Thursday, February 12, 2015

Making your IDs say I Do!

In continuation with my previous post, where I had discussed the IDentity Crysis, in this post, I am trying to address the issue of Instructional Designers not staying long enough!

From my experience and discussions with several people in the industry, IDs leave for a variety of reasons, some of which are common across any professions - more pay, personal reasons etc. I would like to focus on the very ID-specific issues that arise:

  • Accidental IDs: I entered the field of ID / e-learning in 1994, at which time, it was a newly-born industry, not many had heard of and most of us who joined, did not plan on becoming IDs.In fact, I have rubbed shoulders with a lawyer, a molecular biologist, a hotel management professional, a exercise physiologist, a Harappan researcher - you name it, we had people from all types of professions enter the field of ID. So, it is natural that many of them were here to try this out and obviously, not every one of these will stick on and grow.
  • Creative IDs: Then there were the class of people who were highly creative and needed to be engaged in very creative and challenging work all the time. But, that is not always the case  - most of the time, IDs needed to be doing "non-creative" grunge work - copying material from some source files, capturing steps of a software etc. And even if they do get actual creative work, there is the dreaded standards to deal with! And so, this tribe after enduring this for some time, leave to join another organization, hoping that creative work will come their way or change their field completely!
  • Managerial IDs: This class of people want to grow either in terms of number of people reporting or in terms of money or both! And in the Indian context, that typically means growing out of the pure ID role and moving in the direction of ID reviews, Managing ID resources or project management. And therefore, we either lose a good ID or we never had a good ID to begin with.
Each of these types need to be addressed and can be addressed...
  • The accidental IDs need to be clearly communicated with upfront and one has to take a decision on whether one can afford to have them trained, work for a bit only to leave. There is always the option of understanding what they want to do and see if that can be achieved through an alternate path via the ID route. Conversion is difficult, so you may be better off with a temporary / contractual arrangement, or not taking them on at all!
  • Creative IDs are slightly easier to address - again the key is expectation management. Having a good visibility into the type of projects and a fair distribution of creative and non-creative work is one way to go! The other way is to reconcile to the fact that work may always be boring and looks for other ways of unleashing creativity - an official blog, paint the office, conduct team training  / internal workshops etc. Of course, part-timing is another great way to address this - do serious / boring work at office and then do creative stuff on your own time! BTW: Injecting creativity is possible in almost all situations, so more often than not, this issue can be addressed if you yourself or your ID leader has enough experience.
  • The managerial IDs can be dealt with in many different ways. The main one is to ensure that experienced IDs are well paid and in order for that it is important to show them the need for IDs to be involved in sales and solution design. Most IDs will be okay mentoring and reviewing other IDs. It is the business and reporting aspect that may make them all jittery! Again, part-timing is a wonderful option here too!
I guess in the next couple of months, I will be able to report back on whether and how I have been able to implement my own suggestions!

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