What is the 70-20-10 model?
The 70-20-10 model has been around for a few years now, and reflects the increasing awareness that learning is not just about “traditional” training (whether it be a seminar, classroom, or an e-learning program). Research has shown we actually acquire most of the knowledge, skills and behaviours we need to perform our jobs through actual experience and working alongside others.
The 70-20-10 model has its origins in the work of McCall, Eichinger and Lombardo from the Centre for Creative Leadership. Their book, “The Career Architect” (1996), is based on empirical research and concluded that successful managers learned in 3 different ways:
70% of learning comes from real life on-the-job experiences, tasks and problem solving
20% of learning comes from feedback, working with and observing role models
10% from “traditional” training
Initially focussing on management and leadership development, this conclusion has since been extended to other types of professional learning and development. Today the 70-20-10 model is being used by Learning & Development departments in a wide-range of multinationals operating across a broad range of businesses. (e.g. Woodside, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Nike, Dell, Goldman Sachs, Maersk, L’Oréal, and Caterpillar)
Why implement the 70-20-10 models?
The model has an attractive simplicity, although the exact ratios are contended. As a trainer and manager of a training company my feeling is that the most important step is to see the model as a philosophy and not a rigid recipe. The key is understanding and accepting that the majority of learning actually happens outside of the classroom, and that any learning and development program should take this into account and proactively supports this. It doesn’t mean that traditional training is no longer relevant in the 21st century, but rather that this traditional training is just a part of learning and development strategies.
Whether you are a learning & development specialist, a line manager, a trainer or training provider, or an employee, you should take time to reconsider and refocus your efforts.
By doing this you can:
· Shift the focus and expectations towards more efficient and effective types of learning and development
· Ensure that time and money invested in learning and development makes a greater impact
· Support your business by retaining people in the workplace while they are learning
“Almost without exception, in my experience, organisations that have adopted 70-20-10 have achieved greater impact on performance at organisational and individual level at lower cost than was being achieved beforehand.” – Charles Jennings
The Return On Investment (ROI) Doesn't Happen Overnight
Moving forward starts with simple conversations
Based on what we’ve seen our clients do, and what we’ve tried ourselves, here are some concrete and practical ways to begin implementing the 70-20-10 model in your organisation.
The first step is to raise awareness and build commitment through simple conversations. Everyone involved needs to be brought on board with the idea that leaning and development is not just about going on a course. My own experience as a manager is that this is a relatively easy process in that many managers see 70-20-10 as “common sense”.
These conversations are essential as the 70-20-10 model depends on L&D working closely with line managers, and on line managers communicating with their staff. Managers need to be aware of the pivotal hands-on role they play in developing their staff, and employees need to appreciate the context for new decisions.
During these conversations it’s worth being clear that this is not a cost-cutting exercise, replacing “training” by a loose learning-by-doing approach. It’s actually a quality driven initiative, aiming to make sure that the company is developing to meet future challenges.
If you’re a medium sized company, these conversations are reasonably manageable. If, like many of our clients, you’re part of a larger organisation then start small. Find a business unit where managers are comfortable and confident wearing the “developing people” hat. Speaking with our clients, many of whom are multinationals, the general consensus has been that introducing the 70-20-10 model step by step has proved to be the most effective approach.
This is the most critical aspect of all, it is connecting with managers who have a genuine interest in developing their teams and the employees within them, the model organically spreads to other areas.
The 70-20-10 model has proven to positively impact organisations in enhancing their learning and development programs. Now that you know what it is, call us on 1300 159 000 so that we can discuss some practical tips on how to implement it in your company. Want to learn more on how else you can help employees retain what they learn from training?