P&P Policies and Procedures Consulting
P&P Policies and Procedures Consulting

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The Policies & Procedures Authority – The newsletter about the art of transforming workplace learning and performance through Policies & Procedures Communication

Policies and Procedures Communication Becoming More Suitable for Learning

– Raymond E. Urgo

Classroom training not the answer

The need to train everyone with a “one-size-fits-all” program about organizational practices is fading away, along with budgets and time. Ten years ago, a one- to three-day required training program made sense. “When time was not an issue, companies could take a carefree approach to learning”, says Tom Northup, founder of Leadership Management Group. Tom reports, “Today they don’t have that luxury. They need up-to-date information that will help them lead, manage, and perform more effectively.”

Three trends

Three workplace trends are driving policies and procedures (P&P) communication to be more suitable for learning than classroom training.

Changing workforce needs
Contingent workers are becoming more popular, requiring a greater demand for “just-in-time” information about organizational practices. The work ethic of the emerging younger generation dominating today’s workforce and their differing learning styles require a change to ”just-in-time” learning, cross-learning, and sharing of knowledge—not classroom training.

E-content availability
The increasing availability of e-content allows today’s workforce to access and learn just what is needed when it is needed. The shift in learning from days in a classroom to minutes on the job is, not only possible, but more practical and less costly. When organizations design P&P for online use, the distinction between e-learning and interactive documentation becomes blurred. Social networking techniques, such as blogs and wikiis are additional methods for creating and supporting P&P content.

Changing organizational needs
Today’s increasing rate of change in organizational structures, technologies, competition, and workforce is increasing the demand for new and revised ways of performing organizational practices. The organizational workforce is becoming increasingly “virtual” and geographically dispersed, demanding alternatives to classroom training. Costs for classroom training include development, delivery, maintenance, transportation, lodging, and paying participants to be in class while they are not on the job. Electronic P&P communication is a cost-effective alternative—as long as it is effectively designed.

How P&P comes to rescue

When P&P information is developed in “bite-sized” chunks and based upon principles of instructional design, online communication, and cognitive theory, self-paced, reference-based learning takes place as needed by the learner, thereby reducing or eliminating classroom training. An emerging trend in workforce learning is knowledge sharing about organizational practices. Organizations with a systematic P&P process in place for developing, maintaining, and communicating P&P content are the organizations that will be aligned as 21st century learning organizations.


The rate of change and the availability of e-content require that people learn what they can “on the fly.” A training “class” is only one solution and may not be the best alternative for workplace learning. Effective P&P communication offers more cost-effective ways to reduce training time and the associated costs. When P&P content is developed by applying usability principles, the content can be used for learning, e-learning, and on-going reference. The goal should be to ensure that information is available for “just-in-time” learning.

To find out how you can save time and money by leveraging your policies and procedures for “just-in-time-learning”, contact Urgo & Associates.