Human Resources

Empowering Learning and Development: 3 Creative Program Ideas

July 28, 2023
4 minutes

Learning and development programs play a crucial role in enhancing the skills and knowledge of employees. It’s one thing to have learning and development resources available to employees. It’s another thing for employees to actually engage in learning. Successful learning and development initiatives require dedicated owners or teams who can design thoughtful and strategic programs tailored to the organization's needs and the employees' interests. When there is the force of a team designing, launching and nurturing programs, learning and development soars.=

The best learning and development programs are personalized

Before diving into the ideas, let’s take a step back. The best programs are the ones that are personalized for the organization and the employees in it. Knowing the challenges to the business and what employees want to learn are central to building learning and development programs that will have meaningful employee engagement and business impact. So gathering some relevant data about what people already know and what they want to learn is a worthwhile first step.

The most insightful data to power your learning and development programs is skills data – what skills do your employees already possess and what skills do they aspire to learn? 

This is the most important and relevant skills information to gather to power these program ideas to their fullest potential:

  • Skills employees have - Gather a skills profile for each employee. There are a number of ways to build an organizational skills inventory. At tilr, we believe people should write their own skills profiles. Knowing the skills that already exist in the organization is the basis for identifying skills gaps. You can also leverage people and their skills to drive learning and development programs.

  • Skills employees aspire to develop - A central component of developing people is knowing how they want to grow. Unearthing employees' aspirations is the glue for engaging employees in the learning and development that is most relevant and interesting to them.

  • Skills the organization needs - At the core, this is the skills the organization needs. One effective way to approach this exercise is to develop a skills profile for each role in the organization. Also consider the forces changing or threatening the industry, like new policies, emerging technologies, and competitors. 

Bringing it all together - the sweet spot is aligning employees interests with the needs of the organization. This skills data is the necessary information to connect these dots. 

Drawing inspiration from our customers, let’s look at some of the most successful learning and development programs that we have seen. 

Idea #1 - Skill of the Month:


The "Skill of the Month" program revolves around selecting a specific skill each month and creating a campaign to promote its importance within the organization. This approach enables employees to focus on one skill at a time, fostering a deeper understanding and encouraging active learning.


The primary objective of the "Skill of the Month" initiative is to rally the organization around a crucial skill that aligns with the company's needs or is an aspiration skill for many employees. By dedicating time and resources to learning about this skill, employees are more likely to engage in the learning process.

Program Activities:

  1. Create a designated space on communication platforms like Slack or the intranet where employees can access information about the chosen skill. Offer a clear definition of the skill and demonstrate how it contributes to the organization's success.

  2. Provide employees with various resources to delve deeper into the chosen skill. This could include online courses, podcasts, lunch and learn sessions, or the opportunity to interact with subject matter experts.

  3. Gamify the program by holding a random draw among employees who complete the learning activities. The winner receives a book related to the skill as a motivating reward.

Idea #2 - Connect People Based on Skills and Aspiring Skills:


The "Connect People" program leverages the data collected about employees' existing skills and their aspirations for skill development. By identifying skill matches, this initiative pairs individuals for short-term mentorship opportunities, facilitating knowledge exchange and fostering a culture of continuous learning.


The main goal of this program is to utilize the skills data to create meaningful connections among employees. By encouraging mentorship around specific skills, employees can learn from one another and gain valuable insights, enriching the overall learning experience.

Program Activities:

  1. Analyze the skills data to identify complementary skill sets between employees.
  2. Introduce a mentorship program where employees with expertise in a certain skill mentor others who aspire to develop that skill.
  3. Establish a platform or framework for mentor-mentee interactions, encouraging regular communication and knowledge sharing.

Idea #3 - Engage People Leaders:


In this approach, the focus is on engaging people leaders and managers to actively participate in the learning and development process. When leaders advocate for learning and directly encourage their team members to engage in L&D activities, it can significantly increase employee buy-in and commitment.


By involving people leaders in the learning process, this program aims to create a top-down approach to learning and development. When employees see their leaders prioritizing learning, they are more likely to perceive it as a crucial aspect of their job and professional growth.

Program Activities:

  1. Encourage leaders to recommend specific courses or learning resources to their team members based on individual development needs.
  2. Conduct workshops or training sessions for people leaders to emphasize the importance of L&D and provide them with tools to support their team's learning journey.
  3. Recognize and celebrate leaders who actively promote and participate in the organization's L&D initiatives.

Putting it to action

The participation and engagement in learning and development programs tends to be on a bell curve. There are the employees that are always actively upskilling themselves, while others do not participate. It’s about finding ways to engage that middle group. Testing and playing with different programs and approaches to see what resonates with employees is a worthwhile endeavor to discover the things that stick and move the needle.

Similar posts

Read more great content from the tilr blog!

Get a live demo of tilr!

See what has leading business and talent leaders raving!
Get a Demo!
circle check box
Live 1:1 demo
circle check box
No pressure