Learning and Development: Does Your Business Do Enough of It?

Learning and development can get lost during the churn of daily business, but its benefits for current and future success can’t be overlooked.

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Learning and Development: Does Your Business Do Enough of It?

How well are your employees trained? According to Pew Research, 35% of workers say that they will need more learning and development if they want to advance in their current positions. That’s 1 in 3 employees.

Many of your employees want to advance, and they believe that to do so they need to know more.

The good news is that you can help those employees get the education and training they need to advance their careers. And it’ll help you, too. By offering learning and development initiatives and implementing new training programs, you’re more likely to attract and retain top talent. You’ll also gain new business leaders for succession planning and improve employee performance — all because you offer better on-the-job training.

In this article, we’ll look at the upside of a strong climate of learning and development, the types of training methods you can employ and some best practices for your L&D program.

Benefits of upskilling and reskilling

Upskilling and reskilling employees can help you address professional development, skills gaps, employee performance, leadership skills, and shortfalls in on-the-job training.

All businesses have priorities. Your company’s business priorities might include providing durable and useful products and/or services, providing great customer service, and/or innovating through the use of new technology. Regardless, one of your top business priorities should be talent development. After all, if you’re trying to operate without good employees, managers, and team leaders, you won’t be able to achieve your business goals — and your organizational health will suffer. This is why creating a learning and development strategy that upskills and reskills your employees is essential.

Heard those terms before? Well, they have become quite important. Upskilling and reskilling employees can help you address professional development, skills gaps, employee performance, leadership skills, and shortfalls in on-the-job training. It’s essential as a tool to improve organizational performance.

Benefits of development programs

Once you have your development programs in place, you can expect your organization to reap a number of benefits, including:

Improved employee engagement 

When you enable employees’ upward mobility through personalized learning and employee training, you increase employee engagement by showing that you care about their professional and personal short- and long-term growth.

Improved leadership development 

Do you find that when you are trying to promote from within, most eligible candidates contain at least one skills gap? The truth is that new leaders need a variety of hard and soft skills to succeed in leadership positions. They may need:

  • Safety training
  • To learn how to speak and communicate better
  • Help in learning how to delegate and manage their time effectively

Creating a development program to help address these skill shortfalls will help you train and develop the future leaders of your organization.

Increased retention

Putting an employee’s development first allows them a rapid pace of advancement. When employees learn new skills, and they see that those new skills can lead to raises, promotions, and more responsibility, they are more likely to stay with your company — rather than move on to your competitor.

Rise in customer satisfaction

When the work environment is productive and employees are offered effective on-the-job training — the kind that simulates common problems in real-time — they become better able to:

  • Answer customer questions
  • Resolve issues
  • Provide the right products at the right time

This leads to happier employees, and it improves customer satisfaction.

Improvement in reaching business goals

When employee development takes center stage, you’ll notice that you’ll reach your business goals faster and your business impact in your industry will grow. You’ll be better positioned to capture more of the market.

Better organizational health

Focusing on employee growth, safety training, and personalized learning that involves massive open online courses, on-the-job coaching and on-the-job training will improve your workplace culture.

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Types of learning and development

When it comes to creating the best learning and development programs for your employees, you’ll want to explore both digital and classroom training programs, as well as on-the-job training and coaching/mentoring. Each of these tools works differently to help you reach your learning objectives.

Safety training

Safety training is essential for every organization. It can be as simple as telling your employees to put out Wet Floor signs after mopping or finding a spill, or it can be as complex as teaching employees the right way to use your manufacturing machines.

Training in soft skills

Create a few courses that focus on soft skills. These typically include:

  • Communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Harassment
  • Respect in the workplace
  • Public speaking
  • Body language and nonverbal cues
  • Time management and delegation.

On-the-job training

It’s important to use on-the-job training at certain stages in your employees’ career development. This can include when they first start at your company, when your organization receives new software or upgrades, and whenever an employee needs to learn new skills to advance to their next position.

On-the-job coaching

On-the-job coaching is an essential factor in helping employees feel that they are part of the team and that they are advancing their professional development. Offer coaching and mentoring when an employee first starts a job or attains a new position. That will give them the best chance of success.

Online classes

Implementing online classes (computer-based learning courses) can help your company make a digital transformation. They’re designed to help employees learn the basics of the company, what’s expected of them, and even their job duties. As employees get ready to take the next step up the career ladder, classes can even be made available to them to help them determine whether the next position is right for them. They can also help them start to develop the hard and soft skills they’ll need to excel in that new job.

Classroom training

You can also choose to partner with universities, colleges and trade schools that offer classroom training in the skills and abilities your employees need. You might consider offering tuition assistance and reimbursement to help employees pay for courses that will help them advance and benefit your organization.

Tips in building an L&D program

Implementing a successful in-house learning and development program involves creating the right learning experience for each of your training objectives.

To get started, you might want to consider the 70:20:10 model. This model states that 70% of an employee’s knowledge comes directly from the job and the experiences of being in that job. Another 20% of their learning and knowledge comes from talking to other employees and people in the industry. The final 10% of their knowledge comes from external sources, like industry news, events, and webinars.

With that in mind, you can take the next steps toward creating your new employee training program to:

  • Address skills gaps
  • Teach leadership skills
  • Address safety issues
  • Enable employees to be upwardly mobile

Once you’ve created and implemented your programs, you can track key performance indicators to determine whether your initiatives were successful or if they will need further refinement.

Once you’ve created and implemented your programs, you can track key performance indicators to determine whether your initiatives were successful or if they will need further refinement.

Steps for creating your new employee training program

Here are steps you can take to create and implement an employee training program.

Conduct a skills gap/need assessment

Ask everyone employed with your company to take a skills gap survey. As part of the survey, ask employees:

  • What skills they have
  • How they rate those skills
  • What skills they need to develop to improve at their jobs and to advance in the future

Reviewing the surveys will help you find employees who may be good at teaching certain skills, and it’s likely to help you identify what skills you need to teach or to have your employees learn.

Establish learning goals with a timeline

Determine the individual goals of each learning opportunity and when you’d like the participants to have completed the objectives of the course or class.

Create the curriculum/content and establish your methods of delivery

Develop the course content and the outlines for each class. This is also the time to determine if it’s best to host the course online or in-person, whether a university or college offers something appropriate, or whether there’s an industry training seminar that your employees can attend.

Identify the SMEs who will teach the courses

Once you have chosen your courses, locate subject matter experts and ask them if they’d be willing to teach a course. These can be the people you identified in your skills assessment, or they can be outside industry experts.

Build in metrics to evaluate success

Finally, build in key performance indicators for the courses. A basic example might be to have a small survey that’s offered at the end of each course in which participants can rate how well they think the course will help them. You can also track other metrics, like your business performance before and after course implementation, how quickly your employees advance, and whether there’s a correlation between course implementation and employee retention.

The value of investing in your employees

Investing in your employees is one of the best moves you can make when it comes to improving employee retention, being able to promote from within, improving your workplace culture, and reaching your business goals. To get more help in developing learning and development courses, check out the Zenefits training portal and talk to the experts at Zenefits.

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