The workplace is constantly evolving due to technological advancements, changing customer demands, and global economic trends. To stay competitive, organisations need to equip their employees with the skills required to adapt and thrive in this dynamic environment.
For employers who want to maintain a competitive edge in today’s fast-paced business world, it is essential to implement a learning and development strategy to define what workplace learning means within the organisation. Such a strategy involves a planned approach to identifying skills gaps among employees, determining the training and development needs of the organisation, and creating programs to address these needs.
Currently, most organisations rely on traditional methods for training and developing their staff such as classroom training sessions, workshops, and e-learning modules. These methods may be effective in some instances, but alone they can be inadequate to meet the needs of today’s workforce. Learning delivery should consider the varied learning requirements of the individual, the work that they are doing and how accessible the content is to the learner. A modern approach to training and development in the workplace should also acknowledge barriers that many employees face when participating in learning. Identifying the diverse needs of the learners is essential for employers. Employees need continuous learning opportunities that are personalised, on-demand, and accessible on a variety of devices.
1. Identify the Skills Gap
The first step in developing a learning and development strategy is to identify the skills gaps that exist within the organisation. This can be achieved through a variety of methods, including performance reviews of individuals and teams, surveys, and feedback from managers and employees. Once the skills gaps have been identified, the organisation can determine the training and development needs required to address them.
Along with the methods above, organisations should reflect upon the current training and development activities being undertaken within the business to determine:
- Is the current style of learning being used effective?
- Do the participants provide positive feedback after the learning exercise?
- Is it fit for purpose?
- What are the learning needs for the organisation, teams and individuals?
- Do the current development opportunities align to the goals and objectives of the business?
2. Determine the Learning & Development Needs to Address the Skills Gap
The next step is to determine the Learning and development needs required to address the skills gaps. Leaders need to work closely with management and employees to understand their training needs and align them with the organisation’s objectives. A thorough training needs analysis will help in identifying the skills that need to be developed, the methods that may work best, and the resources required for training and development.
This involves identifying the specific skills and knowledge that employees require to perform their jobs effectively.
3. Create a Customised Learning & Development Program
Once the training needs are identified, the business can then move forward creating a customised training and development program to address what has been identified. The program should be comprehensive and incorporate a range of training methods such as e-learning, video-based training, gamification, and peer-to-peer learning. It should be designed in a way that enables employees to learn at their own pace, acknowledges a range of learning styles and barriers to learning, conducted at a time and place that suits the learners. Keep in mind that learning does not need to be formal, it can be as informal as reading an article, participating in a group discussion on topical issues, or job shadowing. The objectives of the learners and all learning opportunities available to achieve the training objective should be detailed within the program.
The key is to develop programs that are tailored to the specific needs of the organisation and its employees. For example, if the organisation has identified a need for employees to develop their leadership skills, a leadership development program could be created that includes formal coaching along with informal opportunities for growth and progression.
4. Implement the Learning & Development Program
Once the development initiatives have been created, they need to be implemented. This involves communicating the programs to employees, providing them with the necessary resources to achieve the outcomes, and ensuring that they have the time and support to participate in the programs. It may also involve providing incentives for employees who complete the programs successfully.
An effective way to engage employees is through video based interactive training. Videos can deliver content in a concise and digestible way, making it easier for employees to learn and retain information. Video content can be accessed on a variety of devices and provides flexibility to support the employee to learn at their own pace and with appropriate assistance, like voice to text transcription if required.
Informal peer-to-peer learning is a constructive way to share knowledge and firm up consistent processes within the business. It involves employees learning from each other, sharing knowledge, experiences, and skills. Peer-to-peer learning can also be facilitated by creating online communities, forums, or mentoring programs. It is proven to be practical way to develop key soft skills such as communication, leadership, and team building.
5. Measure the Effectiveness of the Learning & Development Program
It is essential to measure the effectiveness of the programs regularly. Business leaders should use metrics such as employee engagement, productivity, and retention to measure the effectiveness. Surveying participants at the completion of learning activities is a great way to communicate with employees regarding efficacy and application in their roles.
This involves measuring the impact of the programs on employee performance and productivity, as well as gathering feedback from employees. Metrics such as employee engagement, productivity, and retention could also be relied upon during the reviews. Based on the results of the evaluation, the organisation can reshape the learning initiatives to ensure that they create meaningful, engaging development opportunities that continue to meet the needs of the organisation and its employees.
In addition to the above steps, there are several other factors that should be considered when developing a learning and development strategy:
- Budget: Identify the budget available for learning initiatives and ensure that it is appropriately allocated to give all stakeholders the very best return on investment.
- Technology: Consider the use of technology to deliver programs, such as online training and e-learning platforms. What would be the most applicable and effective?
- Leadership: The organisation should ensure that its leaders are actively involved in the development process and that they are setting an example for other employees by supporting learning initiatives.
- Culture: Leaders should develop and support a culture that fosters a commitment to learning and development, and that employees are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities made available and speak up when they have feedback, questions or need support.
Reshaping what workplace learning means to your organisation is crucial to stay competitive in today’s dynamic environment. Business leaders should identify stakeholders responsible for identifying the gaps in the current development programs, creating a customised training and development program, incorporating a variety of learning methods, and measuring the effectiveness of the program regularly. A comprehensive training and development program that is fit for purpose can help organisations retain top talent, increase productivity, and create a successful training and development strategy that supports the growth and development of their employees and the organisation.
About Employment Innovations
Employment Innovations is one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, payroll solutions, migration, human resource management and HR software.
The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.