A woman standing in front of a seated crowd of professionals who are there for training. There’s a whiteboard behind her.
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Has your company recognised the importance of training?

27 Sep 2018

Learning and development are essential for your career progression. Skillsoft’s Trish Burridge wants to know if your company realises the value of this.

The right learning and development (L&D) programme can dramatically impact a company’s performance, employee retention and metrics. Learning is no longer a ‘nice to have’ in the corporate world – it is a game-changer.

Employees today want jobs that offer them career development and a chance to expand their skillset. By offering the right L&D programme, companies are showing their employees that they care about their careers and want to nurture their talents.

But what is needed to develop a great L&D programme? With options ranging from classroom-based courses and ‘away days’ to online tutorials and e-learning programmes, it can be challenging to decide which approach to take.

To help you choose the best option for your organisation, here are the must-haves for an impactful L&D programme.

Be continuous and flexible

Employees face challenges in the workplace every day. Learning should be on-demand and available when the employee needs it, rather than a scheduled event.

Take an employee who is struggling with Excel. Rather than the employee having to think back to an Excel course they once took on an away day or scour through Google for the right answer, an online L&D programme could help them find the answer they need in minutes, and from a trusted source rather than an unofficial website.

People are individuals and each employee will have their own preference about how they learn best. It might be listening to audio books or watching short and structured video clips throughout the day, as and when specific challenges arise.

More learning content is available now than ever before. Organisations need to help their employees find what works for them by acting as curator, balancing guidance and structure with ‘open’ learning opportunities tailored to each individual employee.

Understand the difference between coaching and training

Many managers call training (skill development or giving information) and mentoring (providing advice or sharing experience/wisdom) coaching. Many also confuse daily updates, task assignments or problem-solving for coaching.

Coaching is where managers enable and encourage their employees to learn. To do this, they have to take the time to talk to each of their team members about what they’d like to learn, how they’d like to do it and how to make this become reality.

L&D teams must support managers in taking this approach and put in place the next logical steps to connect employees with the courses that they want.

Tangible in terms of returns

An L&D programme will only be effective if the executive team is on board. Executives have the power to promote and encourage their employees to get involved with L&D. Furthermore, if L&D can be linked to improved performance, then both employees and executives are more likely to be happy.

People are happier when they know that coming to work has a genuine impact on the success of the company. When employees know they are making a real difference, it gives them the motivation to continuously learn and grow. Managers who build a culture of learning understand that investing in employees today pays dividends tomorrow.

L&D programmes today need to be flexible and appeal to the modern learner: the time-pressed, always-on employee.

By ensuring L&D programmes offer flexible and on-demand learning, and getting management and executives on board, organisations can reap the many benefits that learning provides and set themselves up for success.

By Trish Burridge

Trish Burridge is the director of customer success in Skillsoft’s EMEA region.

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