In the modern workplace, learning and development is so important for individuals and the business as a whole. In fact, on average, only 15% of employees who work for a manager who does not meet with them regularly are engaged. With this in mind, how can we make this a key part of everyday work, and ensure employees get the support they really need?
Why Is Learning and Development Important?
Learning and development helps employees enhance their skills and expertise as well as increasing chances of career progression and personal development. And beyond providing benefits for the individual, a business can also gain from employees that are regularly trained, mentored and coached, as they are likely to see more engaged, motivated and knowledgeable employees.
There are many ways that employees can benefit from regular training. As we have already seen, regular management communication and check-ins will make an individual feel more valued and engaged within the organization. This can be of particular relevance for those who are working remotely for long periods of time. With 87% of Americans having had at least some time working away from the office, time to improve and hone personal skills is crucial to keep employees motivated and involved with company culture.
In this way, learning and development can reinforce company values, create a healthier workplace culture, and help with drive and determination that lends itself to career progression and healthy competition across the workplace.
Steps to Integrate Learning and Development into the Workplace
There are a few ways that leaders can integrate learning and development into the workplace and make it a part of the everyday working culture and routine.
Make it a personalized experience. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, learning and development should be tailored to the needs of individuals and teams across the business. If staff feel the process is geared towards their development, filling any gaps in skills and areas for improvement, they will be more likely to buy into the plans.
A tailored approach will go a long way to making employees motivated, as they will feel invested in and valued. This benefits not just the development and training but also the end product, as a motivated workforce is generally more motivated.
Consider it at the employment stage. Of course, you want to employ staff with the relevant experience for the role. It is worth considering, however, the potential to recruit staff with the ability to learn. There may be a candidate with years of experience in the role, yet there may be someone with less experience that is the better fit for your business. Someone who has shown willingness to train and adapt to different roles while of course having the relevant skills for the job may be a great fit as you look to build and ethos of learning and development.
Communicate it. For learning and development to become part of the organization, communication is key, and this starts right from the top of the business structure. When looking to develop a culture and make the company values applicable to day-to-day work, seeing the business leaders set the standards will help them filter through the organization.
Set aside official time for it. The success of any organization depends on effective learning and development programs. With this in mind, businesses should be sure to give the programs the time they need to be successful and beneficial.
If you’re looking to implement a team development strategy but do not give dedicated time and resources to it, staff will not be encouraged to buy into it, and it is unlikely to become a part of the everyday workings of the business.
Staff being expected to find the time to complete training and learning, while still being expected to carry out their regular duties, is a factor contributing to only 10% of the $200 billion spent every year on corporate training and development in the United States, delivering real results. Setting aside true development time is key.
Reflect and act. Once learning and development is delivered, it shouldn’t just be forgotten about and consigned to the past. Use one-to-one catch-ups with employees to reflect on the development; this will help with the employees’ progress but will also give you a chance to gather any feedback from staff regarding the training.
Feedback can be used to tweak the program to make it more effective moving forward and is a way to further engage employees by showing thought is going into it. This is an integral part of leadership thinking.
Measuring progress and reflecting on the good and bad are as important as any of the steps to integrating the strategy. Bring in people who show willingness to learn, value them and give the development the time it needs and deserves to make it a key part of your everyday work life.