Recorded Webinar

Beating the Odds for a Successful HR Program Rollout

Want to learn more about PILOT? We’d love to connect with you and share how our award-winning, virtual employee development program offers HR leaders a simple way to boost productivity, morale and engagement.


[00:00:00] Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you find yourself in the world. We are so excited that you are here today for our webinar, Beating the Odds for a Successful HR Development Program Rollout. My name is Azure Rooths, and I bring you greetings from the Washington, Dc. area. I want to give you an overview of what you can expect and how you can be present and vibrant in today's session. I would like to introduce my amazing producer, Laura, today. Laura, I'm going to turn it over to you.

[00:00:37] I'm delighted to be with you here today. So throughout our time together, you can feel free to use the chat to throw out any questions for either Corey Ann or Ben. And please note that today's session is being recorded. You will be sent a recording of this session at in a day or two. And with that, let's go ahead [00:01:00] and jump in Azure.

[00:01:01] Perfect. So, I would like to start off by introducing you to PILOT's founder and CEO, Ben Brooks. He's one of HR executives at PILOT. Top 100 HR tech influencers and the author of HR Executives, coaches Corner, where he shares insight and advice on the dynamic business landscape and how HR professionals can maximize their impact on their businesses.

[00:01:30] A pillar is the HR industry. Ben Brooks is the founder, CEO, and sole proprietor of PILOT, an award winning virtual employee development and group coaching program. Throughout his career as an HR executive himself and as a private CEO and executive coach, Ben has been a driving force to help other HR professionals avoid needless turnover.

[00:01:55] He's also an active advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, [00:02:00] having served on the Board of Directors for Outserve SLDN, which helped repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and co founded an LGBT employee resource group at his previous management consulting firm. If you're not following Ben Brooks on LinkedIn and Twitter, you are missing an opportunity to know what it's like to have a dynamic and knowledgeable HR influencer around.

[00:02:26] And today he's here with us to share with you the shocking high cost of employee turnover. Please be so kind, go in the chat and put a plus one and say welcome to Ben. Thank you for being here today. Welcome. How are you?

[00:02:44] I'm great, Azure. Excited to have this conversation.

[00:02:47] Excellent. Thank you.

[00:02:48] Now, also joining us today, we have Corey Ann, who is the Director of Customer Success at PILOT. You can see her here as a representative of the many [00:03:00] customers that she supports at PILOT. Corey Ann also loves helping people grow their skills, find purpose at work and achieve greatness.

[00:03:09] Corey Ann has spent the majority of her career supporting innovative teams in a variety of fields, from nonprofits to online education programs to video technology. She is obsessed with international leadership, dynamic facilitation, and she is a creative problem solver. While Corey Ann brings her full self to work, she also fills her cup by spending time with her family and celebrating staff members at non profits across the US through a project called Celebrate the Helpers.

[00:03:46] As we move forward, let me share with you a little bit about PILOT. PILOT was founded to help everyone feel powerful at work. We show participants how to use self reflection, [00:04:00] solicit and accept feedback, advocate for themselves, and take effective action in their organizations. This is done through four methods of learning.

[00:04:11] First, technology enabled group coaching, where participants are broken into groups or cohorts to begin their PILOT development journey. Second, we utilize individual reflective activities that can be done asynchronously, on their own time, and on any device. Thirdly, we utilize executive firesides chats, which give participants access to higher level executives in order to learn the rules of work.

[00:04:42] And finally, we utilize one on one future focus manager feedback sessions, where both the manager and employee focus on development objectives, and aspirations, which are separate from any performance [00:05:00] conversation. Woo!

[00:05:05] We do a lot. And with that, I am ready to jump in to our first question. If you are ready, type in the chat, I'm ready. I'm here for it. I want to know all the things.

[00:05:22] And Azure, can I actually interject right there?

[00:05:24] Absolutely, please.

[00:05:25] As you all are getting primed and I super appreciate this.

[00:05:27] We're actually curious why you're here. Why did you come? Put in the chat box. Why are you here today? This is a very specific webinar about rolling out HR development programs and rolling out those programs intentionally and doing them well, avoiding pitfalls. So why did you opt in for this? And then why did you show up and show there were a lot of competing priorities put in the chat box, why you are here today so that Ben and I can really ensure that you're getting your needs met, you're getting any information you may need, and that we can really support you in this hour and make it really effective for you.

[00:05:58] I love it. Yes. So Alex is in [00:06:00] the midst of creating programs. Laura wants to just generally get some information. Are you about to roll something out, anybody? Are you about to like, are you in the middle of it and you're needing some help? Are you looking post at like something that already happened?

[00:06:12] I'd love to know that just helps us really make this time impactful for you because we're doing this for you and we're really excited to.

[00:06:18] This is awesome. Thanks, Corey Ann. Danielle is prepping to roll out a new program. Christine wants to learn some best practices to increase retention. So I believe that we're going to cover all of these today.

[00:06:32] So with that, let's start with our very first question. I think we only have four, maybe five, but here we'll go. This first one is going to be for you, Ben. To ensure a strong rollout, it's imperative to start planning before you sign on the dotted line for any new program. What would you say do PMs need to watch out for early in the process, and how can they avoid early missteps?

[00:06:56] Ben, what are your thoughts?

[00:06:58] Well, I think, sometimes in my [00:07:00] experience in the corporate world, I was a senior vice president, there you start working on something, you start looking for something in the market, or you build something internally, and it takes a lot of time to find the thing, to get it contracted, to get the approvals, to work on the implementation, and there's this sort of thing that by the time you go to kick off a program, you're worn out. right? It'd be like running a race and then you arrive at the start line when you think you're done.

[00:07:26] And so that there's a whole thing around implementations where it's a continual process, right? And so I think that, PMs have to be really mindful of the amount of energy and resource you're going to need to make a rollout successful is far more than just sort of flipping the switch on an IT system or platform or turning on a course or running a workshop or a training program in person that you've got to really think beyond that.

[00:07:53] Like, where does this go? How does this stay alive? How are you measuring it? Where does this connect to next? I think that's one of the biggest [00:08:00] pitfalls is people just are thinking of that next milestone, but you have to realize there's always a mountain beyond the mountain, right? So you've got to think about that.

[00:08:07] Corey Ann, what do you think?

[00:08:09] I totally agree. I think there's also a piece of, you know, There's so many players sometimes in implementation or rollout, there's the end user, there's all the stakeholders, there's the people who are making the decisions, who are influencing the decision. So I'm curious from your perspective, and I'm interested in the chat, if you've been both a, recipient of a program that's rolled out, And if you've also purchased a program that's rolled out or built a program, like if you held both seats, because that gives a lot of empathy into being able to avoid those pitfalls.

[00:08:38] So if you've held both seats to say it's me, I've done both seats because that you're already coming in with a lot of information of, okay, like Ben said, I'm running the race, but then I got to run the race over here with these new folks. And this really goes to sometimes when there's vague objectives and there's no clear why.

[00:08:55] Everybody in all this, in all those people are really confused [00:09:00] and there, there's just no clarity, which means there's no urgency, which means making decisions is harder. And so when we think about, how do we plan accordingly, how do we make sure everyone's. in the right seat, understanding what's happening.

[00:09:13] Ben's been really helpful. And even when we work with customers is how do we start with the end in mind? What are you really trying to achieve? And Ben and I talked about this the other day, we have an amazing customer who they're really focused on the, who is going to get the program. And we're getting stuck on what are you actually wanting to accomplish?

[00:09:30] And so in our conversations, they were like looking at people's names and roles and trying to figure out who in this implementation. And we paused and said, Hey let's pull back. Let's actually think about what are you trying to achieve? Let's look at those objectives. And then do these people actually help you with those objectives?

[00:09:48] If your objective is to have a more vocal culture, are these the people you want to put in it? Oh, you're actually putting your hypos in this. But they're the ones who are already really vocal. Okay. Now let's shift of who we're going to bring [00:10:00] into this. And then how does that actually affect the rollout?

[00:10:02] So it was really starting with that end in mind and identifying what are the objectives we want to have occur. And like Ben said, like what's the mountain beyond the mountain, right? What are we really moving the needle on?

[00:10:13] And I think in HR, you may have been in a conversation where last year you got engagement survey results, or executives made DEI commitments, or the businesses in transition is you had to maybe lay off people and rejigger things, or you've shifted to hybrid or remote, there could be a bunch of different things in that why behind it, but realize that the employees that get the program, or maybe the managers that are involved in the program don't always know that.

[00:10:39] And so what I often call high context communication, or anthropologists call it a thick explanation, is bringing people along to say, Hey, so we're rolling this thing out because, we've all probably been crushed. And maybe if you can put a minus one in the chat, we'll try to do something new. If you've ever rolled out a training or development program and employees grumble, it's one more [00:11:00] thing to do.

[00:11:01] Right? Or managers, like you spent all this time buying this thing or building this thing or designing this thing and then people, and people even ask for it. Employees ask for more training and you give it to them and they say we're too busy. It's sort of devastating for me when that's happened to me and often that was because I lacked the thick explanation.

[00:11:19] To say, hey, so we got a bunch of data, or you asked for this, it's taken some time, and this is why obviously getting things rolled out faster is really important, but you have to bring people along, because for people that are overwhelmed and burnout, which is a lot of people, it just occurs is, One more thing to do is Laura put in the chat there, and in reality, it's not one more thing to do it's an opportunity it's an investment in the people, but it has to be rolled out in a different way.

[00:11:47] And I think there are things like compliance training or annual reviews or rolling out revised handbooks that HR does, where you're like gosh dang it you have to do this and we have to have 96 or 100 percent compliance. These development programs, if you make [00:12:00] it compulsory, it sucks. If you make it compelling, people want to do it.

[00:12:03] So if it's in the realm of take out the trash or do your taxes, good luck, right? But if it's in the realm of like a Beyonce concert, or going to the Super Bowl, then that's something that we want to do, right?

[00:12:14] But I'm curious about that though, because even, we, Companies still have the mandatory programs.

[00:12:19] Like we got to do it. Is there still a spot to share the why beyond like, we have to do this legally or we have to do this as part of our culture agreement? Does that still factor in in the same way?

[00:12:30] It's a different why, right? So I think that it's going to be more about, the commitment to people telling their stories.

[00:12:35] And this is where I think sometimes we do a lot of stuff with the head, but we have to think about the heart. Telling stories of people that have been through these programs in the past and the impact that it had on them, you know, last week, you and I and Azure and Laura Raul at Nestle headquarters, one of our customers, right?

[00:12:49] And we heard firsthand from people about the real world impact that development had on employees in their marriages and their health and promotions and how they manage their [00:13:00] teams. So I think that makes a huge difference when you bring personal stories to it, rather than just kind of like, at first you're gonna do this, and then you're gonna do that fine on the process and the how, but really get 'em excited on a personal why.

[00:13:13] Yeah. So with that, you guys bring up some great points. The three key that the ideas that stick out to me is, Ben, you said the kind of one more thing and Corey Ann the mandatory programs. And then Ben, you came back and said real world impacts. I want to move forward to a poll to get some of the feedback from our members.

[00:13:32] Which of these steps is most challenging to you right now? Right. So we said, do your people feel like it's one more thing or mandatory programs real world impacts. A program has been launched. Let us know which of these steps is most challenging for you personally, starting with the end in mind, defining success, and if none of these fit, go in the chat and tell us what your challenges are.[00:14:00]

[00:14:00] I'm loving this Azure and I'm laughing. I hope Ben is laughing too. Cause starting with the end in mind is one of the things that I, as I've gotten better at, but it is still a struggle. Cause I'm like, I can do this thing today. I can do this thing tomorrow. And then next week I can do this thing.

[00:14:13] It's like, what are we trying to do in six months? What are we trying to do in a year? What are we trying to do in two years? Like, Oh, let me like sit, get off of a meeting. Yeah. write down some stuff like run it through some people that I trust that takes a lot more intention than just like today, today, today, today some giggling.

[00:14:30] I love that. That's the first one

[00:14:32] It's the idea that Steve Covey begin with the end in mind, but then even taking it longer than that to the Keller Williams, the one thing, what's our one thing?

[00:14:43] Carrie added in the chat, employee and manager buy in. So if you've got a different challenge, drop it in the chat.

[00:14:48] That's perfect, Carrie. That's a huge thing that, that I know, you know, it really irritates HR, right? When you spend money on these programs, whether it's staff or third party program costs, and then people don't buy in or use it.

[00:14:59] I see the [00:15:00] results are ready already, Laura. So 40 percent are having speak the same language as your stakeholder and 32 percent are connecting results to business goals. Yep. Absolutely. That's something that we see all the time when we are onboarding new customers is how do we do the work today to last for a while?

[00:15:14] And then how do we up level this to people so that they understand and can connect those business goals to your act, your actions.

[00:15:22] I think on the language, it's very easy in HR to be in sort of HR speak. You may be a person with a talent management or organizational development learning, DEI, HR generalist and business partner background.

[00:15:34] And we'll have terms, we'll talk about competencies and we'll talk about if a competency versus a skill. We'll talk about a leadership framework or an assessment or, skip levels and three sixties and psychometrics. But the challenge is, is that doesn't mean anything. Right? That's like going to a doctor and them speaking in medical jargon, and you need to know, am I going to be okay or not?

[00:15:56] Or what do I need to do? So I think that that is a really [00:16:00] key thing that we use accessible language and we have to think more like marketers. I did a talk once about making HR sexy again, which was all about using a marketing language and marketing paradigms, getting people excited, but having it be clear.

[00:16:15] When you're on Instagram or TikTok or LinkedIn or anywhere, then you see ads, right? They're getting better and better, right? They're the speak, right? You like, you know, right away what the thing is, you know, why you should be interested in it, you know, all these things. And that's what people are expecting.

[00:16:30] So if that language isn't there, that's often a big gap is making sure you have consumer grade, which implies to your managers too, because your managers aren't HR people either. You need to speak to managers and employees often in a pretty similar way.

[00:16:44] Ben, that's such a great point. So you just said when the language isn't there.

[00:16:49] I want to tie that right into our next question as we move on. What happens after purchasing a new program and you're planning for implementation? [00:17:00] Implementations are often at risk of going off the rails or losing some steam along the way. If they do, team members are likely to lose focus.

[00:17:11] Why does this happen and what can project managers do to avoid it? Corey Ann, let me start with you.

[00:17:20] I just have so much empathy for people who are navigating implementations right now. Especially if they're building their own or they're using the vendor. This first one we have here is this timing isn't right.

[00:17:29] And I mean that in the broadest of senses, like literally you bought something and you are trying to launch it in Q4. And it turns out that that's your busiest time for your sales folks. And this is who it was designed for. And we got a lot of like, you know, we got a lot of challenges we're meeting.

[00:17:42] It also could literally mean. We bit off more than we can chew. We chose a vendor where we thought they were going to do more than they say they can. And now we have to take on more and we're actually swamped. And so our timing to a lot for our resources is not accurate. Like we cannot do this. So that's [00:18:00] one of the.

[00:18:01] One of the easiest things to avoid and at the same time is one of the biggest factors that will absolutely derail an implementation is we thought we were going to be able to do this by this time frame and now we're not and now who's directing us to get us back on course. How are we still going to make it to the station by the end of the year at least?

[00:18:16] Like, what's the vision? And again, this kind of touches on like, there aren't enough resources and there's poor follow through. One of my favorite things and one of my favorite conversations I have with customers is when they just drive home and we get really into the details. And it's like, who is doing what by when?

[00:18:35] What's the result? How are we evaluating it? A lot of times we're giving this information to them, but it's really common for our customers to also say, what does good look like? Is this on track? How do I know I'm doing it right? How do we know we're doing it well? And those are really important questions to keep us moving in the same direction, keep us on the same page so that we can make it to the station on time and so that we can navigate challenges.

[00:18:59] I don't think [00:19:00] I've ever run an implementation that hasn't had something pop up, just like a webinar, like something's going to pop up, just like a meeting, like something's going to pop up and you can plan and you can do the best you can. But when the pieces are in place to really move that structure forward with that why, with those clear expectations, that really keeps you in that lane of, we're still going to accomplish it.

[00:19:20] We can make some adjustments, but we're still moving forward and we still have a path to success. Then I want to talk to you about make implicit explicit, because it's one of my favorite things that you say. Can you touch on that for a little bit?

[00:19:33] Sure, I think what I would probably prefer to touch on actually is the follow through and managing expectations.

[00:19:39] Just, you know, you roll out a program and you send out an email, you put something on the internet, you're like, okay they know the people that succeed are doing a hand to hand, I mean, we talked to one of our customers at S&P Global, and she sent a individual message on Microsoft Teams to, I think, 180 people, and she copied and pasted and copied and pasted and copied and pasted.

[00:19:59] And this is a [00:20:00] vice president, right? That's a hand to hand game, but got people's attention, got them engaged. She got a lot of feedback. So I think that's such a really strong, important thing to do. I think on managing expectations, the the thing is also, I've had this where we roll out something and executives assume because compliance is at 96%, we're going to have 96 percent of people have a development conversation, have a feedback plan.

[00:20:25] And you got to start with benchmarks so they know what good looks like because if they don't, they're going to use some other thing. What their friend's company does or their spouse's company does or their last organization or the last data point. So if good looks like 20 percent of people showing up to a lunch and learn, you need to let people know in advance.

[00:20:42] Not afterwards and then justify 20 percent when they think it's horrible. In advance, you need to say, hey, what we should expect is about one in five of our employees are going to come to something like this. And then when you have 26 percent of people come, you can say, hey, we exceeded the benchmark by six percentage points.

[00:20:57] Then all of a sudden you win it, you have a win rather than them [00:21:00] still thinking you have a 74 percent gap.

[00:21:06] Such a great perspective. Corey Ann, I want to go back to your question. Is it important to tie what you just shared with Ben back into that? Can we loop that in Ben, your, those perspectives?

[00:21:23] Yeah, and I'm loving that, that even in Ben's example, I just put in the chat, typed super fast, I missed his name, but Ben gave an example of how to tie back what's happening to the stakeholders.

[00:21:33] Like he was speaking that stakeholder language. I mean, he was talking about percentage points. He was talking about above benchmarks. Those are all really crystallized ways to level up your experience and still show that you're on top of your game, right? Like you're still showing that there's progress, there's movement, and you're in alignment with what they're hearing across the board from sales, from marketing, from growth, all those areas.

[00:21:55] So I love that, Ben, you just like, Shot that out because it was so good. I think [00:22:00] in terms of where there's a lot of opportunity, again, in the thought of like, we get really tight into what we're trying to do, there's always an opportunity to just visually map out the progress. of that large program of a large implementation and then align standards and expectations throughout, right?

[00:22:20] Like we want this to be company wide. Okay. What does that mean? How can we bring in our values? How can we bring in team announcements? Do we want to do something vibrant? Do we want to do something different? Do we want to do something in alignment with what the CEO is trying to accomplish? Like when you pull back and you can really look, you know, Ben talks a lot about different levels of management.

[00:22:38] This is being in the jet, like way up high, then you're able to really say let's really make this powerful and let's stay on course, right? We want to track that success against benchmarks, but you're looking at an entirety of an implementation and program as opposed to just, we have to get the managers bought in on this one email, right?

[00:22:57] It also allows for the ability to think about all [00:23:00] the different touch points. That occur, and when you see the implementation as an opportunity to collect champions, it almost becomes exciting. So if we're rolling out a program and now all of a sudden we're letting all the VPs know that we're doing this, and then we're letting all the C-suite know, and then we're letting the board know, it's who's raising their hands? Who's responding to those on those calls? Who's, asking follow up questions? Oh, those are like potential champions. Like those are people that have an interest in this. Now, all of a sudden, I had one person who may be really interested in the program or two people, but it turns out even through the implementation process, I've been able to get more support.

[00:23:35] Build more of a business case and really set us into motion for when we need to drive engagement, when we need to put out results and when we need to look back at the program. So when you see it as a broader experience, I think it allows for this ability to manage those expectations, really track success against benchmarks so that you're garnering that energy and you're staying on track.

[00:23:57] I love that. Ben [00:24:00] Koryan talked a lot about champions. In your experience, how have champions helped? Programs stop from being derailed. Why are they so important?

[00:24:10] It's a great question. And, Celeste or gray in the chat said more so manager buy in and involvement being a challenge. Champions tie right to manager buy in and involvement. Champions also tie into the item in the poll that was the second item that was most voted for, which we didn't get to talk about yet, which is connecting results to business goals. So the champion does a couple things, right? They help prioritize, right? You know, certain things in an organization, you'll know what's really important or what's not important, sometimes by who's in the meeting or who sends the intranet article, or the email, or where the budget's coming from. People in an organization align to power, align to influence. People want to be a champion, if you've got someone beyond HR, right, someone let's say in the business, Or in the organization, you might work at a non profit or [00:25:00] government organization.

[00:25:00] We work, by the way, with a lot of non profits. And we love our non profit work. You'll have someone that could be the COO or a business unit leader or someone else. That champion basically says, this is important. And it's important because it's linked to our goals or our performance.

[00:25:17] Now, managers want to always be, messaging that they are helping move the results of the organization. So if you tie the training and development program to the business strategy, and the executive sponsor is a great person to bridge those two things, That's a great way. Then managers in their performance review say, Hey, I got more people into these programs or I supported their development, et cetera.

[00:25:39] Because otherwise it's the opposite where we talked about it's your taxes or it's the trash, like, Oh, shucks. One more damn thing I got to do. And it feels like more comes out of their hide rather than it makes them successful.

[00:25:53] I love that. And when you're talking about tying business strategies, I want to take a [00:26:00] moment to pivot as we move forward to an article that you wrote and see if you can speak a little bit into this resource that you wrote.

[00:26:08] It encapsulates much of the information that we're sharing about. In this article part of the series was things that we need to realize about rollout.

[00:26:20] What else? You have some key things, but if there were two takeaways that the members here who've shown up said, These are my problems. These are the answers.

[00:26:33] Ben, how do you hone that in for them?

[00:26:36] Well, I think, remove barriers is a key one. If you've studied change management, you often think about people are at point A, you want to get them to point B. And ideally, they should be as little friction as possible, right? You know how frustrated you are when you go to an airport or a hotel or a place to shop or get food, and it's just really hard to do something, it's irritating, and people will give up.

[00:26:59] And [00:27:00] so this is, the removing barriers can be passwords and single sign on, moving barriers can be contact information, removing, I mean, it may sound really simple, but you know, I've seen training programs where people will send out an email and they'll say, Hey, here's the date and the time and the zoom link, and it's in the body of an email and it's going to 30 people, which means 30 people have to create a meeting invite, which means 30 opportunities for them to put it on the wrong time and the wrong day, or to not copy the link.

[00:27:26] Okay. And that's a barrier. So just send out a freaking meeting invite is a simple way like you don't have to buy a new piece of technology to use Outlook or G Suite right you can just use the thing you have, so and then I think also the expectations that a lot of times work abilities Laura says that's one of the things we talk about in PILOT It makes such a big difference.

[00:27:44] But also the managing expectations of what the program is, how long it'll take, what's included, how often, most of the time, employees, managers alike are like, what is this thing? And they show up and they like and it's annoying. They're like, don't you trust us? We have a good thing. We [00:28:00] bought, a great program like PILOT.

[00:28:01] We built a great program called LEAD or something like that. But you want to communicate in advance, because there's a lot of people that need a lot of detail and data, and it's typically more than you think. We're always surprised, Corey Annna and I, when we're rolling these things out, people are like, Well, I want to know who else is going to be in the thing, and I want to know how long are we going to have a break, and where can I access this, and what if So think about the frequently asked questions, like, this is the empathy that ties to the barriers, but also the expectations.

[00:28:26] Here's how exactly how much time this will take. Here's what happens that makes a huge difference. I mean, Corey Ann, what, any other kind of things that come to you that like really make a difference?

[00:28:35] I'm just loving all of that because there's so many experiences we've been through with our customers where this has really been a make or break.

[00:28:41] And it's these small, very intentional pieces. So I think there's a lot of energy that we can bring to rolling out a program. I would say one really critical step is also just pausing, and to Ben's point, thinking about that user experience, thinking about the next step and then through that lens, [00:29:00] understanding what, how these play into that.

[00:29:02] So what's the success? How are you, what expectations do they have? How can you remove barriers for them? It's like, but pausing, and not just like fixing, fixing, fixing. And then the other thing is, if you're working with a vendor, Work, work that vendor, right?

[00:29:17] Yeah.

[00:29:17] Get your money's worth. Right. I mean, you putting time investment, you're bringing the expertise of your company, but they're there to partner with you truly.

[00:29:24] And so give them information, tell them challenges, ask them for best practices. Like they get the most out of them that you can, because that's their level of expertise. Right. So I would say definitely lean on your vendors because they should be able to show up and shine with you.

[00:29:41] What a great perspective and one of the key things that I'm hearing you say is make the main thing the main thing put the expectation on the program that is supporting you because ultimately when your program managers are happy your employees will want to engage more [00:30:00] in the program product or service, which leads us right to my next question.

[00:30:07] As you approach your program launch, there can be a lackluster response from staff and participants. Ben, you started off by talking about that. What can PMs do to activate employees and promote a strong engagement right off the top? Ben, let me hear from you first, and then you can orient.

[00:30:27] Yeah, I think it ties to that last point around sustainment on the last slide, which is, you have to think about like it's springtime in the northern hemisphere, right?

[00:30:33] So gardens, yards, things like that, you don't just plant seeds, you got a water, you got a weed, you got a prune, you got a harvest, there's like more work. So I think at the beginning, though, you want to have a quick win. right? Employees don't want a ton of wind up. How do you give them a taste, right?

[00:30:51] You sit down at a great restaurant, they give you a little mouge bouge. They give you a little bread basket. They do something like that, right? Like that's a great experience. So you want your employees to get a flavor [00:31:00] of how good this thing is, right? That's the rolling it out with flair, you know, aspect of it, and a quick one where they see the value or they get some sort of recognition.

[00:31:10] And I think that the the excitement, the flair could be the senior executive, the executive champion that kicks it off or that tells a personal story. We've had customers that send out swag, they send out, hoodies or water bottles or things like that.

[00:31:23] They bring food, they bring people together physically to do some of these things, but something has to interrupt the pattern. And especially if you do this remote or virtual, and maybe you could put a plus one if you're trying to do any learning programs, virtual or remote, if you just drop a plus one just so we know in the chat Because it's harder to get someone's attention.

[00:31:42] If I'm on Zoom or Teams meetings or WebEx meetings all day, a remote or virtual thing looks just like a meeting. Whereas if I'm in an office and I'm in a cubicle, then all of a sudden I go to the auditorium or the training classroom or something, it feels different because it's a state change. Like literally, I am in a different seat in a different [00:32:00] room.

[00:32:00] But if I'm on my laptop in the same tool that I use for everything else, it doesn't feel the same. So you have to, I think, Azure rolled us out with music at the beginning. It probably sounded a little bit different when you came to this webinar. There was energy that Azure and Laura brought, about warming, setting the tone, getting people excited.

[00:32:15] You want to do a lot of those same things. Corey Ann?

[00:32:18] Oh my gosh, I'm loving it. And it's one of my favorite parts is actually thinking with customers around how they want to roll it out with Flare, but doing it in a way that aligns to the company and leverages what the company is already striving for. And there's a little bit too of let's do a low code version.

[00:32:34] One of our operating principles is do a low code version. We would be amazing if we would fly everyone out to Vegas and everybody gets swag and the CEOs, they're shaking hands. But what we can really do is we're going to have a CEO send a personal group invitation to the 30 people who are part of the program.

[00:32:49] She's going to be on the line and everyone's going to get a 10 Starbucks gift card and we can send it online and it's done. That's still going to feel exciting, different, engaging, [00:33:00] but I'm not going to exhaust my budget. I'm not going to exhaust our people. Like let's make it in line with what's possible and feel very excited about that.

[00:33:07] We actually have a couple of customers who are kicking off and they're grappling with how do they want to add flair and for their, identifying, is it bringing in C suite leaders? Does that actually motivate and engage our folks? Will that feel like a win? Will that feel really exciting?

[00:33:23] Or will that kind of just, feel like no, this is just another corporate thing that, someone out of touch is bringing in. And so it's really getting into that inside of what are you driving for and what's normal for your company and what feels special. Is there public praise even?

[00:33:37] That's a huge one is saying, shout out to these 60 employees who are all going through this program. This is amazing. We're thrilled tying in the why of why they're in it, what we're hoping that they see, how we were hoping that they engage. That's a really empowering way as an employee to experience the beginning of something.

[00:33:55] And Ben, I loved your comment about just give them a taste. You don't have to take them to the whole buffet and make them fill their [00:34:00] plate. Like don't get that. Just make it smell good and make it feel nice. Just like that, that first beginning piece. And so when you're thinking about that kind of like kickoff or like that first experience you know, an email is, We get thousands of those.

[00:34:15] Like, that's not that's not, that's like, that's the base, but that's not the juice, right? And so we want to, again, pause and think about what really amplifies it for our culture and what really brings the power of that program to the employees as quickly as possible and closes that gap.

[00:34:32] Love that match to the people put out just a little bit of breadcrumbs, but not the whole loaf What a great analogy.

[00:34:40] I know years ago when I worked at Disney there was always popcorn through the pipes and as you're walking around you're just there's popcorn. What do you want popcorn, right? So getting your people excited that something is coming And when it's there, it's, this is the thing that I've been waiting for.

[00:34:59] Perfect. I [00:35:00] love that. All of those examples. So now to our members that are on the call, we're cur we're curious. We're going to launch another poll and let's see which of these tactics have you used to ensure a successful rollout in the past, which apply to you? Laura is going to launch our poll now and we're going to give it a couple of seconds.

[00:35:26] I'll just mention, we were at Nestle, as I mentioned, last week and if you were on a program on a recurring basis, maybe once a year, once a quarter, twice a year, things like that, leverage the graduates, if you will, the alumni of those programs. Nestle did this. This is their idea. They deserve all the credit for this.

[00:35:43] They had people kick it off and they said, don't listen to HR. Don't listen to the vendor. Listen to your own colleagues who had a result. So we had people that had, had lived around the world and this stuff, and they were really proud to tell their story. Hey, this is how it [00:36:00] was different than other things I've done in the past.

[00:36:01] Here's the benefit it had to me personally. Here's the benefit it had to me professionally. Here's my advice for you. Very believable when employees or managers hear it from peers and we have managers say, Hey, here's my part. Usually I get these things and I'm a little like, Oh, one more damn thing to do this thing turned out to be way more time efficient than I'm used to, and it engages in a great conversation.

[00:36:23] And boy, I hope other managers take advantage. You want to co opt the spokespeople. And that way you don't, because sometimes I think we want to take credit as HR. Look at all this great work we did and look at all these things we're rolling out. But trust me, you will get all the credit. if the program is successful.

[00:36:38] And the program will be successful if the people in the program find success from the program.

[00:36:46] Yeah, Ben, one of the key takeaways even, go ahead, Corey Ann.

[00:36:50] I said louder for the people in the back, Ben, I totally agree.

[00:36:53] Yeah, it was so amazing. Several of the alumni, although they had finished the program in six months, I know [00:37:00] two of the three had learned to advocate for themselves and were promoted.

[00:37:04] And then we're now standing in the room saying, okay, where's the alumni support group? Because they loved it so much. They found such great value in the information. They wanted to continue to not only feel powerful at work, but they learned they could own their own career. And with that, take their capacity to the next level.

[00:37:27] very powerful in that environment. Okay, so I think we have stopped with our numbers. Let's submit. and SHARE ending our poll. It's really close. Ben, Corey Ann, what do you think about this?

[00:37:47] We spread that peanut butter across these answers here. You know, it, it looks like obviously, easy to adopt, right?

[00:37:53] And remove barriers is a little similar to that, right? So that if you combine those two that seems like a big one to start with, [00:38:00] right? And you want to think about from an IT perspective, you know, have you tested this? Does this work on a mobile device? Do you know the, do ang different email systems?

[00:38:09] If you had a merger and you got people on different things it's grind details, but boy does it make a difference when you do that. And I think, connecting to, people, one-on-one and the broader company vision seems to also work. I'll tell you the, roll it out with flare though.

[00:38:23] HR will typically don't have great marketing instincts based upon what we learn in our trainings and SHRM certifications, et cetera. Leverage your marketing and your internal comms and your communications teams, because they have a lot of great ideas. Leverage, HR communities and Slack channels and things that you're in.

[00:38:40] Like, what do you do to make a splash? Because really we're in a battle for attention as much as anything. And so we're competing against ESPN and Barstool Sports and, eBay and the RealReal and, TMZ and TikTok and everything out there that's, you know, crypto wallets. And everything that people spend their time on.[00:39:00]

[00:39:00] And so we wanna really, the rolling it out with flair. Part of it is you just literally wanna make sure that people are actually freaking aware. Awareness is a key metric in marketing. Do you even know that this product or service exists? Well, do you even know that this program exists and that you're gonna be a part of it?

[00:39:15] 'cause that's oftentimes many L&D programs, employees never even start. they'll get registered and they either never show up or they come to one thing and that's it. And that's no different than having a quick quitting employee that starts and goes through onboarding and then the second week doesn't come back to work.

[00:39:30] Really painful and really expensive. And you want to avoid that.

[00:39:33] Really expensive, like lighting money on fire.

[00:39:35] Yep.

[00:39:35] That's heartbreaking.

[00:39:38] Wow. What a great perspective. And we want to pivot. I have just one more question. We have people who would. come and are rocking out with us till the end. But this is where the rubber meets the road, right?

[00:39:55] So Corey Ann, I'm going to target with, launch this to you first and [00:40:00] then let me hear Ben. Once the program launches, there's one final step to set up a PM for success, sharing the impact of the program's rollout. Why is this step often overlooked? and miscalculated. What can PMs do to effectively share their results?

[00:40:19] People want results. How do they do that?

[00:40:22] I love it. I think the first biggest piece is that we don't realize that launching a program in and of itself is a huge accomplishment. And so what we're doing is we're waiting for like, I'm going to wait until this is fully done to get the end result. I'm going to wait a year, six months, three weeks.

[00:40:38] It's like, hold on, hold on. You've put a lot of effort, time, energy, thought into launching this, into the implementation and onboarding piece. Let's actually take a beat. Let's evaluate and let's acknowledge that that part needs to be reported out and needs to be shared. The only people generally, when I'm talking to my customers, the only people who know how hard it was to do it are the people in [00:41:00] the room.

[00:41:01] And it's like, wait a minute, that's not okay. We need our other team and we need our other colleagues. You need your leaders to understand what you've put into this. What's come out of it. Any insights you've learned, because as you're building all those different tactics and techniques and you're hearing feedback, it's You have a lot of information and data that we can share that's going to be helpful for other components of the business.

[00:41:21] So it also ties into that, knowing what your stakeholders are interested in, speaking their language, but then also just saying like, this is a big milestone internally for the program. And I'm not going to wait till the end to then say, here are the results. This is a larger story that you want to own and really share out.

[00:41:38] So that's the biggest piece that comes to mind. And then I'm always encouraging customers like, okay, we're in week, you know, we just launched, but let's, here's the data we have. What's, what did you find? Let's package this up so that you can share it really intentionally and effectively with your leaders.

[00:41:54] And you have to manage up. You have to, have to, have to. HR is a very bad habit, and I [00:42:00] encourage all of you to break this habit if you have this, of being competent and doing good work, and keeping it a secret, right? Like, I'm a gay guy, I spend enough time in the closet. You don't want to be in the closet about your work, okay?

[00:42:13] You want to be out and proud about everything that you're doing and accomplishing, and people don't know. And look, business executives are hungry and organizational executives, if you're in a non profit, for good news. Oh, we launched a thing. Oh, we maxed out the sign ups. Oh, everyone, we had positive results from the kickoff.

[00:42:30] Typically, we only keep that within our team, so we're like, okay, it's going well. Fine. I know that. But you want to send that up and across the HR business part. If you're in Learning and Development Talent DEI, let the HRBPs know. They want to know because they help define which employees are in the programs, right?

[00:42:46] If you, if finance helped fund it, let them know. If IT had a part, the executive sponsor should absolutely know the same day or the next day what's going on. And ideally they should push some of that status to their peers in the C suite. So I think that that's a part of it is you [00:43:00] want to be managing up and out as much as possible, because this is where you start to get the narrative.

[00:43:05] But if there isn't a narrative around the program, like, what is that thing again? Elevate? Did we, are we doing that this year or not? No, you need to be a thing that they know about and that you're, you know, kind of pushing that, that knowledge and that success out. And then the thing on the bottom of the slide, right.

[00:43:22] Quantitative and qualitative. Now you probably will show the thing that you're most comfortable with. So if you're a narrative story person, you probably talk about those because that moves you. And if you're a data gal and a numbers person, you're probably going to show that because that moves you. But think about your audience.

[00:43:38] Think about the organization. And you want to blend the head and the heart in both of those. even around a table, you might have, someone who's really quant and really qualitative at the same executive table. So think about the stories and the real world examples. You can say, Hey, this is how this impacted our organization or a business, or it's coming to life or profiling like a person, but also you want to say, and by the way, here's the [00:44:00] competency growth, or here's the benchmark perception of the organization, or here's the manager connection, et cetera.

[00:44:06] I love that. And Ben, that actually speaks to the very first question around like, how do we even set this up well, and it's getting really clear about what data you're going to get right off the bat. So are you going to get that initial perception of company? Is that part of the registration onboarding process for those folks?

[00:44:22] Great. You're going to have that data, but you need to know that. In advance of actually giving it to the people so that when it's, once you've onboarded everyone, it's kicked off, you have that information to then go roll up. And Alec Ben's talking about, but if you don't know you're gonna get that data or you don't know that you're not gonna get that data and you think you are gonna get that data, it's like really aligning throughout the entire program of what you're gonna deploy, what you're gonna get, and.

[00:44:44] When you're going to report that out is so impactful. And it also just puts you at ease. Like I know when I'm going to get something from my vendor. I know when we're going to pull these reports and I know how I'm going to roll them up and out to folks.

[00:44:55] Great point. Ben, we have a question after you announce this.

[00:44:59] [00:45:00] Danielle's question, as you and I are sharing a brain where I think we're tracking as your or Danielle says any tips for doing this in big hierarchical government organizations? Obviously the government is huge, right? It's one of the largest employers in the world, the U.S. government and Department of Defense and all the other different important aspects of our civil service. But that's also true in large organizations. I started my career at Lockheed Martin, you know, we had almost 200, 000 employees at the time and about 300, 000 subcontract employees. So you need hierarchy and you need structure.

[00:45:26] It's functional, right? So part of the tips around that, Danielle, is leverage the hierarchy, right? Leverage, if you've got different people at different levels or different roles, you might stratify, stratify, a champion versus a sponsor, and you might create separate distinctions. And the champion is the level two person, one level from the CEO.

[00:45:46] The sponsor is the level three person that may be a little bit more hands on, the one on one reach outs, whereas the champion may do more public things, right? You may have leads, so leverage that hierarchy to your advantage. [00:46:00] And look at how the hierarchy is used in other realms, right? Financial approvals communi internal communications, et cetera, to mirror that, because ultimately that is how power and authority is disseminated and structured, and rather than resist it that is the system, right?

[00:46:17] Like wanting to be a politician in this country, but like, not leaning into our democratic system. That's the system. Play that system. So that's where I'd think that in those hierarchical organizations leverage the hierarchy. And even in your charts, if you use certain charts to talk about it, be like, we're going to pull people in the program from this level.

[00:46:35] And it's going to be sponsored by this level. And then everyone can see and understand how your program maps back to that big government hierarchy. Daniel, let me know if that's helpful.

[00:46:43] I love that, Ben, and it's the idea of using the structure that's already there is so impactful. And I'm just going to say it again, but also push your vendor.

[00:46:50] I, we have joined calls where there's a VP call every six weeks. And so they said, Hey, Corey, can you just come and do a little, talk about what pilot is? And [00:47:00] I'll talk about the results from the rollout and we'll spend 10 minutes on that VP call. I can get a 10 minute slot. Great. Like you're using the structure that already exists.

[00:47:08] You're building your network. You're showing off what you've done. We're getting good feedback. We're driving awareness. And you don't have to put a slide deck about what PILOT is, right? I can do that easily. So we're going to work hand in hand to make that happen for you so that you can run this better and more efficiently in your organization.

[00:47:24] So using that structure, but then again, push those vendors, make them work for you.

[00:47:34] Such great insight and feedback. We're doing an amazing job on time. Let me say, I've done countless webinars, never seen us drive it home this way. But with our time, what other questions do you have? This is a great opportunity for you to leverage our experts that are in the room. Go in the chat. What else would you like to know?

[00:47:58] Or do you got [00:48:00] a hot tip around implementing or a thing to avoid?

[00:48:05] And one of the areas that I see this sort of under leveraged is bringing in more junior people that sometimes senior people hold on to the program entirely right and they don't leverage someone on a stretch assignment, a talent rotation, a special project to take on part of this or to unleash their creativity and oftentimes you have people that are earlier in their career They're hungry to make their mark.

[00:48:30] They're hungry to have ownership over something, and so they're going to need some guidance and some direction. But think about when you're doing your talent reviews, or even you have interns or newer hires, college hiring, etc. Leverage some of those programs as well, and those people in those programs, because that can be a big lift. And then of course, the other thing, this is a simple, this is almost like a silly trick. Keyword recognition. So if your organization has [00:49:00] a people first HR strategy, and you always talk about people first, you want to start the first sentence with, well, as a part of our people first strategy we're rolling out PILOT.

[00:49:09] If your CEO talks about becoming an elite company, you're like, in our journey to become an elite company, PILOT will support da da da, or whatever the name of your initiative or program is. So if you start with the words, which is often one or two or three words or a phrase, it's not a lot.

[00:49:25] I remember we had this thing when I was in the insurance business, we had this thing called the house, which is our strategy framework, which is a three pillared house with a roof and a foundation. Basic as hell for a 5 billion company, but everyone loved the house. Everyone knew the house.

[00:49:37] Everyone used the house. And we're like, and so we would like, Architect our program inside the house and we're like, Hey, like this is the foundation of the house, this training program. And everyone's like, oh, that makes sense. So everything you do as a business builds on the foundation of the house. And these are like very smart, college educated, experienced, cs, our average, age was 49 years old. These were not people that were just clueless. They're very talented, smart people, [00:50:00] but they're so overwhelmed with information when we could get it down to something so simple. There's a great book called the art of explanation. They talk about lowering the cost of understanding. You have to lower the cost of understanding what the heck this program is.

[00:50:13] Why are we doing it? What we're expecting out of it, who's involved. And that's where you have to just put everything you have on a word diet, sink bullets, plain English terms, link back to business or organizational strategies.

[00:50:26] I love it. Thank you so very much, Ben. And thank you, Corey Ann. As we move forward, I'm going to allow each of you to leave us with 30 seconds.

[00:50:40] 30 seconds. Let's see what you can do. Why is it so important for the PMs and those who have joined to beat the odds for successful HR development program rollout? What tip can you leave them with? Give them a one and done. And as you see, I'll give them a moment to think [00:51:00] about it, and we will end promptly at 2 o'clock.

[00:51:03] Laura has dropped in the HRCI program ID in the chat, so please utilize that. Why is it important for PMs? What do they need to take away to beat the odds for a successful HR development rollout.

[00:51:21] I would say the potential is limitless when you thoughtfully and powerfully roll out a program and it leads to so much engagement and impact that then causes a bigger ripple effect and more waves.

[00:51:37] And so being in that moment and embracing it and not just feeling like it's another to do for you is really a very unique sacred opportunity that has a lot of phenomenal results.

[00:51:51] Love it. Ben, before I let you go, Carrie has already gotten ahead of me and I love it and I thank you. Let us know what your one [00:52:00] takeaway is.

[00:52:02] Before we conclude with the thank you, we would like for you to know that a survey will immediately pop up. If you would be so kind as to give us five additional seconds to answer the three questions. Thank you again in advance. So Carrie has said her key takeaway, creating connection first. And always as Ben speaks with the 35 people that remain put your one takeaway for why and how you will beat the odds for your successful rollout.

[00:52:33] Ben, what do you have?

[00:52:34] And Azure you're demonstrating right now. Ask for feedback in real time. Get it. And that helps you learn how your programs are going right? The one thing I would just say is realize this is a long game. HR is used to doing short games. an investigation, a hire a compensation season, right?

[00:52:51] Like truncated moment in time things. Development is a long journey. Great programs that get sticky, lasting results where people [00:53:00] remember what they learned and actually do it. Take long time. So you have to become really good program and project managers and think about the marathon, not the sprint. HR's great at sprints.

[00:53:11] You gotta get better at marathons. That's the difference that makes the difference in programs like this.

[00:53:16] Perfect. Thank you so much, Ben Brooks. Thank you so much, Corey Ann. Thank you to all of our members and participants. We've appreciated you being with us for the past Power Hour for our session, Beating the Odds for a Successful HR Development Program Rollout.

[00:53:31] We hope we've given you a million nuggets, tricks, tips, tools, and strategies. Have a great weekend, everyone. Thanks for being here. Bye bye.

[00:53:42] Thanks, everyone. Bye.