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The Not-So-Secret Sauce to Better Learning And Development at Work

For many organisations, rolling out learning and development programs could mean a growth playground for their employees. Training employees is almost like a team sport -- there has to be an engaging, give-and-take rapport between the educator and your employees for learning to thrive.

When it comes to workforce development, a staggering 94% of employees surveyed by LinkedIn last year say they would be keen to stay at a company if they got the opportunity to learn and grow. At a time when employers struggle to find and retain skilled talent, it’s crucial that you tap into the right kind of training to develop your talent hub.

And here’s why this matters: For every 1,000 employees, ineffective training can cost businesses nearly $13.5 million per year.

The Big Picture

What’s interesting to note is that employers are beginning to invest in this kind of development. Several organisations, including Microsoft, are focusing on reskilling millions of employees for a post-pandemic world.

They’re not shying away from bigger budgets, either. In 2017, 49% of the companies surveyed mentioned that tight budgets were a challenge when it came to training their workforce.

Fast forward to 2019: it’s almost halved to 27%. With increased budgets in line, companies are starting to ask themselves, “how do we retain the right people?” Here’s where finding and closing skills gaps -- through training -- can make a difference.

As a senior leader, what should you look for when selecting learning and development programs? Here are three key ingredients to consider:

1. Select The Right Trainer

With so many instructors in the market today, how do you know who’s best qualified to train your employees? Here’s where passion and skills come into play. Make sure that you pick someone who has personal experience in what they’re teaching and ensure that they have “been there and done that,” not just someone with frameworks and theories.

It needn’t be someone who’s offering a training warehouse - from sales to negotiation, and leadership to product management. Ideally, you’re better off selecting a specialist trainer. This would likely make the training a lot more effective. Experts in a specific business area carry years of experience and in-depth knowledge to deliver targeted learning outcomes for your employees. For instance, when mid-level managers have the opportunity to learn more about leading teams from the CEO of an award winning agency, they can potentially tap into the mistakes, successes and decades of experience that the trainer brings with him or her in the field of management.

2. Understand Your Target Audience

For a training program to be successful, it needs to be tailored to the target audience’s needs. Here are a few questions that could come in handy while addressing this: Who is your target audience and what is their profile? Are you designing learning programmes for an older generation or millennials? Are their needs similar or are they different?

The answers to these questions can help you gauge the learning style and delivery format to your target audience.

It will also pinpoint some interesting data -- for example, what would you do if you discovered your target audience included both English and Japanese speakers? You could have the training and development materials translated into both languages.

Let’s take a closer look at delivery. Not everyone enjoys classroom training, digital videos or podcasts. Different solutions for different people are fine, but what’s important is to not go for one-size-fits-all platforms -- it simply doesn’t work.

A better option would be to tailor content delivery based on your requirements. For instance, if employees stand to learn better from industry experts, businesses can tap into learning platforms such as Tigerhall to gain access to an extensive network of senior management and industry leaders for mentorship and learning opportunities.

3. What is The Time Commitment You’re Expecting?

If your organisation is looking to rope in participants during their work hours, make sure that you plan out time for them to spend on it.

Most people don’t take time out of their day to spend on learning unless someone tells them to. You, as a leader, have to make it a priority to learn, and make sure they take that time. Without the perk, they may feel they’ll get “pulled up” for not completing short-term assignments when they spent time on a long-term investment as learning.

Make it a priority to learn and show your teams that it’s important that they do not shy away from talent development projects. In fact, creating a company culture that rewards employee growth and development can increase their motivation and loyalty. Even better? When incentivised with learning and rewards, employee engagement shot up seven times over.

The Takeaway

In today's competitive business landscape, it's important to enable job development. By helping employees access exciting learning opportunities, companies can reduce turnover and boost employee satisfaction -- two critical aspects to leading a successful business.

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