Monday October 6, 2014
Many facets make up a great place to work, a key one being engaging yet robust and outcome focused learning and development (L&D). Many organisations want to embed an L&D culture, though with so many options (e-learning, classroom based, blended…the list goes on) developing a strategy which fits your culture and delivers results requires care and attention. What is clear is that the nature of L&D is changing. Long gone are the days of big training budgets, with team members signing up for a ‘management development programme’, based on a vague recommendation from their line manager, stepping away from the business for a week, returning motivated, though, realistically with little means, or inclination, to use and embed the learning to create results.
L&D is now more accessible than ever before, there is more pressure to measure outcomes and ensure there is a direct impact on the bottom line. Savvy businesses look at L&D not only as ‘training courses’ but a range of low cost, no cost options including mentoring, job swops, Ted Talks, a good ol’ book and social media tools like Flipboard and Twitter.
Using tools such as Twitter supports a culture of continuous learning which is increasingly important given rapidly changing economic conditions and flexible working environments, people want to access development wherever and whenever. Flexibility is becoming increasingly important and expected, especially amongst younger generations who have grown up in a digital era with 24/7 information.
Leading Talent guru, Josh Bersin, emphasises the need for ongoing development: “Today, if your company is not continuously developing new skills and learning from your customers, the market, and your own teams – you will fall behind.”
Of course there is still a place for well targeted classroom based learning. Organisations should however, align development to organisational goals (“How does this help us achieve our vision?”). For example, we are partnering with a client to deliver an 18 month development programme which is linked to a project where participants are targeted with saving the business £500k. This will be reviewed on an on-going basis and participants present their outcomes and recommendations to the Board at the end of the process. Use of tools such as LinkedIn, TED Talks and Harvard Business Review will be used to support pre and post course learning, and support continuous development.
Support from leadership, especially an individual’s line manager, is also key when delivering L&D initiatives, encouraging individuals to discuss and bring to life learning, and plan for delivering improvements to be put in place. Research shows that individuals will quickly forget up to 80% of what they have learnt if nothing is done with the information, for example, using or discussing it. So it’s key that refreshers are in place. This could be anything from a motivating team brief to a ‘lunch and learn’ session where learning is openly shared and discussed.
The best businesses not only ensure their leadership teams are actively engaged with creating a continuous learning culture but accept ‘learning loss’ is real. With technology systems to support – keep your eye out for the launch of our Talent Toolbox learning ‘Wiki’ in 2015 - organisations can make necessary learning / development and ‘how to’s’ collaborative and available as when needed. It has never been easier to ensure a timely, accessible and effectively managed L&D strategy.
The world of professional development is constantly evolving so be open to ideas…why not ask your people what their favourite resources for personal development are? And work with them on individual development plans to enable achievement of goals.