Developing employees has never been as important as it is now. Once an employee has passed their probation period the learning and nurturing from an employer should not stop there. Over time employees will naturally become more skilled or show more of an interest in certain areas of their role, so it’s imperative that we encourage and nurture that. But how can we upskill employees in a mutually beneficial way? Here we will discuss the many reasons for learning and development (L&D) and also strategic ways in which it can be applied.
What Is Employee Learning And Development?
Learning and development in the workplace is the teaching of new skills, and the development of existing skills, by an employer to an employee. This can encompass anything from in house training via colleagues to external accredited courses. It’s a way in which employers can upskill employees and really get the most out of their skill set and encourage new skills and passions within the workplace.
Why Is Learning And Development Important?
Underestimating, or overlooking L&D can be detrimental to a business, it’s vital that employers fully understand the importance and benefits that can be gained from it. With that in mind below is a list of some of the main benefits to embracing L&D:
Attracting The Best Employees
Those hunting for a new job are becoming increasingly particular when it comes to choosing a company to work for, they are no longer satisfied with just receiving their basic salary each month and are looking for better employment packages. These packages don’t just include a free Starbucks on Friday’s or an onsite Playstation, employees want access to ongoing training, development, seminars and clear plans for progression. In order to attract the very best in the business then a clear L&D plan is necessary.
After spending time training an employee in their new role you should have narrowed down what their true strengths and challenges are, which is the perfect opportunity for development. Focusing on an employees strengths and upskilling those via L&D not only increases their knowledge, but also their confidence and passion for the job. Focusing on the areas someone may be struggling and targeting training there will result in a more well rounded employee too
Retaining employees has many benefits, the most obvious of which are business knowledge and cost saving. Recruitment for new employees can be expensive so retaining current knowledgeable staff saves companies a lot of money. One of the main reasons employees leave their job is due to a lack of development – 22% according to the Work Institute. In order to keep good staff it’s imperative that you invest in them as employees via L&D and by offering clear progression paths.
How Can You Create A Successful Learning And Development Strategy?
Setting in place a learning and development strategy can seem like a daunting task, but with the right information and guidance it’s quite simple. First of all employers must conduct an honest assessment of the business needs and objectives, then marry these up with the employers current skill set and the strengths they have shown. By identifying the needs of both parties it will ensure that the L&D strategy which is put in place benefits both parties, and that training isn’t done as a tick box exercise without any tangible benefits. Once clear objectives are in place, then consider the following ways in how these can be met:
- On the job training
- External training courses
- Performance reviews
Using a mix of the above will ensure that an employee has the best and clearest way to get the most from their L&D journey. Be sure to regularly review the progress of the plan and don’t be afraid to make any changes as you go along – development isn’t linear, it’s fluid.
How would you put in place a comprehensive learning and development plan?