It’s critical for companies to foster a culture of continuous learning and upskilling, enabling employee learning development so teams can build a broader range of skills and help the business achieve its goals.
Mandatory one-time workshops, expensive external consultants, follow-up sessions, and traditional classroom learning for the workplace — they don’t deliver sustainable results. They don’t take your learners into consideration. They’re counter intuitive to today’s need for personalized learning and employee learning development.
The amount of people who work remotely at least once per week has grown by 400% since 2010, and as teams now settle into permanently remote or hybrid work arrangements, a much-needed transformation in traditional learning & development is underway that will carry on well after the public health crisis. This shift better supports people in how they now learn today, as reskilling, upskilling, cross training, and internal mobility continue to prove new and up until now, often untapped, sources of power for companies.
In research from Lighthouse Research & Advisory, 88 percent of employees said they would stay at a job if they had career and growth opportunities ahead, but more than 60% have left a job in the past because they didn’t see any way to advance. In addition, nearly 50 percent of talent professionals who responded to a LinkedIn survey said they expect their recruiting budget to continue to decrease, while 66 percent anticipate their L&D budget to increase or stay the same.
This suggests employers will continue relying on building their workforce through internal mobility programs tied to reskilling initiatives and/or engage contingent talent instead of hiring externally. In this post, we’ll share three essential elements for successfully implementing and scaling employee learning development programs that put the learner at the center.
Internal Advocacy for Employee Learning Development
Over the last couple years, we had a sudden and overwhelming reliance on IT to help meet evolving business needs — a key component of success in a post-COVID-19 world. What we’re now seeing is the same reliance on technology but to deliver a better employee experience, which now includes learning and development opportunities. This will deliver greater agility, power digital transformation and drive customer centricity.
L&D and HR must now communicate openly and collaborate with IT teams and leaders across the organization to identify pain points, business issues and key growth areas — developing learning programs in response. This ongoing two-way communication increases internal alignment and employee engagement, ensuring that the organization is meeting actual needs (versus perceived) and encouraging employee buy-in.
With IT support, now it’s time to move into identifying those with the skill sets and passion to help drive program adoption and active participation. Employees should be empowered to step forward and drive action in executing changes that deliver value for the business.
Similar to the client advocacy arm of marketing departments, employees as internal advocates can show the benefits of learning programs and further the adoption of new systems and platforms. They can serve as mentors for others in upskilling programs and provide support outside of formal training sessions. These are the people who can help to empower employees, motivate colleagues to participate, foster greater agency, and give others a voice.
Investing in internal change agents creates ripple effects across all talent in the organization. As teams become more efficient and support other colleagues in upskilling and adopting new tools and techniques, organizational transformation can happen quicker.
Personalized, On-Demand Employee Learning Development
Operating a successful business boils down to ensuring your workers are productive, happy, and actively engaged with activities that move the business forward. Chief Learning Officer at AllenComm — a global learning developer and provider of custom content — Anna Sargsyan recently told Human Resource Executive:
These new demands of hybrid and remote work are tasking us with being much more intentional about learning design. Employee expectations around more human-centered learning are creating a need for more personalization within L&D, while leaders also have to be proactive to help distributed employees learn from one another despite the distance, create innovative approaches to non-classroom learning and ensure learning is accessible everywhere—in different formats and to all employees.
The brick and mortar professional development course is done. Instead of the rigid classroom model, learning should be part of employees’ daily workflow – at their desks, on their mobile phones, or from wherever they work. They’re much more likely to develop and retain information when they decide on the timing of their training, not when it is dictated by a mass group class.
Let’s look at some statistics. Employees who have more control over the learning process and the opportunity to revisit training demonstrate retention rates of up to 60% vs that of 8% for in-person training. In addition, research shows that bite-sized learning makes the transfer of learning from the classroom to the desk 17% more efficient — encouraging employees to further develop and retain the training, which maximizes effectiveness and value of the training you have delivered.
Any workplace program — whether mentorship or formal L&D — requires continual reinforcement for it to gain traction. And one of the best ways to increase traction and to reinforce value is through formal recognition.
If your program is measured by certain key performance indicators, learning targets, or engagement activity tracking, it’s important to recognize and celebrate learning through milestones met. Celebrating milestones as they are achieved helps to increase motivation, excitement, curiosity, and confidence in trying new things.
It also ensures that progress is measured, setbacks are addressed quickly, and failures are seen as important learnings and progress toward a solution. Plus, you’ll start to see a broader shift in culture. Harnessing a culture that celebrates learning encourages proactive upskilling across the organization and instills a growth mindset for all employees. You can find some ideas for a recognition program in the eBook, Five Strategies to Reset Culture.
The needs of today’s employee learning development market will continue to evolve, and in the increasingly complex world of the Future of Work, individualized, adaptive training journeys, including tailored and scalable micro courses with real-world practice opportunities built in, will help people thrive. They will empower individuals and teams to be agile, innovative, and motivated by company goals and new ways of reaching those goals.
The first step is understanding how your team members learn best. We can help!