Employee-led learning and development is a good L&D strategy

6th November 2018

Training and development has grabbed the attention of the employees like never before than it is today. Forward-looking organisations are devising strategies to attract, engage and retain the best people with effective L&D programs.

L&D is topping the priority list:

As per L&D analysis 16 out of 20 employees – or 80% opts for training and development and think it is a key driver of employee engagement.In modern working environment employees, and particularly high potential employees, want to progress quickly. They are eager to learn new skills, to develop themselves and to have a career path mapped out. And this is only set to become more important as our working lives lengthen going forward.

Furthermore, trends such as increased automation and other technology and workplace advances continue to affect job roles and skills needed. This leads employees and companies to learn and develop skills to remain competitive.

So, in order to hire and retain the best employees, you’ll need to get your L&D department in order. Here are a few areas you could choose to focus on: -

1. Encourage self-led learning
Of late, employees themselves are taking initiatives when it comes to their own development. It is the responsibility of the employers to encourage employees by providing the required support, resources and tools.
Easy access to tools online for employees must be provided for their development like training needs analysis or diagnostic tools or an online feedback system that allows employees to both give and request ad hoc feedback from colleagues in a current workstream.
A more formal feedback with a provision for self-assessment and/or to ask for feedback from their manager and peers can also be considered. Competency assessment – either technical or functional – to gauge aptitude against core competencies for a current or future role.
These processes can offer invaluable insight into where an individual’s development priorities should lie, informing their personal development plan.

2. Create a learning culture
Leading organisations such as Amazon and Facebook continuously create a learning culture. From the day new starters join, there is a relentless focus on learning, self-improvement and development. An encouraging environment and mind-set not only improve skill levels, it also fosters greater creativity and innovation too.
Investments in L&D comes at a price. And there’s a risk that some employees will take the training on offer and decide to jump ship. Arguably though, the benefits outweigh the risks and then some.

3. Provide a career blueprint for your workforce
Mapping out a plan or framework for employees will be a big help. This should help them to understand how they can progress, and the kind of skills and behaviours they need to work on. Online tutorials should be implemented on how to use the framework for personal development planning.

4. Look for your own coaches
Coaches can be of real help to today’s line managers and can be tremendously valuable. Coaches are highly sought-after in companies for good reason; coaching is an empowering form of leadership that helps employees to think for themselves. Coaching is particularly valuable if you are aiming to encourage self-led learning, as trained coaches will be essential to embedding learning and supporting development.

5. Give more learning choices to employees
Employees must be given different choices of how and when they learn. It is better to let willing employees decide and fit in with desired training around day-to-day work, and from a learning preference perspective too as we respond better to different formats.
The 70: 20: 10 learning and development model is commonly favoured and it’s certainly a useful proxy for most businesses. This model suggests that 70% of learning be ‘on the job’, 20% comes from interaction with others (informally) and 10% from formal training or workshops.
So, consider an L&D plan that incorporates a good mix of e-learning modules, video-based training, and workshops – perhaps in shorter ‘bite-size’ format. Modules should cover specialist and role-specific skills as well as transferrable ‘soft’ skills as well as technical and more specialist skills.

6. Opt for the best practice - collaborative learning
Employees must indulge in collaborative learning where sharing of knowledge can done in an informal manner among teams and individuals. This can be achieved through setting up intranet forums, social networks or through establishing working groups. You can even link online platforms to an e-learning hub.

The learning can be more effectual if employees share their insights, experiences and feedback with peers whether done online or face to face.

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