5 Ways to Improve Employee Development and Foster Learning at Work (With Infographic)

Many workers appreciate employers who invest in their learning and talent development. We have tips on how to start offering these benefits.

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Start building a framework for learning and talent development opportunities for your employees

2019 was a breakout year for learning and talent development professionals across the globe, as their function within organizations has truly transformed into that of a strategic business partner. There are so many benefits of providing opportunities for learning at work.

According to the LinkedIn 2019 Workplace Learning Report, employees who spend more time learning are 74% more likely to know what they want out of their careers, can find more purpose in their work, and feel 47% less stressed than those who spend less time learning. From the employer perspective, 94% of employees say that they would stay with their company longer if it invested in their learning and development.

As a small business owner, having any kind of designated learning — or even a dedicated human resources professional — is likely not in the picture. 70% of businesses with 5 to 49 employees add HR tasks onto the workload of employees, according to ADP’s Ad Hoc Human Resource Management Study.

If you don’t have the tools or framework to offer development opportunities to your employees, you can start building them today. Here are some ideas to help your small business start learning.

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Leverage open-source learning

There are so many open-source resources that can be easily leveraged as you start to build out your human resource and learning frameworks.

For example, Google Re:Work offers free research and resources on its people-focused practices that can be easily repurposed at your office. They’ve got articles, case studies, checklists, and even full workshops with facilitator guides that can be printed out and used exactly as is. If you have any strong presenters in the office, give them the opportunity to facilitate one of these workshops to your team.

If you want to create an environment in your small business where people invest in your vision, you’ll want to start thinking about how you can help them achieve theirs as well.

If you’re not interested in instructor-led learning, Coursera and edX have many reputable online courses that are both free and paid. If you want to support your employee’s development, giving them the time and funding to take courses is a great way to invest in their learning and bridge any skill gaps that may exist.

Peer-to-peer learning

Tapping on subject matter experts within your organization is another great way to create learning opportunities within your company. In fact, Google Re:Work has an entire guide on how to create an employee-to-employee learning program to get you started. If you’ve got any subject matter experts who have an interest in sharing their knowledge, have them do so through lunch and learn workshops or webcasts. For example, you might have someone who is great with Excel or presentation design that might be able to help teach others.

You could also use this kind of informal learning to have people from different parts of your business share with the group more about their function, goals, and work within the company. This results in a better understanding and communication around the work being done and how each part of the business fits together.

Create a budget for relevant conferences

While you may not be able to create in-house opportunities for training, you can always send your top performers to industry-relevant conferences. Let them know that when they return back from the event, they will have to share back some of their key findings with their teams. This way, everyone can benefit from the experience.

Have career development conversations

Whenever possible, have career development conversations with the people you work with and take the time to understand:

  1. Who they are
  2. Where they want to go
  3. How you can help them get there

If you want to create an environment in your small business where people invest in your vision, you’ll want to start thinking about how you can help them achieve theirs as well. Start thinking about their career path early on!

Create opportunities for mentorship

Whether it’s formally through people within your company or relevant professionals in your network, you can always help your team develop by creating opportunities for mentorship. If you notice there is a skill gap with a certain employee, try and match them up with a mentor who holds those skills and can share some insights with them.

While you may not have a learning team, there are always initiatives you can create to help your teammates grow and develop. What are you doing this month to help your team learn? Tweet us at @Zenefits and let us know.

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