Monday October 13, 2014
Recent research concludes that learning and development (L&D) activity is failing to deliver lasting impacts for two-thirds of organisations in the UK and is starved of the resources it needs to be effective (Profitability 2014).
Is this because L&D still involves sheep dipping people in generic courses, perceived as a cost to the business and simply a tick-box exercise? We know that even in organisations that profess to offer continuous development, the learning on offer does not necessarily meet the needs of the individual or the business and is rarely delivered when it’s needed in the way that will provide ‘stickability’.
For an organisation to run effectively and keep people engaged, individuals require access to learning and development; a clear career path should they want to progress; strong leadership; similar values to the business; and effective communication. Ignoring this is proven to cause long-term damage through demotivation, disengagement, and adversely affect retention.
In order to create a culture where these needs are met, people are encouraged to drive their own development and learn independently, great organisations recognise individuals have different learning styles and aspirations. To reach goals and perform at their highest level people require easy access to the tools that will support this. In a blog by Monique Valcour for Harvard Business Review she concludes that 70% of employee learning and development happens on the job, not through formal training programs.
The key to ensuring a culture of learning and development is keeping it simple. Forget sitting people in classrooms (in most cases at least) instead explore the many low-cost / no-cost methods of delivery. Clearly pinpointing needs for individuals allows you to map out learning pathways which employees can take ownership for and enable them to drive their progression.
Here are our top three tips for embedding this in your organisation:
1. Learning that is appropriate to the individual – people learn in different ways, so finding a plan that suits them enables and encourages individuals to drive their own learning journey, and therefore be in charge of reaching goals, linking to those of the business. Interestingly action learning was recently rated as the most effective L&D practice whether this was through on-the-job training (69%), coaching-based learning (57%), business simulations (43%) or computer-based games (38%). Identify the best approach for individuals, and then make it their responsibility to see it through.
2. Creating a Wiki community – with technology these days playing an important role in our lives, more organisations are looking for online tools such as Wikis that combine learning and collaboration. Their role is to collect and organise content which is created by its users. Much like our very own Talent Toolbox™ Learning Wiki which will be available in 2015 - organisations can manage necessary learning such as ‘how to’s’ which can be available to employees as and when they need to know. Ensure the goal of the Wiki is clear and is communicated to the organisation, and that there is a moderator to check that all content meets the needs of individuals and the business.
3. Sharing learning experiences and expertise – a resource that is often overlooked when it comes to learning is the talent within your organisation. Employees are bursting with experience and knowledge that they long to share with others, so encourage group discussions and development that are participant-led. People can learn from one another, and is also brilliant for leadership development.
By enabling a learning culture that gives a lasting impact and added value to individuals, your people will be taking the lead on their own development, be highly knowledgeable, have a positive outlook, and will work together to grow the business.