Forrester.

Agile and similar project management approaches are great for providing structure. But they often don't leave room for the skills development and learning culture that developers, and employers, want.

This presents a significant risk to an organization. When employees are so focused on being productive that they fail to adapt to new technologies, the business suffers.

This is a recap of the Q&A we had with our guest, Katy Tynan, Principal Analyst at Forrester.

How does experiential & applied learning close skill gaps faster?

Experiential and applied learning allow us to go beyond formal learning experiences to put new skills into practice. We know from adult learning theory that if we don’t use new knowledge, we forget it very quickly. A good learning process involves theory, then practice, then feedback, and then the opportunity to try again. That’s an iterative process that helps move us from theory to mastery. Applied learning can come in different forms. It can include being part of a community of learners and sharing ideas, it can come from role play, it can come from trying out a new tool or technique as part of a work process. Intentionally designing learning programs to include opportunities to apply learning is a great way to make sure that learners have the opportunity to get that practice, and it makes the formal learning more effective.

Hear the full answer in the video below or read the transcript at the end of the article.

Why is having access to Subject Matter Experts critical to closing skill gaps?

There are several roles that subject matter experts can play in the learning process. They can partner with learning designers to help create learning programs to teach specific skills. They can also act as mentors or coaches, answering questions, and facilitating conversations within a community of practice. The challenge is that SMEs often don’t have time explicitly allocated for these tasks, so it ends up being additive to their full workload. They also are not typically experts in learning program design. It’s essential to make sure that you are leveraging your SMEs that is both a positive experience for them, and adds value to the process. It can be helpful to provide resources such as templates or guides for SMEs in order to make sure there is consistency to the content experience for learners.

Hear the full answer in the video below or read the transcript at the end of the article.

How does enabling continual skill building reduce risk to a business?

Risk comes in many forms. One of the biggest risks we see with talent is potentially losing someone with irreplaceable expertise. By building a bench of people with essential skills, we can to some degree mitigate the risk of that talent walking out the door. However, it’s important to recognize other strategies that also help you retain your talent. Career development is often cited as a reason for leaving in exit interviews. So as you consider upskilling, it’s important to also consider the larger aspirations and goals of your talent, rather than just upskilling for reasons that are valuable to the organization.

Hear the full answer in the video below or read the transcript at the end of the article.

How can organizations or departments build the case that these projects should be funded?

In most cases, leaders of organizations recognize the challenge that skills gaps represent. So you don’t typically have to go make the case that skills gaps themselves are a problem. The issue is typically the approach. While adaptive learning technology is important to closing skills gaps, companies also need to make sure they are giving people enough time, both to do formal learning programs and then to do applied and experiential learning. In addition, managers need to have strong coaching skills and work closely with their team members to set and work towards career development goals. Funding is about more than just buying workshops or technology, it’s about committing to becoming a learning organization.

Hear the full answer in the video below or read the transcript at the end of the article.

Watch the full webinar

Watch the full webinar featuring our guest, Katy Tynan, Principal Analyst at Forrester, where she talks about why supporting a life-long learning culture is vital for organizations and how companies find time for skills development and learning within their Agile organizations.


How does experiential & applied learning close skill gaps faster?

Rebekah Dumouchelle: All right, Katy, this is one of my favorite questions right here. How does applied learning and learning through doing, close skill gaps faster? I really think we should probably start off by defining what applied learning is.

Katy Tynan: Yeah, I love it. And I think it's so interesting to me because if you spend a bunch of time with folks who are in the academic side of the house, who are studying learning and adult learning theory and all of these things, there's a lot of research and data about how we learn. But in some ways, even prior to having technology to help us deliver learning, we had some really bad habits in the corporate world about learning. And part of it honestly was habits that we developed because it was convenient for scheduling.

Katy Tynan: So think about 10 years ago, 15 years ago, when you needed to learn something, what did you do? You went to a workshop. So you went away from your desk, you went to some space, whether it was in your organization or offsite, and you sat there with a bunch of your peers and you probably got a big binder full of information and you learned that thing in a classroom. And then what happened? You went back to your desk and your behavior didn't change. Nothing about your actual habits changed at all, because we weren't connecting that learning to the work itself.

Katy Tynan: And so then when we introduce technology to the process, I think what we did was we replicated that bad process and we said, okay, well, let's just deliver content to people electronically instead of having to have them go away in the classroom and somehow that will be better. And it wasn't better. So I want to talk about what good looks like for experiential or applied learning, first of all, and then we can unpack how we do that.

Katy Tynan: When we think about how we learn something new, and I always use the cocktail party analogy. If you walk into a cocktail party and you get introduced to someone and they say, "Hi, my name is Mary," and your first response is, "Oh, hi, Mary, what do you do?" And they start telling you about what they do for a living. You've now lost their name. Their name is gone, and now you're embarrassed because you've completely forgotten their name. Why did you forget their name? Because it wasn't meaningful to you. You didn't apply it, you didn't use it, you didn't do anything with that data point. Now it's gone out of your head.

Katy Tynan: The same thing is true about learning in our work, that if we learn something and don't use it, it goes away so fast because our brains are really efficient and they're like, "No, you don't need that. You're not using that, so we'll just let it go."

Katy Tynan: So applied learning is about taking theory and doing something with it and that something can be a wide range of activities. It might be talking about it in the learning community and saying, "Hey, I saw this thing, I've never tried it. Has anybody else tried it? What does it look like?" It might be actually trying it and saying, "Okay, I'm going to try this new technique or this new process." And of course, most of the time, the first time you try something new, it goes horribly wrong, but you learn a lot about it when you're doing that. So that's what we mean by applied learning is taking that theory, that fact, that tool, that technique, and actually doing it.

Katy Tynan: And I use the head-heart-hands model when I'm talking about behavior change a lot of the time, that we need to know intellectually in our head what we're trying to do, we need to care why we actually need to do it differently, and then we need to do it. And that's when things start to stick. So that to me is what applied learning is really all about is moving something from our head and our theoretical idea of how to do it to our hands of let's try this and let's see what happens, let's find a way to make it stick and be meaningful to us.

Rebekah Dumouchelle: So you said a couple things there, Katy, that I want to zoom in on. That old model of learning where you go off and you have a binder, I just had a flashback to my ITIL certification course. I definitely had some huge books from that. But one benefit of that at the time was that my coworkers couldn't reach me. I could focus on that training at that time. But as you said, if you come back and you don't use it, maybe it wasn't so helpful after all.

Rebekah Dumouchelle: What can companies do to implement and maybe even measure applied learning, if you're not coming away with, oh, I went to this course for a week, I came back with a certificate, I can hang it on my cube or my home wall now, since we're all working from home? How can companies embrace that?

Katy Tynan: So let's start with, when we're trying to measure learning, what we're really trying to measure is behavior change. And so I think we beat around the bush on that all the time, because that's hard. So when we're trying to measure learning, typically we use crude metrics to see whether people are consuming the content, whether they can pass a little quiz at the end, whether they enjoyed it. How many times have you taken an E-learning course and at the end of it, you get a little thing that says, "Hey, give this a rating, five stars." Those don't tell you whether that learning content was effective in helping you do something different, helping you learn a new skill.

Katy Tynan: And so the first thing I would say that organizations need to do is think about how they're looking at measuring a learning experience. So if, for example, I wanted to learn a new programming language. Well, okay, the first thing that I need to do is go and potentially take a class or take some structured content to help me learn some of those skills and techniques. But then I need to be able to do it somewhere and use it somewhere. And the person who's actually closest to my ability to do that is my direct manager.

Katy Tynan: And so this is where managers come in terms of being able to, whether it's team leaders directly, whether it's you have a matrix management structure, somewhere you have to be able to capture, hey, Katy learned this new thing. We hired her and she had these skills and now she has developed this new skill and I've seen her do it and I've seen her progression over time and I would rate her capability a 1, a 2, a 3, a 5, a 10, whatever on that skill. That's an input that we don't always get. And it doesn't have to come from the manager, it can also come from a subject matter expert on the team. It can come from a colleague, it can come from a lot of the different places. But that's meaningful data that helps us see progress.

Katy Tynan: Another meaningful metric is business outcomes, which I talked about before. So just as an example, we've seen a lot of learning platforms be able to now do some integration with business platforms. So think about Salesforce. And if you have a team of sales people, and you have a learning intervention and you want to see if it actually improves the KPIs that those sales people are measured on, well, you can do that, if what you can do is see what it looked like before. What was their time to close beforehand? Or what was their success rate beforehand? And then you have them take the learning intervention and then you look at those KPIs again in two months, three months, six months. And that at least starts to make a straight line.

Katy Tynan: Now it may not be the only factor of course, because that learning intervention is one thing, but it's not everything. But what it means is that first of all, companies need to be more intentional about those things. And then secondarily, they need to put more emphasis on the tools, the practices, the behaviors around doing that stuff.

Katy Tynan: So building in time for people to learn, building in time and spaces for communities of practice to evolve and emerge so that when I'm learning this new thing, I don't feel like I'm the only one that's doing it. I feel like I can call you up and say, "Hey, Rebekah, I'm trying to do this thing and you already know how to do it. Can you help me?" That kind of communication is really important in terms of signaling as an organization, that you have a learning culture.

Rebekah Dumouchelle: You mentioned building in time for people to learn and how the direct manager is probably the best person to see whether or not an employee has learned a new skill and if they're putting it into use. How can direct managers maybe make that room for people to learn or provide space for them to feel psychologically safe to try something? And maybe it's a real project, but maybe it's also something like this, working in a sandbox to try those out before they start applying them to production environments.

Katy Tynan: So there's two things. First of all, one of the first questions that I ask when any organization comes to me and says, "We're have having trouble with skills development," I say, "Is it a performance metric? Do people have skills development goals that are being measured in a meaningful way?" And the answer often is "No," or, "Yes, but it doesn't count for anything."

Katy Tynan: So from a how you get people to do stuff, if you don't care about it, if it doesn't count for anything, people do what they're being paid to do, they do what they're being measured on first. It doesn't mean they never do anything else, it just means they do those two things first. And the outcome of that is anything else gets deprioritized when something shows up on the doorstep that falls under those first two buckets. So when I say that managers need to make time, the first thing they need to do is make it a priority because you can't allocate time to it unless it's defined as a priority.

Katy Tynan: And then the second piece is we are really good organizationally at adding to people's plates. So I think most of us were hired with a job description and the first six months, we really felt like we had a reasonable set of goals and things to achieve. And then what happens? Well, Katy, while you're juggling chainsaws, can you also make soup? Katy, while you're juggling chainsaws and making soup, can you also go mow the lawn? Katy, while you're juggling chainsaws, making soup, mowing the lawn, can you also walk the dog? That's how jobs evolve. And the problem is it becomes unsustainable and we never go back and say, you know what? You don't have to juggle the chainsaws anymore.

Katy Tynan: So part of what a manager needs to do is be really clear on what people are doing, how heavy their workload is, and intentionally remove or deprioritize things in order to create this space, to do the things that are most important, to be able to know how to be successful, and to be able to be inefficient at something while you are learning. So if it's going to take someone who's perfect at a skill an hour to do something, you're probably going to assume that it's going to take me who's not yet perfect at that two hours, three hours, five hours. But if you're still only allocating an hour for that task, because that's how much time the expert takes to do it, you're not creating the space that people need to learn and they're going to default to only doing the things they know how to do really, really well.

Rebekah Dumouchelle: I do feel like juggling chainsaws is probably one of those things you have to be perfect at from the start though. So there's a lot of room for personal injury in that example.

Katy Tynan: But that's a good example. It's funny, we joke about it, but when I talk about safe spaces to learn, a lot of times ... Let's think about an example of a company that's in the financial services industry. Now, if they have a value that says we fail and we learn from failure. Oh, but if that failure is breaking compliance regulations or failing with your clients' money, that's just not okay.

Katy Tynan: And so the juggling chainsaws example, I think is a space where, as managers, if I wanted to teach someone to juggle chainsaws, I might start out with having them juggle foam chainsaws that aren't running until they're really, really good at that before I would let them juggle a non-running, regular chainsaw or however you do it. But part of a manager's job, and you mentioned the idea of a sandbox before, is how do we create some defined spaces to fail safely and to say the consequence for this failure is not that we're going to lose our customers' money, it's not that we're going to end up on the front page of the New York Times. This is a safe place for you to take a risk. And then we build that tolerance up as people's skills develop in an aligned way. But I think sometimes that messaging around learning by failing comes without that caveat of yes, but we have to do that safely.

Transcript - Why is having access to Subject Matter Experts critical to closing skill gaps?

Rebekah Dumouchelle: All right. Really, really good stuff. You did mention earlier in your example that you're learning a new skill, you reach out to me because I might happen to know something about that. That's a really nice segue into our next discussion point, which is why is having access to subject matter experts so critical to closing skill gaps?

Katy Tynan: I think it's tempting to say anyone can learn something just by taking a course or by figuring it out or by experimenting, but it often takes longer to learn something. And I think sometimes we've seen that in our own experiences. I always use the example of public speaking as something that is really easy to see some of these different elements. I can take a public speaking class, I can read a book about becoming a great speaker, but what's really helpful to me is watching TED Talks because I'm watching someone who's really good at this, do it. And that helps me see, not only how to do it well, but different ways of doing it well.

Katy Tynan: So one of the things that subject matter experts help you do is take that learning, that theory and show you how it actually works, show you different ways that they have tried to do it and help you see how you might do it differently yourself, because all of us, I think develop our own styles of things. So I don't speak the same way Barack Obama speaks, but we both speak for a living. And so I think it's really important to be able to contextualize that skill with how I personally apply and deliver it. And the best way for me to do that is to see different people who have expertise and how they approach it.

Katy Tynan: The same is true in sports, and I think we know some of these things intuitively when we look at sports. So if you were going to learn to be a basketball player, you would hire a coach who was a subject matter expert to help you get better at that. If you were going to learn to play golf, you could only get so far by doing it yourself. At some point, you need someone who's an expert to correct certain aspects of what you're doing and that's what helps your learning process progress. So I do think having subject matter experts is really important.

Katy Tynan: With that said, it's also something that companies struggle with because those are the most highly valued people in many cases to do the work. And so if you have a subject matter expert and then they're spending half of their time supporting or mentoring or teaching people, they're not spending half of their time doing work. So you could look at that as an inefficiency, oh no, we have this person and they're only efficient 50% of the time. But if they're lifting 10 other people up who are then going to become your next subject matter experts, and you're making those 10 people that much more efficient and effective in their learning process, then that's actually a great investment of their time.

Katy Tynan: But I think a lot of companies don't do that math. They just look at that time as either lost time or they just make it additive. So they tell that subject matter expert, "Yeah, do your whole job a hundred percent, and also support these 47 people over here who are learning," and that's just not sustainable. So there's a time element there as well.

Rebekah Dumouchelle: I think it does become inefficient though, when it's always one-on-one mentoring and aspects with other employees. What do you think companies can do to change that from the subject matter expert to one mentee, more to a one to many kind of learning transfer?

Katy Tynan: There's a couple of ways to do that. So one way I mentioned before is this idea of a community of practice. So if you have 10 people who are learning the same skill and you have one subject matter expert and they have some sort of structured way to ask questions, share information, then you start to stretch that one to many relationship in a more efficient way.

Katy Tynan: The second way, and this is where technology can be helpful is let's imagine that subject matter expert is doing something and they know that it's something that these folks are trying to learn because they've heard from them. So maybe they do a quick screen recording using a technology and they voice it over and they say this is what I'm doing, this is why I'm doing it. And then that becomes an artifact, it becomes a piece of content that's useful for a lot of people and it reduces the questions that come back to that subject matter expert.

Katy Tynan: So it is about finding ways to make that interaction more efficient, but it is also important to make sure that there's that human to human interaction there, because if you get too far away from that, it starts to become harder for people to connect to and understand what they're trying to figure out.

Rebekah Dumouchelle: It sounds like a really good balance though. You have this artifact that is around, it's available for people who aren't necessarily maybe in the same time zone, or maybe come to the team after that subject matter expert has been there a while. But at the same time, just being able to reach out and ask questions and say, hey, I saw this video you did, or I was looking at the code you wrote, going back to that public speaking example, and your style is completely different. I'm intrigued. Not only is it different, maybe it's more efficient. Can you walk me through that example because it's not how I would approach it?

Transcript - How does enabling continual skill building reduce risk to a business?

Rebekah Dumouchelle: All right. Maybe we can go ahead and move on to the next question that we have. You talked earlier about those four shocks, the systemic risk that's out there, whether that's the pandemic or climate change, were the examples you used that maybe can't be predicted, some of those other shocks that are out there. I think you mentioned the Great Resignation or Great Reshuffle. There are some people that are leaving the workforce, but most of them are moving to other companies. How does enabling continual skill building reduce risk to a business?

Katy Tynan: So I think when we think about risks, there're a bunch of risks that we try to mitigate, and retention is certainly a risk we're always trying to mitigate. If we spend a lot of time and effort and money hiring someone, we want them to stay for a certain period of time, but we don't want them to just stay. We want them to stay and be engaged and do really great work.

Katy Tynan: And so skill building does two things. First of all, it helps us because people want to learn and grow. We hear this all the time, when we look at reasons why people leave organization. Career development is almost always at the top of the list for why people leave an organization is because they don't feel like there're opportunities for them to learn and grow. So by creating really good foundational skill development paths and plans for people, you're helping to mitigate that risk.

Katy Tynan: The second risk that we try to mitigate is the risk of not having the right talent to do the work we're trying to do. If you have an empty seat because you can't hire a person to do that work, then that work may not be getting done, or you may have to hire a really expensive piece of external talent, whether that's a freelancer or a contractor or someone like that to come in and do that work because you don't have the ability to do it in house. So the gap between your strategy and the execution of that strategy, a lot of times rests on and is grounded on this idea of having the right skills.

Katy Tynan: The other piece is continuous learning helps you be a more resilient organization when change happens. So when you have some kind of systemic risk event and you need people to change their behavior, if they are used to a very rigid environment where they know exactly what they're supposed to do every day and nothing ever changes and they don't have to learn anything new, it becomes really hard to shift gears and say, no, no, wait, everything's different. Now we have to change. Now we have to evolve. If we're in that habit, if we're flexing that muscle all day, every day of growth and development and learning, it becomes easier than to shift and turn the boat as different things come to play that change your strategy or that change your goals or that change your outcome.

Katy Tynan: So I think there're a lot of ways that skills development, that career development, that learning help you as an organization progress. I also still think that there are risks you can't mitigate. So there are some things that are going to happen that you can't control. And so you do your best to understand what those are, but at the end of the day, part of the idea of having a workforce that is continuously in the state of development is what helps you deal with unexpected risks.

Rebekah Dumouchelle: I'm going to revisit some of those statistics that we shared earlier today. And one of them was that 12% of employees say they leave for more money and that 53% would consider leaving a company for an opportunity to learn. Now, there are the famed companies out there, the Facebooks, the Amazons, the Googles that have a ton of money that they can throw at employees and lure them away. Do you think this opportunity to learn and this continual learning environment, is that enough to offset it for companies that just can't compete on the money?

Katy Tynan: In some cases it has to be. So if you look at an Amazon and they recently announced that they had a salary cap, and by that, I mean a base compensation cap of $160,000 a year and they recently elevated that to $350,000 a year. Now that's an astonishing amount of money to have-

Rebekah Dumouchelle: It is.

Katy Tynan: ... first of all, just to raise the roof. And part of that was because they were experiencing what a lot of organizations are experiencing right now, which is technology talent is limited. It was before the pandemic. That isn't new to us who've worked in tech for a long time, that tech talent was hot and has been hot for a long time.

Katy Tynan: And they wanted to use the lever that they had to pull in order to attract and retain their talent, because we're all competing now with a global marketplace because in a lot of cases, tech talent is industry agnostic. I can work in financial services as a tech person, just as easily as I can work in a high tech company, just as easily as I can work in a retail company. And so you have this really broad spectrum of organizations competing with each other for the same talent all the time.

Katy Tynan: And yes, money is a factor, but it's not the only factor. And there're always going to be companies you can't compete with because of money, but you have other levers that you can think about. And career development and learning is certainly a powerful one, but there are some other levers too, I think that we want to look at.

Katy Tynan: When you go all the way back to that Google research and the idea of psychological safety, I think culture matters a lot, especially now in terms of where people choose to work. They want to know that they're coming into an organization that behaves in a trustworthy manner, that communicates transparently, that supports their desire for work-life balance, that supports their career development and growth.

Katy Tynan: So when you're looking to retain talent, I think the ability to develop and learn and grow is a really powerful lever and tool, but it also has to come with, yes, we're going to give you that opportunity to learn and grow, and we're not going to do that as additive to all of the other things that we're going to ask you to do, which ultimately will burn you out.

Katy Tynan: And so I think when we see our organizations and our clients trying to solve this problem, they are looking at it through all of those different lenses and saying, which of these is our biggest asset as an organization? And how can we play to our strengths instead of trying to compete dollar for dollar with some of these organizations that have deeper pockets?

Rebekah Dumouchelle: I think it's also really important to look at like this idea of developing your bench of talent too. So when you have this continual learning environment, when you reward learning, when you make time for it, you have more space to hire junior developers, junior technologists, junior product people and really train them and bring them up and help them grow their careers, and then maybe they are more embedded in that culture. What do you think about that?

Katy Tynan: I do. I think it is a practice that takes discipline. I see over and over again, organizations who have a knee jerk of, we can hire a person for this job, and they have in their head this perfect person that's sitting somewhere waiting for their call, who has all of the hard skills, all of the soft skills, all of the leadership skills, all of the business acumen and is going to show up on the doorstep and just make everything perfect. Those people don't exist.

Katy Tynan: So when you have people in the organization who know the culture, who know the processes, who have a really strong network within the organization, but they don't have the skills they need to do the work, I think we see them as a more concrete risk because we know them. And so we know the risk we're taking, whereas hiring that person from outside feels like less of a risk, but is actually more of a risk. We don't know if they're going to come in and adapt to our culture. We don't know if they're going to have the aspirations and attributes that we really need. And we're going to spend a lot of time and effort going out and talking to a lot of people to try to uncover those people that we think are going to solve all our problems.

Katy Tynan: So I do think it feels a little bit viscerally risky to take a more junior person and put them in a more senior role rather than hiring externally, but once you do it a few times, I think you start to get into the habit of it and you recognize what you really need to do to support those folks. And if you do it well, it has a lot of really good knock on effects because people see those internal opportunities for promotion, they see that career growth and development, and they see that that bar is not so high that it's not possible for them to get over it. And I think that's a really important piece.

Katy Tynan: I still think people are going to try and hire unicorns because that's how we are, but I would just encourage you to think about that longer term process of, as you said, developing that bench of talent so that you have talent at the ready before you need it, rather than being in a position of asking someone to make a really big jump, because they're not really ready, which doesn't set them up for success and doesn't set you up for success.

Rebekah Dumouchelle: I think even somebody who's coming in as that unicorn, it's important for them to take a look at a company and see how they're supporting their current employees. So what is the career growth of their teammates? Why are they looking outside? Why aren't they training the people that they have, or is it just the skill gap right now that still needs to be closed? So I think those are perfectly valid questions for an employee coming in, whether they're in the development phase or they are that unicorn, right?

Transcript - How can organizations or departments build the case that these projects should be funded?

Rebekah Dumouchelle: We've talked a lot about how important this is, what employees get out of it, what employers get out of it. That brings me to my next question, which is whether you're the employee or the manager, how do you convince your organization and build a case that these kinds of projects should be funded?

Katy Tynan: So we have a couple of data points on this, which I will go to in a second. But my answer to this is, I don't know that you need to make the business case. I feel like the business case is there. And the reason I say that is if we go to the next slide, what we see in the marketplace is when we ask executives about skills development, they almost universally say, "Yeah, skills development is a really big problem and it's putting our business strategy at risk that we can't get the people we need to execute on our business strategy." So I don't feel like we need to go to leaders with our hat in our hands and say, pretty please with sugar on top, help us do learning. I think most executives are already on that bus.

Katy Tynan: The problem that we see is twofold. The first is in many organizations learning "belongs to," and I do that with air quotes because learning belongs to all of us, but learning is measured by and often controlled by HR. And that's because part of skills development and career development is an HR responsibility and there're a lot of really good reasons to have some centralized viewpoint, and also because HR folks tend to be pretty steeped in the science of learning and the science of development and know some of those things.

Katy Tynan: But if you go to the next slide, the challenge is that our HR folks are really busy right now with a lot of critical priorities. We've got this issue with retention. We have issues with engagement. We have DEI work going on. We have workforce wellbeing issues and burnout. We have compliance. We have a lot of stuff happening and the challenge is with all of those things going on, reskilling and upskilling falls down the priority list, which is not to say HR doesn't care about it because they really do. I come from an HR background and most of my network is HR folks and what I hear from them is that they're struggling to try to find the ways to do all of these things and it's hard.

Katy Tynan: And so the result of that, the outcome of that is that some of the responsibility for this starts to fall on the line to business. The line to business are the ones stepping up to the plate and saying, "Okay, it's sixth, seventh, eighth on your priority list, but it's the top of our priority list, so we need to figure this out."

Katy Tynan: So what I always say is I think this needs to be collaborative in a really meaningful way, that HR brings some very important viewpoints and perspectives and also some tools and resources and knowledge to the table, but the line to business also need to come to the table with an approach and with a commitment for that time, that coaching culture, those things that they're going to do to make this work. And that in turn is what creates that overall strategy that works.

Katy Tynan: So I haven't really seen organizations struggle to get funding when they have that good, comprehensive plan that says we know what we're trying to achieve, we know what metrics it's going to impact, we have a strategy for really making this work. I don't think any executive is going to push you out of the room when you try to make that case. But I think when you just throw a statement of work on the table, or you throw a purchase order on the table and say, we want to buy this, or we want to buy that, I would question that as an executive. Okay, you want to buy that? What are you going to do with it? How is that going to work?

Katy Tynan: And so that goes back to all the things we've talked about before, about applied learning, about learning culture, about the manager's role, about all these other things that underpin the success of those technology investments to mean that they actually produce a learning outcome that's valuable to the organization.