L&D is not a nice to have, it is a business imperative that fuels performance and growth for employees and the organization. The data shows this, for every year a company delays their leadership training, their sales decline by 7%. That is a huge loss and one that can be avoided, with an intentional approach and sufficient investment in Learning and development L&D.
We don’t believe in one-off workshops that tick a few boxes and make employees feel cared for every so often. Rather, we advocate for a consistent, thoughtful L&D strategy that builds the capabilities of employees, and powers organizational performance. Here’s why:
Most skills require a number of iterations or training to be truly engrained.
Tech is evolving rapidly, and employees need to stay up to date with the trends to remain innovative. A good example of this is ChatGPT, which took the workplace by storm in a matter of weeks.
When employees feel that their company is invested in their professional growth in the long term, they are more likely to be motivated, engaged, and loyal. 94% of them would stay at a company longer if it seriously values L&D.
To help you create a consistent and integrated L&D process, we shared below some steps you can take:
Define the goals of your L&D initiatives a) On the business level: align L&D goals with your strategy Revisit your business strategy, and extract the key soft and technical skills needed to deliver on the strategy. Those skills should match what the business needs are for the year. Whether you intend to upskill employees to improve their performance, or reskill them to prepare for future changes, your L&D goals must be very specific. To set your metrics or definition of success, you will need to assess the current skills and knowledge of employees, and identify areas that need improvement. b) On the employees' level: know your audience Part of setting goals is also understanding your employees' needs. While research can give you some insights on how to run and plan L&D, what matters the most is knowing the specific ways your employees learn. Conduct a high-level survey, a focus group, or any other method we suggested in this HBR article.
Design and develop diverse and engaging L&D initiatives and activities. Not everyone learns in the same way and so not every learning engagement can be designed in the same way. One framework we reference is Bloom’s Taxonomy. This concept outlines a variety of teaching styles that help us think about the diversity of learning experiences we can create to appeal to the differences of every team and workforce. Here are a few creative ways we do this:
Social Learning: Some people learn best through interacting and observing others, which is what we call social learning. Carve out time for employees to intentionally collaborate and solve problems together, for example, by assigning employees to coach and mentor one another on specific tasks. Another
Stretch Assignments: A stretch assignment is a task that is currently beyond the employee's level of skill or knowledge - its value lies in its challenge. In one-on-ones or/and performance reviews, discuss what projects employees might take on in order to push themselves, broaden their skill set and gain experience working on a task that extends beyond their current capabilities.
Asynchronous Learning: Not all learning needs to take place in a (virtual) classroom setting. Employees can take on courses such as skillshare, udemy, or consume content that furthers their learning objectives. We recommend asking them to document the key learnings and how they play to apply this to their work.
3. Make learning part of your culture
We are advocates for building a learning culture, which encourages continuous learning and growth. As a matter of fact, companies with a strong learning culture are 92% more likely to be innovative, and have a 37% higher productivity rate than their counterparts.
Aside from planning different L&D activities throughout the quarter, promote continuous learning and growth through your culture. A few ways you can do this include:
Running regular retrospectives.
Dedicating a Slack channel to learning where people share findings and resources.
Discussing learning initiatives in one-on-ones with team members. This encourages employees to learn from their projects at work, and to actively seek out what would help them develop their skills and knowledge.
4. Measure & evaluate the effectiveness of your L&D program Track your employees’ improvements in performance. Based on this data, adjust the program as needed, to make sure it stays effective and relevant to the organization's needs. The measurement system should also let you understand the employees’ experience with those activities.
5. Keep going! The true benefit of L&D is in its continuity. You may start with one team or department, but don’t run one program with one manager only. When you stop being consistent, it’s hard to go back to step one.
As our CEO & Founder Marilyn said, “It’s important to have an overarching vision of where you want to go, focus on one thing a day. If every day you walk in and try to improve one thing, by the end of the year you would’ve done so much. Prioritize progress over perfection.”
By providing employees with opportunities to continuously learn and grow, organizations can improve employee engagement and retention, increase innovation and adaptability, and align their workforce with organizational goals. If you need help designing L&D activities, download our training catalog.