Learning and development (L&D) is one of the best ways to drive engagement, boost productivity and increase employee satisfaction. All of which is great news for employers and the workforce.
In order to achieve this in your workplace and get the best results, you need the right learning and development strategy in place.
Sure, we understand that this is no small task, but if you hope to reap the rewards and create a happy and productive workforce, this is something you should address right away.
To help you do this, we’ve put together this guide on how to provide effective workplace learning for your team.
Start with high-impact onboarding
Onboarding new members of the team presents you with the perfect opportunity to introduce learning and development initiatives right from the get-go. Not only that, but it helps to make a great first impression on your new hires and settle them into their new role quickly.
There are several types of training you could offer at this stage for onboarding best practices. You should prepare new starters by sending them over any important or helpful reading material before their first day. This could be information and resources about the company’s missions, visions, values and history.
Then you can deliver training as part of the onboarding experience, introducing them to the tools and platforms they’ll be using on a daily basis and sharing how to access these tools through the company system.
Taking the opportunity and initiative to offer training right away might seem obvious, yet too many get this wrong.
Starting with a high-impact onboarding process can have a direct impact on the productivity, engagement and happiness of your new recruits. This, in turn, can impact retention rates.
It’s important to note that this process should apply to both office-based and remote employees, though this may require different training platforms or resources.
Take a bottom-up approach
For those employees already on your team, it’s a good idea to take a bottom-up approach to your training analysis. After all, who knows what skills they need to work on better than your employees themselves?
So ask each member of the team to declare their own learning needs and any other skills or courses they’d particularly like to focus on. You can then review this data to see which skills or resources come out as most popular and implement these new learning initiatives.
This collaborative approach can be the best way to provide the right workplace learning, though you need to coordinate this effectively. For larger teams, it can be easier to invest in a collaborative learning platform, where employees can even request training and vote on which courses they’d like to see introduced.
This makes it easier, not just to prioritise training in the short term, but also to ensure you continue to offer learning and development opportunities to the team.
Align L&D initiatives with larger business objectives
Don’t just take a shot in the dark at what learning and development opportunities may or may not be helpful to the team. As well as asking them for their own feedback, it’s a good idea to review your larger objectives and align your L&D programs with these goals.
For example, if your objective for the next quarter is to enhance data entry accuracy by up to 25% through the new software system, then you need to make sure that all employees involved are proficient in data entry and the new software.
Offering training in this way means that not only can you begin ticking off those objectives, but you won’t waste precious time, money and resources on training that is irrelevant or less effective.
So, to achieve this, you need to clearly outline the top objectives for your team and break these down into smaller goals. From there, you can work out what skills and resources are required to reach said goals.
Weave learning into your company culture
In too many cases, businesses operate with a top-down approach, which means certain skills and information are siloed, and you risk losing that valuable knowledge when a trained employee leaves the team.
However, if you weave learning into your company culture and encourage collaboration and sharing across the team, you reduce the risk of this happening.
Not to mention, lots of people prefer to learn through collaboration, training one another and feeling comfortable asking questions.
As peers work together on their learning in this way, gaps in training and resources can quickly become apparent. This allows you to create courses and training materials as required, ensuring that they are genuinely useful and relevant.
Embrace the right learning technology
If you don’t leverage the right tools and technology, your L&D efforts can quickly go to waste.
Gone are the days of hiring a professional to come into the office and conduct a seminar or to do a long-winded (and, frankly, boring) talk. Nowadays, there are so many great tools and resources out there to help employees learn.
For example, videos, apps and documents can be produced and shared in-house. You can also leverage online training courses and Learning Management Systems (LMS). These tools help you to create, manage and deliver the right training content to your teams from one place.
While LMS and other training tools might feel like a big investment in the short term, this will pay off in the long run as you can better manage your learning initiatives and create a skilled, driven workforce.
Design continuous learning journeys
Last but not least, learning and development should never be a one-off approach. It’s not enough to offer one training course a year as projects arise, or you realise that no one can conduct the work they have been set.
Instead, you need to focus your efforts on designing continuous learning journeys for every member of the team. That way, not only can they apply what they have learned right away, but it means they will be ready with the skills they need in the future.
As part of this continued learning journey, you should encourage your team to learn through on-the-job experiences, peer interaction and formal education via training courses.
If you can get this balance just right and get the perfect framework in place, you can design better learning journeys for your workforce.