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.=
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.