The ABCs of Learning and Development for Organizational Transformation (Plus Free Downloadable Templates)

The ABCs of Learning and Development for Organizational Transformation (Plus Free Downloadable Templates)

Featured Bonus Content: Get The Learning and Development Program Templates for FREE! Click Here To Download It.

Change is inevitable, and it’s necessary for the growth of every organization. But how can you ensure that the changes your company undergoes are positive ones? 

One way is through learning and development. 

According to research carried out by LinkedIn, 99 percent of employees agree that the skill or knowledge gap negatively impacts the company. However, it can be difficult to achieve total transformation due to resistance from employees who are not used to change.  

The first step toward achieving organizational transformation is learning how people learn and develop as individuals so that leaders can guide them through this process more effectively. 

This blog post reviews the ABCs of learning and development for organizational transformation, including strategies, tools, available learning and development models, knowledge creation/sharing processes, critical thinking skill building with reflection exercises on each step along the way.  

Ready to get that transformational journey started? 

Let’s dive in!

Chapter One: What is Learning and Development?

What is Learning and Development?

Learning and development (L&D) is a specialized HR function that refers to empowering every employee within an organization with specific skills to drive better business performance.

Employees can be upskilled to perform much better in their existing roles or ingeniously reskilled to take on new roles. This helps fill the skills gap that is becoming prevalent in today’s workplace.

The intended outcome of learning and development is not only performance. This specialized human resources function has many other benefits, including future-proofing your brand/business, employee satisfaction, increased retention, and improved employee experience.

Therefore, it shouldn’t be too surprising to note that learning and development are counted as one of an organization’s overall talent management strategies. 

This is where learning is employed as a means to readily acquire, nurture, maximize, and retain talent.

In 2019, learning and development was Deloitte’s top human capital trend. Up to 86 percent of respondents to a survey by Deloitte stated that improving their learning and development capabilities was a “very important issue” or “important.”

Definition of Learning and Development 

Learning and development, a subset of human resources, is a way of increasing the value of employees within an organization.

It usually involves evaluating or assessing staff for potential and then developing that potential.

It also involves honing the relevant skills of employees and onboarding new staff. These are accomplished via appropriate techniques/curriculum such as team and individual training, coaching, and staff assessments.

“Learning” usually applies to immediate teaching, while “development” has a much longer-term connotation.

Difference Between Learning and Development

As mentioned earlier, learning and development is an efficient or systematic process to improve an employee’s knowledge, skills, and competency. The outcome is a much better performance within a work setting.

To be more specific, “Learning” is primarily concerned with acquiring attitudes, knowledge, and skills. On the other hand, “development” is all about deepening and broadening the knowledge in line with the employee’s development goals.

The terms “learning” and “development” are often used interchangeably when discussing this systematic process. However, you must bear these subtle differences between the concepts in mind:

Learning: This involves acquiring skills, knowledge, and attitudes via study, teaching, or experience. Development, education, and training all involve learning.

Development: This is a long-term target that revolves around the deepening or broadening of knowledge. It internalizes the knowledge acquired to enhance skills, thus making it a skills-based process. 

Development must fit within an individual’s personal development goals and the (future) objectives of the company. In most cases, development happens voluntarily.

To shed more light on the differences between learning and development, let’s define “training” and “education” in this context:

Training: This has to do with the immediate teaching of applicable skills, attitudes, and knowledge required in a specific job. It focuses heavily on delivering much better performances in the current job role or successfully overcoming future changes.

Education: This is a more formal method of broadening an individual’s knowledge. It is, in most cases, applicable for a long time and non-specific. Education is also highly relevant when a person or employee has little experience in a particular area.

As you can see, learning and development is an end-to-end, holistic activity that combines the acquisition of knowledge to better perform new or existing skills.

What Development Has That Learning Doesn’t

Development involves the direct application of what is learned to drive results and grow as a person or leader. Learning is all about acquiring new knowledge, but without development, it’s all for nothing.

This is why it is essential to build programs where leaders/employees learn and develop to grow.

History of Learning and Development

Learning and development have changed profoundly in recent decades. However, these recent changes cannot be compared to the drastic development that has occurred since the inducing power of the industrial revolution in the 1800s, i.e., the nineteenth century.

Before this, only a handful of industries even considered the possibility or concept of professional development. Nevertheless, the progress that has been made since this period has been incredible. 

To understand how learning and development have led to the amazing learning opportunities we see today, it makes sense to highlight every significant transformation in learning and development.

The Nineteenth Century: The industrial revolution was the primary driving force for learning and development in the nineteenth century. Britain’s labor force was significantly under-skilled compared to other nations, and concerns for this status were rife.

This called for a push for considerable development in the industrial sectors. Moreover, as more and more manufacturing processes became more mechanized and a wide range of brand-new service-based professions—such as accountants and lawyers—were emerging, the profound need for more qualified individuals to take on these roles became more significant.

Combatting these issues called for a move toward extraordinarily specific workplace training. This ensured every employee had the necessary skills to embrace new or current developments within these emerging sectors.

The emphasis on workplace training eventually became a common trend during the twentieth century, even as new trends emerged.

But before this development, in 1894, customers angrily returned a $50,000 shipment of defective or faulty cash registers to the National Cash Register (NCR) company. 

The executives decided to improve factory conditions and build a company library to boost quality control and employee morale. At the time, this was a usual move of the “corporate welfare programs.”

But that typical move was not enough because, by 1901, NCR workers were fed up and went on strike, severely criticizing corporate welfare. In return, NCR created the country’s first personnel department and charged it with establishing official procedures for choosing who gets hired, promoted, or fired.

An NCR was also created simultaneously, and that was how NCR invented what is known today as human resources.

1910s to 1920s: A short period after pioneering the assembly line, Ford Motor Company established a sociological department, which is another early version of human resources. This department was dedicated to helping employees learn.

A few top dogs were somewhat skeptical of this so-called “unworthy investment in lower-level workers.” But the man himself, Henry Ford, was insistent. As far as the manufacturer was concerned, this was a worthwhile investment.

Ford started offering classes in English, personal finance, hygiene, and even homemaking. The Ford Motor Company sent a few agents to readily inspect the homes of some of its workers.

Many people in the business world at the time felt these efforts were too controlling and extremely invasive. But as far as Ford was concerned, the workforce of his organization was a valuable asset that he never joked with and wanted to monitor at close quarters.

1940s to 1950s: If you are looking for the founder of today’s digital economy, look no further than AT&T’s Bell Labs. This telecommunication company heavily recruited some of the top scientists globally and successfully generated massive government funding.

On that account, the company invented the laser, the transistor, as well as more than a few computer programming languages. This is why many believe that Bell Labs broke the mold in several ways.

For instance, employees at the telecommunication company were permitted to explore their interests. They were heavily encouraged to chat or discuss concepts with unfamiliar co-workers to foster more helpful ideas.

However, elite researchers were the only ones capable of exploring their interests without any hindrance. Most of the workers at AT&T were not permitted to engage extensively in this learning program.

1970s to 1980s: But by 1979, the CEO at Motorola decided enough was enough. If the company were to grow, only those who had relevant skills could make it happen. The CEO mandated that all employees needed to learn new skills.

This decision was founded on the fear that rivals from other nations may put the company under. The competence of its US workforce was a cause for worry, and the company was in dire need of improving its quality controls.

The decision of the CEO led to the establishment of what is known as Motorola University. The corporate university turned recent retirees and existing workers into faculty while partnering with several local community colleges.

Every employee at Motorola received the push to study math and basic literacy. The company fired employees who were heavily opposed to this new or recent development.

By 1990, Motorola estimated that its university costs more than $100 million per annum, declaring confidently that this was a worthwhile investment.

1990s to 2000s: It may sound surprising to know that learning management systems originated from conventional universities, not businesses. 

The systems made it possible to digitally deliver learning and expanded the possibility of reaching far more individuals than any brick-and-mortar could.

Originally, the system was known as FirstClass, and it was created by telecom workers in Toronto who launched a firm called SoftArc. 

Their learning management system was made popular by the Open University—courtesy of the United Kingdom—in the 1990s.

Before long, small and large businesses got the picture and started training their workers on websites heavily adapted from universities. Thanks to vital breakthroughs, like SCORM, tracking the learning of individual workers became possible. 

But the learning management system was static, even though this was during the early twenty-first century. There was no adaptive curriculum, which is utterly crucial for profound success. The content was only standardized to scale and never accounted for the unique interests and needs of individuals.

The Future of Learning and Development: As you can see, corporate learning has come very far over the last 125 years. The early versions of learning and development made enterprise learning incredibly popular. However, it did not solve the challenges of personalizing skill development, making it much more impactful.

Nevertheless, the advent of technology today provides the insight and innovation to overcome these crucial challenges. But then, the struggles of conventional learning and development strategies are still a big challenge to many organizations across industries.

If business leaders get the right direction, they can readily adopt highly impactful learning and development strategies that put every employee first while maintaining their ability to scale.

The Importance of Learning and Development

The Importance of Learning and Development

Research shows that in 1820, only 12 percent of the entire world’s population could read. As of 2016, about 14 percent of the world’s population remains illiterate. However, the world has significantly changed during that time with the inventions of such marvels as the industrial revolution, the internal combustion engine, trains, telephone, motor cars, electricity, photography, and much more.

This powerful shot at creativity and ingenuity would have remained practically impossible if not for the learning and development carried out during this time.

This may all be in the past, and if you need more reasons to be encouraged in this day and age, here are a few that reveal the importance of learning and development: 

Improved Work Culture: Work culture is at the heart of every organization. According to 94 percent of executives, company/work culture is crucial to business success. Modern learning technologies have gone beyond focusing on learning content. They also lay lots of emphasis on the social side of things.

Live chat features, virtual clubs, social streams, expert areas, etc., help breathe life into the learning management system of any organization.

Employee Engagement: Employees who have access to ongoing training and development will always feel more valued. 

This engenders an extraordinarily supportive atmosphere and allows employees to receive the relevant training they may not have sought for themselves or had access to.

On-the-job training fosters a supportive workplace, and every challenged employee feels appreciated and has greater satisfaction toward their respective jobs.

Turnover Rates: Any company that loses top talent faces the costs of turnover. Studies from World Institute show that the average cost of employee turnover is up to 33 percent of the position’s salary. This is about $20,000 for a job that pays around $60,000 per annum. 

In addition to this, after replacing the talent, the company may still not receive or enjoy the new talent’s full productivity for several months after hiring.

Therefore, the best way to bring down turnover rates or prevent money from bleeding out of the company due to lost talent is to invest heavily in human capital. This is how important learning and development can be to the growth of any organization.

Productivity Levels: An employee or worker who receives quality training becomes much better at performing their job. Various learning and development tools also help build or enhance the employee’s confidence due to the stronger understanding of the industry as well as the primary responsibilities of their job.

This confidence can boost their morale and push them to perform much better. They can think up new ideas that help them excel in their field or duty, which is a plus to the organization.

In other words, when you train your employees, you significantly improve your bottom line. This is why many organizations that focus on strengthening the weakness of their employees report between a 14 percent to a 29 percent increase in profit

Better Communication Channels Between Management and Staff Members: Management in most businesses spends a lot of time developing strategies to enhance business performance, thereby increasing profits. They focus on implementing several approaches and methods to engage all external stakeholders like the investors, customers, community members, analysts, and media.

But they forget the one thing that can significantly drive success through the roof in their organization: their employees. These are the individuals who put in the sweat and blood that make any organization a success.

SIS International Research discovered that companies with approximately 100 employees could lose over $525,000 per annum due to ineffective manager-employee communication.

Therefore, is there anything you can do to foster better communication channels between management and staff members? Yes, there is, and that is via effective learning and development.

Part of learning and development includes building excellent communication skills within the workplace. Aside from contributing significantly to increased engagement between employees or between management and staff members, thoroughly effective communication skills can foster a more talented and productive workforce in several other ways.

Standard Expectation: According to research from Gallup, today’s workforce has come to expect relevant and high-quality training and development arrangements as a standard. 

The study shows that up to 87 percent of millennials report that learning and development opportunities are influential factors when deciding whether to accept a new job or not.

Since millennials will take up to 50 percent of the United States workforce by 2025 and up to 75 percent of the US workforce by 2030, businesses or organizations must cater to this new majority by making learning and development opportunities readily available. This will put organizations on an excellent footing to compete favorably for top talent.

Remarkably Optimized Onboarding: The onboarding experience is usually the first glimpse many new employees have into how a company operates. The overall objectives of onboarding and training are to enhance belonging, safety, and significance to increase performance, retention, culture, clarity, and engagement.

According to a Society for Human Resource Management Foundation article titled “Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success,” up to 69 percent of employees surveyed at a particular organization are more likely to stay with the organization for as long as three years if they had an excellent onboarding experience.

Additionally, new employees have the first 90 days to decide if they are going to stay for a while, or if they will only stay until a better opportunity shows up.

Improved Customer Service and Satisfaction: One of the best—and most crucial—indicators of success in talent development involves your customer metrics. When employees undergo learning and development programs and successfully retain relevant knowledge, it directly reflects a customer’s experience with your brand.

The employees work more productively and professionally, making customers feel the direct impact of this elevated service. 

This is because the employee’s job performance will expressly speak for itself via your customers. This will also likely improve your customer’s opinion of your brand, resulting in a win-win.

It is no longer surprising that companies that empower each employee to handle customer conversations effectively report a 16 percent increase in customer satisfaction

Significant Improvement of All Internal Weaknesses: No one is perfect. Every human has one weakness or the other, including your employees. Some of your employee’s workplace skills may not be up to par with what is happening currently within the industry.

The primary purpose of learning or training and development objectives is to help the employees to strengthen those skills or allow them to update them to current industry standards.

Every development program aims to bring employees to a much higher level to possess similar knowledge and skills. This will help to reduce shortcomings within the organization and boost productivity and performance, as mentioned earlier.

Formalized Sharing of Knowledge: A well-structured learning and development program ensures that every employee has a consistent learning experience and correct background knowledge.

This consistency is specifically significant for your organization’s procedures and basic policies. It helps a great deal for employees to be fully aware of the procedures and expectations within the organization.

Providing teammates with regular or consistent training in these areas readily ensures that every individual has exposure to the material as a baseline.

Increased Employee Retention Rates: Learning and development opportunities have been proven to have a considerable influence on employee retention rates. According to a study, a whopping 94 percent of employees would stay at an organization for longer if the firm was steadily investing in their career development.

Additionally, improving employee retention rates helps organizations save lots of money. On average, it will cost a company as much as five times more to employ or hire a new employee than to keep an existing staff member. 

Keeps Employees up-to-Date: More than 250 listed channels are heavily dedicated to 24-hour news worldwide. This does not include dedicated business, sports, and weather news channels.

This implies that the world’s thirst for keeping up-to-date with current affairs is at an all-time high and will remain so for a long time to come. This is not so different in the industries that control world economies today.

Using learning management systems—which make communication tools available—helps keep the management and employees in the loop with the latest happenings within the industry.

Minimized Workplace Risk: Untrained employees, or those who are not trained to use special equipment cause a substantial number of workplace accidents.

HR departments must find a means to create a comprehensive—and clear—training program to ensure every employee fully understands how to remain safe in the workplace.

How Does Learning and Development Work?

The learning and development process can be broken into five crucial steps:

  1. Talent Gap Analysis: This involves assessing your existing talent landscape to readily identify skills shortage, significant improvement areas, as well as possible opportunities in line with current or future business goals/objectives.
  2. Learning and Development Strategy Formulation: The selection of different learning and development components that makes up the learning experience, e.g., executive coaching, hands-on training, mentorships, etc.
  3. Procurement: Partnerships with learning and development providers—internal and external—as well as onboarding them into the company (could include coaching organizations, consultants, learning and development technologies, etc.).
  4. Execution: Implementation of your learning and development strategy through the learning partners as well as technologies selected. This could be done individually or in groups of employees.
  5. Measurement and Review: This involves measuring the success of the learning and development program against the talent gap analysis initially carried out after the completion of the program.

This five-step process summarizes how most learning and development strategies progress. You can align this process with your business priorities, bearing in mind the organization’s timelines and budgets for talent development.

The most critical of them all is the last step. This is because it expressly reveals valuable or key insights into which key performance indicators were easily met and those that fell short of the desired target.

This helps you realign the learning and development component selection as well as investment in the next learning cycle.

The Task of the Manager in Learning and Development 

Learning and development managers are primarily responsible for creating and delivering bespoke training programs. This concept is usually designed with management, leadership, business, and personal progression in mind.

In-depth knowledge of the organization, its business strategy, and clients are all key as they will be taken into consideration when creating the training and performance programs.

In simple words, the major role of a learning and development manager is to efficiently and fundamentally assist the organization in attaining success by developing and coaching its employees.

This includes doing the following:

  • Conduct annual learning and development needs assessment
  • Develop dedicated learning and development objectives and programs
  • Modify programs as needed
  • Perform follow-up studies of every completed training to evaluate and measure results
  • Plan, organize, facilitate, and order relevant supplies for employee training and development events
  • Train and effectively coach supervisors, managers, and others heavily involved in employee development efforts
  • Develop or obtain notably effective training materials employing a wide variety of media
  • Build quality relationships with third-party 
  • Exemplify the philosophies and desired culture of the company 
  • Develop and effectively maintain organizational communications, e.g., newsletters and intranet bulletin boards, to ensure every employee possesses knowledge of learning and development events and resources
  • Work effectively and efficiently as a team member with other members of the HR and management staff

Learning and development managers work closely with various leaders across the company, business managers, learning and development specialists, as well as other members of the human resource and learning and development departments.

Learning and Development Manager Skills and Competencies

A learning and development manager must possess excellent verbal and written communication skills and be keenly interested in assisting individuals with their learning and development.

Profound experience in budget management and e-learning course design is sorely desirable. It is also essential for a learning and development manager to be CTP or CIPD qualified, have a degree in a relevant discipline, and possess proven people management skills.

Learning and development managers are expected to be immensely experienced in the following:

  • Management, talent training, and development
  • Managing people
  • Designing and delivering a wide range of training styles
  • Managing budgets
  • Adept at evaluating and researching training alternatives and options
  • Professional certification (CPLP), bachelor’s degree, or equivalent
  • Organizational skills
  • Building quality relationships with external suppliers
  • Adept or familiar with a wide variety of multimedia training methods and platforms
  • Interpersonal skills are a must
  • Exceptionally confident in both verbal and written communication with the unique ability to make passable-to-stunning presentations to large audiences

Learning and development managers must also possess some physical requirements. They must be capable of lifting as much as 15 pounds at a time. They must also be capable of enduring prolonged periods sitting behind a desk and working tirelessly on a computer.

Learning and Development Manager Salary Expectations

Learning and Development Manager Salary Expectations

Research shows that the average salary (national) for a learning and development manager in the United States is $97,470 per annum. There is no need to grab your salary calculator hastily: this works out to be about $46.86 per hour, which comes down to $1,874 a week, or $8,122 per month.

Using Glassdoor, you can filter by location to see the salaries that learning and development managers earn in your region or area.

All salary estimates are based primarily on 636 salaries that learning and development managers submitted anonymously to Glassdoor.

Ten cities have been successfully identified to have beaten the average salary for a learning and development manager job. San Mateo, CA, tops this list while Boston, MA, and Juneau, AK, follow close behind.

Boston beats the national average by 14.9 percent ($14,565), while San Mateo ups the ante with another 17.7 percent ($17,225) above the typical average.

Here are the top 10 cities—and the annual salaries—that learning and development managers earn:

  • San Mateo, California: $114,696
  • Juneau, Alaska: $112,202
  • Boston, Massachusetts: $112,035
  • Santa Monica, California: $110,647
  • Quincy, Massachusetts: $110,553
  • Berkeley, California: $110,417
  • Renton, Washington: $110,217
  • Daly City, California: $110,106
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: $108,960
  • Queens, New York: $108,777

San Mateo is a hotbed at the moment as it has an incredibly active learning and development manager job market. Several organizations stationed there are currently looking for suitable talents to handle this role.

Since these 10 cities showcase average salaries far higher than the national average, the opportunities for economic advancement via changing locations as a learning and development manager seem exceedingly fruitful.

However, another crucial factor that a learning and development manager must consider before changing locations is that the average salary for the top 10 cities varies a little at five percent between Queens, New York, and San Mateo.

This reinforces the limited potential for a lot of wage advancement. However, the possibility of a lower cost of living may be a leading factor to contemplate when considering salary and location for a learning and development manager role.

Learning and Development Manager Salary Expectations 

Here are some of the salaries that some companies pay for a learning and development manager role per annum:

  • PwC: $223,525 
  • Microsoft: $156,225 
  • Cisco Systems: $147,243 
  • Amazon: $141,052 
  • Wells Fargo: $130,064 
  • Accenture: $132,791
  • General Mills: $112,413 
  • Verizon: $111,519 

As a side note, the lowest salary a learning and development manager can earn in the United States is $66,612 per annum.

Now that we have covered the basics of learning and development, we will dive in and take a look at the different types of models applicable.

Chapter Two: 6 Learning and Development Models

6 Learning and Development Models

New roles for learning and development are no longer enough these days. 

For great changes to occur, there is a need to make strategic changes while reflecting on the current vs. desired learning and development models. Then, design and enforce new business models.

Without a business model, it is practically impossible to showcase the added value to the company in terms of both income and expenditure, or in non-financial terms as well as the factors influencing this.

According to a book titled Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alex Osterwalder:

“A business model illustrates the value a company offers to several customers. It represents the capabilities and partners the company requires for creating, marketing, and then delivering this value and relationship capital with the primary goal of generating sustainable and profitable revenue streams.”

Business establishments continually and increasingly evaluate the different components of their major processes based on business models. 

This includes determining added, measurable value. It is a logical process and applies at departmental and organizational levels.

The learning and development department is not an exception. Learning and development are expected to demonstrate this value for the company, much in the same way other departments are expected to show value.

The learning and development business models highlighted here support the transition from learning to business value. 

It is appropriate for learning and development to undertake a deep change to stay relevant in an ever-dynamic world and move from the learning paradigm to the business paradigm.

Here are the six learning and development models that organizations need to utilize to stay relevant.

Model #1: Seven-Stage Change Model

This is a fluid model for managing change in an organization. Every stage can be revisited again and again as changes are implemented according to the needs of the organization.

The seven-stage change model has the following stages:

  1. Case for change
  2. Engage stakeholders
  3. Create shared vision and strategy
  4. Communicate vision and strategy
  5. Remove or eliminate barriers
  6. Implement strategy
  7. Sustain 

Model #2: Michigan Expectations Model

The MEM (Michigan Expectation Model) pinpoints 12 benchmark behavioral standards that every university staff and faculty should establish. 

The primary goals of the Michigan Expectations Model are to support the university’s shared mission as well as equip staff and faculty with an understanding of the behavioral expectations required for success at the University of Michigan.

These behavior standards or expectations will be referenced and used in several ways, including hiring, customer care, daily conduct, and professional development.

This unique model is an excellent framework for development and performance management. It is remarkably organized into four domains. Each of these domains showcases a set of three related expectations:

Mission

  • Create value for the various communities the university serves
  • Create a shared vision
  • Lead innovation and change

People

  • Collaborate and build up inclusive relationships
  • Foster and promote different teams
  • Coach and develop others

Self

  • Adapt
  • Communicate
  • Act with confidence and courage

Expectations

  • Achieve measurable results
  • Solve problems
  • Build a positive culture

Every staff and faculty member is expected to apply the principles, skills, and behaviors of the MEM as well as demonstrate personal responsibility and leadership.

This unique framework can readily be adapted for the specific needs of any department, school, or unit. The path of an individual’s development will vary, depending primarily on the current state of experience, acquired skills, and breadth of responsibility.

The Michigan Expectations Model can also be broken down for each of these employee roles:

  • Leading a team, i.e., coordination of others’ efforts in the delivery of mission-related activities and services to stakeholders.
  • Member of a team, i.e., responsible for delivering services to the stakeholders frequently in partnership with others.
  • Leading multiple teams, i.e., responsible for the implementation of strategies that support mission-related activities and goals.
  • Leading the organization, i.e., setting organizational direction and having responsibility for stewardship and management of the organization.

The behaviors in each role build upon one another as an employee moves up within the company. 

For instance, an individual in the leading multiple teams role should be adept in behaviors for their role as a team member in addition to those in their major role, i.e., the leading multiple teams role.

Model #3: The Development Approach

The development approach the team follows should always be defined before the project kickoff meeting. If your team fails to select a development approach, these are the questions you should consider adding (as applicable) to the project kickoff agenda:

  • What is the approach you intend to use in developing variables (e.g., linear, agile and iterative)?
  • Are there any templates that can be utilized for developing the deliverables?
  • What are the expected deliverables, including assessments, that require development for each module/course?
  • What will be the primary source of audio, multimedia content, or screenshots?
  • Will project-specific style guides be used for this particular project?
  • Do any deliverables necessitate a prototype to demonstrate the appropriate look and feel as well as tone before full development?
  • Will every required system be available and stable during training development?
  • How many days will be needed for every SME review?
  • Who has the final signoff for every module/course?

Model #4: Learning-Focused Learning and Development Business Models

The following are learning-focused learning and development business models

Order Taker: The order taker is primarily responsible for customer focus on offering formal learning solutions. This business model functions under the motto “If you want it, we’ve got it,” thus ensuring learning solutions are readily available to match the demands of clients.

The order taker also ensures the service provider is as efficient and simple as possible. It offers zero complex training analysis and theoretical evaluations or models. It only provides an elaborate professional catalog of the available formal learning solutions.

This business model also has the budget to facilitate training within organizations easily and takes the burden from the management when it comes to handling learning programs. 

This mix of services and activities makes the order taker highly attractive to the participants of management and training, thanks to the decisiveness, inherent pragmatism, as well as strong operational focus.

Nevertheless, the order taker has one distinct disadvantage: the near absence of assessments or ratings to establish business impact. An overview of costs, as well as the resulting participation in offline and online learning activities, justifies the expenditure.

In most cases, management regards this business model as the “cost center.”

Learning Enabler: The learning enabler is all about educational advice, the core service this business model offers. The learning enabler is primarily responsible for coordinating the intake, analysis, implementation, as well as evaluation processes needed to maintain the appropriate quality of learning provision.

This business model actively engages in dialogue with the client by utilizing the educational analysis to confirm whether a formal—or other learning solution—is the best response to a particular question.

Highly effective learning analysis also seeks to establish the target group’s needs and readily matches the program to these specific needs.

In practical terms, the learning enabler typically cannot answer requests from clients with a curt “No,” which is sometimes against their better judgment. 

This business model is also inclined to be heavily dependent on the decision of the client, i.e., whether to proceed with the recommended learning solution or not.

Apart from a professional catalog, the learning-focused learning and development business model frequently works within a learning and performance ecosystem or learning landscapes. In truth, the learning enabler’s major strength lies in the provision of formal, professional online and offline learning.

The focus is distinctly strategic and ensures that the learning provision perfectly reflects the organization’s overall priorities. This is the best way of harmonizing learning with structural development.

The learning enabler typically uses the Kirkpatrick and Phillips (Kirkpatrick, D.L. & D.J. Kirkpatrick (2007). Implementing the four levels. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.) model to express how effective solutions are in regards to learning values, business value, or return on investment.

However, in a realistic sense, it is often challenging for the learning enabler to effectively demonstrate business impact surpassing 20 percent of the learning solutions offered.

This is why senior management sometimes regards this business model as a cost center.

Model #5: Business-Focused Learning and Development Business Models 

The following are business-focused learning and development, business models:

Performance Enabler: The performance enabler executes the operational, as well as other priorities, of the business. The business model’s services focus solely on helping individuals and teams work better, make uninterrupted improvements, and learn well from these.

The emphasis on the business is the direct result of choosing a perspective on working as well as learning that is not exclusively educational. 

The performance enabler examines the company’s systems and doesn’t consider learning solutions as the be-all and end-all response to business opportunities or problems. 

This business model is intimately involved in these roles in the 70:20:10 reference model (A model which states that executives get 70% of their experience on the job, 20% from peer interaction, and 10% from formal learning events:

  • Performance master builder
  • Performance detective
  • Performance architect

The learning enabler is far less effective in the performance tracker and performance game-changer roles. This is partially the reason they can’t establish business impact.

Nevertheless, senior management believes the performance enabler is the way to becoming a revenue center.

Value Creator: The value creator expands the service to the entire spectrum of 70:20:10 provision, thereby implementing management’s strategic priorities. 

This offers more than formal learning solutions, co-creating with best performers and management to commit a measurable contribution to significantly improving organizational performance.

The value creator acts fully following the 70:20:10 model by referring to the 70:20:10 methodology, and not only to the five roles originally defined to employ the model.

These five roles form the basis of the methodology and, initially via the performance detective role, enable business value and alignment. 

The performance architect role offers the 100 solutions only at the system level, while the performance builder role significantly contributes to the needed mix of workplace business and formal learning solutions.

Formal learning is no longer seen as the most dominant solution for both the learning enabler and order taker business models.

The performance game-changer role in the value creator model is primarily responsible for the implementation of business solutions. The performance tracker role determines measurements based on a plan the management agrees with using only KPIs.

Every single thing the value creator does only establishes business impact in the form of quantified ROI or business cases.

The value creator is nothing but a profit center for management, with value-add and income-surpassing expenditure. This is the standard for every other part of the company that contributes significantly to its profitability.

Bear in mind that these learning and development business models are not fixed to be prescriptive. 

For instance, learning and development leaders may decide to make a conscious choice to remain only within the order taker model for at least one or two years while reviewing options for change.

An order taker may likewise move indirectly to the performance enabler or directly to the value creator. No fixed path, sequence, or profile exists. However, experts recommend learning and development moves toward the business.

This enables opportunities to shift toward becoming a profit center, which is good for all parts of an organization, including learning and development.

Model #6: 9 Components of the Academies Framework 

Monthly job reports, as well as other economic indicators, never fail to trumpet the flourishing United States economy, which has seen up to a decade of continuous growth, while unemployment hovers around four percent.

Nevertheless, despite these high-level metrics, there’s a persistent and obscure challenge that many organizations battle with across industries: developing and maintaining a highly qualified workforce in ample numbers.

Concepts such as reskilling, up-skilling, and the skills gap are always hot topics in statehouses and boardrooms around the country. Even the public sector is not left out as addressing the development of the workforce is the primary province of elected officials, policymakers, as well as a wide range of stakeholders.

Rising complexity, more and more competitive business landscape, as well as the digital revolution all contribute to reshaping the mix of employees. In the meantime, a multigenerational workforce, persistent uncertainty, and the shorter shelf life for knowledge have placed a premium on upskilling and reskilling.

This shift to a knowledge-based, digital economy only means that a highly vibrant workforce is now more crucial than ever. Even in-depth research suggests that a considerable percentage of market capitalization within public organizations is based primarily on intangible assets—i.e., exceptional leaders, skilled employees, and knowledge.

This responsibility lies with learning and development—and elevates its importance—within organizations. It is a prevailing challenge that digital technologies have heightened, which, in turn, has steadily sped up the pace of business change. 

For that reason, it becomes necessary to reevaluate the function of the role as well as determine how it can best support business strategy.

Nine dimensions that significantly contribute to a strong learning and development function have been identified and thoroughly field-tested. The combination of these dimensions makes up the academies framework, which covers every aspect of learning and development functions, including setting aspirations to measuring impact.

Even though several organizations usually execute more than a few dimensions of this framework, only a handful of companies have fully matured in all dimensions.

Alignment With Business Strategy

One of the primary tasks of a learning and development executive involves developing and shaping a learning strategy based on the organization’s business and talent strategies.

However, research has shown that several learning and development functions severely fall short on this dimension. Just 40 percent of organizations state that their learning strategy aligns with business goals.

This implies that for 60 percent, learning has practically zero connection to the organization’s strategic objectives. To be highly effective, learning and development must critically examine employee capabilities and determine which are most crucial to support the overall execution of the organization’s business strategy.

Learning and development leaders should reassess this alignment every year to ensure they construct a people-capability agenda that genuinely reflects strategic objectives and business priorities.

Co-Ownership Between Business Units and Human Resources

Organizations should be more than willing to adapt their business practices and processes at all times. Learning and development functions must similarly be prepared to launch capability-building platforms or programs promptly.

Learning and development functions can readily boost their partnership with business leaders via the establishment of a governance structure in which leaders from both parties share equal responsibility for prioritizing, defining, designing, as well as securing funds for all capability-building programs.

Top business executives can pitch in by helping to firmly embed the learning function as well as all learning and development initiatives within the organization’s culture.

Assessment of Capability Gaps and Estimated Value

Organizations must, first of all, determine their business priorities before ensuring that every employee can deliver them. This task is easier said than done or is more challenging than it sounds.

The most effective firms always take deliberate, systematic approaches to capability assessment. A capability or all-inclusive competency model based on the company’s strategic direction is at the heart of this process.

After pinpointing the most critical capabilities for various job descriptions or functions, organizations should evaluate how every employee rates in each of these areas. Learning and development interventions should attempt to close these capability gaps. 

Design of Learning Journeys

Almost all corporate learning is delivered via a combination of in-person sessions and digital-learning formats. Numerous learning and development functions are currently designing continuous learning opportunities—learning journeys that occur over a particular period.

These functions often include learning and development interventions such as:

  • Social learning
  • Fieldwork
  • On-the-job coaching and mentoring
  • Pre- and post-classroom digital learning
  • Short workshops

The primary goals of a learning journey are to assist individuals in developing the needed new competencies most efficiently and effectively and foster the transfer of learning on the job.

Execution and Scale-Up

A well-established learning and development agenda incorporates several strategic initiatives that fully support capacity building and correspond with business objectives.

Successfully executing learning and development initiatives on budget and on time is crucial to building and sustaining support from business leaders.

Since most learning and development functions frequently face an overload of insufficient funding and initiatives, maintaining a regular discussion with business leaders about priorities and initiatives becomes imperative to ensure the needed support and resources.

Measurement of Impact on Business Performance

The execution and impact of a learning strategy should only be measured using KPIs (key performance indicators). 

Accurate measurement is not uncomplicated or straightforward.

This is why several organizations rely heavily on conventional impact metrics such as learning-program satisfaction as well as complete scores.

But then, high-performing establishments focus heavily on outcome-based metrics such as:

  • Employee engagement
  • Impact on individual performance
  • Business-process improvement
  • Team effectiveness

Accessing big data grants learning and development functions many more opportunities to evaluate and predict the business effect of their interventions.

Integration of Learning and Development Interventions Into HR Processes

As mentioned earlier, learning and development corporate-learning activities must correspond with the business. Moreover, they should also be a fundamental part of the human resources agenda.

The best learning and development functions employ unified development assessment from performance reviews as input for their capacity-building agenda.

An increasing number of organizations are currently replacing yearly performance evaluations with recurrent, in-the-moment reviews. The learning and development function can still play a crucial role during onboarding processes.

Enabling of the 70:20:10 Learning Framework

The 70:20:10 rule emerged from over 30 years of research. It is a framework that explores how business executives learn, grow, and transform over the course of their careers.

Numerous learning and development functions adopt a well-known framework referred to as 70:20:10. 

This implies that 70 percent of learning usually takes place on the job, 20 percent of learning takes place via collaboration and interaction, and 10 percent of learning takes place via formal learning interventions such as digital curricular and classroom training.

Today’s learning and development leaders must carefully design and then carry out interventions that heavily support informal learning, including:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Action-based learning
  • On-the-job instruction
  • On-demand access to digital learning
  • Leadership shadowing
  • Lunch-and-learn sessions

Systems and Learning Technology Applications

The learning-technology industry is no longer what it used to be as it has moved entirely to cloud-based platforms. This provides learning and development functions with practically unlimited opportunities to plug—and unplug—systems while accessing the latest functionality without the need to go through expensive and lengthy implementations of the old-school on-premises system.

Learning and development leaders must ensure that learning technologies perfectly fit into a universal system architecture that includes:

  • Management
  • Functionality to support the entire talent cycle
  • Rewards and recognition
  • Succession planning

Learning and development leaders are well aware of the increasing challenges that the Fourth Industrial Revolution—i.e., technologies connecting the digital and physical worlds—creates. But only a handful of these learning and development leaders have attempted to utilize large-scale transformation programs.

However, these learning and development leaders can no longer delay the implementation of these programs. This is because human capital has, and has always been, much more important than ever. 

It will also be the major factor in sustaining a highly competitive advantage for the next few years.

The most effective organizations will readily invest in advanced learning and development programs, remain agile and flexible, as well as build the required human talent that will help master the digital age.

These are changes with some risk elements—and a few trial and error—but with great rewards at the end.

Chapter Three: Planning for an Effective Learning and Development Program

Planning for an Effective Learning and Development Program

For an effective learning and development program, you need to have a solid plan in place. We’ll dive deeper into that in this chapter where it starts with having a policy in place.

Creating a Learning and Development Policy

Training and development policy aims to identify the needs and priorities of the organization to help the employees get a clear vision of the requirements necessary for the growth of that organization. 

The policy is an outline or strategy employed by an organization that is aimed at developing the organizational skills, workforce, capabilities, and competence of its employees.

Creating an effective learning and development policy can be a simplified process. The following steps describe the process through which a learning and development policy can be easily achieved.

  • Outline clear career paths: An effective learning and development policy creates positions or roles required in the organization based on the careers studied by its employees. Hierarchy of authority within the organization as well as reporting channels must also be outlined under the policy. 
  • Clear division of roles: For a learning and development policy to be effective, there must be a clear division of roles and responsibilities between the various hierarchies created by the organization. The previously existing roles and duties of each employee can also be expanded and evaluated through an effective policy. Promotion patterns, rewards, and bonuses for each hierarchy must also be outlined.
  • Training implementation: An effective learning and development policy observes other organizations and researches to find out what training programs are most effective before applying them to the organization. 
  • Organizational values: Education level, knowledge, and skills required for each role in the organization must be clearly outlined in a good learning and development policy. Attitudes required for each role must also be taken into consideration. Most importantly, these organizational norms must be duly enforced without bias.
  • Skills development: An effective learning policy outlines the strengths and weaknesses of the employees in an organization. It also provides means through which their skills and talents can be improved upon.
  • Supervision of the learning process: To make a learning and development policy effective, it is of importance to strictly and timely supervise the learning progress each employee has achieved. The progress of each employee can be tracked using a personal development review program.

Objectives of a Learning and Development Program

Learning and development programs are geared toward ensuring the growth of an organization through the education and development of the skills of the employees within that organization. Some of the objectives of a learning and development program include:

  • Attracting and retaining skilled workers: A learning and development program helps an organization to identify its talented, hardworking, and efficient members; the skills of such members can be built upon which helps in staff retention.  
  • Optimal utilization of human resources: A good learning and development program aids in full utilization of the potentials of each employee within the organization.
  • To motivate employees: The working spirit of employees can be motivated through effective learning and development programs as it will develop the skills of such employees and make them feel more confident in their capabilities.
  • To improve adaptation: Learning and development programs aim to improve the employees’ adaptation to structural or policy changes within the organization.
  • To improve employee commitment: Learning and development programs aim at building the determination of employees to do their tasks efficiently and effectively as well as the improvement of employee loyalty to the organization. 
  • Provision of promotion opportunity: A learning and development program aims at equipping employees of an organization with skills that are required for possible promotion within the organization.

What Are the Types of Learning and Development?

There are several types of learning and development programs available which may be applied based on certain factors present in an organization. 

An organization may select which program best suits its needs by viewing its employee size, diversity, average employee education level, nature of professional activities, and so on. 

Some of the most popular learning and development programs include:

  • Orientation: This program was developed by Van Gelder and Colleagues. It was originally known as pedagogical analysis. 

It is a type of learning and development program which familiarizes the employee with the principles and expectations of the employer, the conduct and ethics expected of the employee, the organizational norms and values, and so on. 

Every organization has an orientation program that may either be formal or informal. It is usually carried out during an employee’s first week at work. An orientation program is usually conducted by the human resource department of an organization. 

  • Onboarding: Onboarding is a larger learning and development process that encompasses orientation. Onboarding involves a series of department-related training sessions that are conducted over a longer time. It usually begins from the point an employee is hired until he gets fully adjusted to the job and can work independently. 
  • Technical Skills Development: This learning and development program is geared toward the attainment of long-term objectives. 

It revolves around broadening the knowledge of employees and is usually conducted in line with personal development goals as well as future goals of the organization. 

Technical skills training is a type of learning and development that is considered primary and personal because it enables you to develop skills that you need for the effective execution of your role.

  • Soft Skills Development: Soft skills cover aspects of behavior and personality. An employer requires a team of employees that will behave ethically and professionally in the organization. Effective communication and cooperation are hugely dependent on the characteristics of each employee. 
  • Products and Services Training: This learning and development program falls under the branch of onboarding. It is training that develops skills on information collection about certain aspects of a product or service which the organization is offering or is intending to offer to the public.
  • Quality Training: Quality training deals with the development of skills that enable you to ascertain the quality and standard of products and to ensure that these products meet the standards imposed by the organization, a third party, or industry. 

Oftentimes, employees who have completed their quality training are awarded certificates for attesting that they are skilled in the areas of quality control process, product observation techniques, identification of poor quality products, evaluation of a production system, and so on.

  • Safety Training: During the work process, injuries can occur. The safety training is aimed at equipping employees with skills that will enable them to handle work-related injuries. 

This training is more beneficial for employees who work in companies that are exposed to chemicals or other toxic materials. Safety training skills under this program include evacuation training, violence control, fire drills, and so on. The training also covers skills needed for first aid, safety practices, construction safety, use of protective gear, and so on.

  • Team Training: Team training is one of the most important training programs under learning and development. Work is more efficiently carried out where cooperation exists amongst employees. 

Team training facilitates collaboration and cooperation amongst members of a team. It enables them to develop a strong relationship with each other which improves their work cohesion. 

Certain skills like team development, problem-solving, decision making, and so on are developed through team training.

How to Create a Comprehensive Learning and Development Program for Your Organization’s Staff

Learning and Development Program for Your Organization’s Staff

Creating a comprehensive learning and development program can be simplified into five phases:

Phase 1: Analysis of training needs

Training needs analysis is a process of identifying the specific skills required by an employee. It is the first phase of the training process and it helps to ascertain whether or not the training will be beneficial to the employee and the organization or not. 

Training needs analysis looks at each side of the operational area of the job so that the concepts and attitudes of the human elements of a system can be effectively identified and appropriate training can be specified.

Phase 2: Specification of learning objectives

When developing a training and development program, the usual course of action is to research tools, trends, training courses, and time schedules. 

However, the first approach to developing a comprehensive learning and development program is to identify the needs and goals of your company. 

You must outline and find answers to the questions: What are the overall business goals that you and your company leadership are trying to achieve? What are the intermediate steps or stepping stones leading to those goals? Are there any instructions or hindrances in the path of these goals? 

Once you have developed satisfactory answers for these questions, you must clearly define these answers. You must then further ponder on what strategic plan you need to use to achieve these goals.

Phase 3: Design of training contents

Having previously conducted a gap analysis, a training session must be put together so it assigns specific training courses to each of your employees. These skills should include not only job-specific skills but also general business skills and soft skills training. You must also decide what type of training is best suited for each skill you wish to develop. 

For some employees, short online videos suffice for their training while other employees require blended training which may require instructional training and video-based training or study.

Phase 4: Training delivery

Training can be delivered in multiple ways. One of the most common ways of training delivery is mentorship. A mentoring program is aimed at creating relationships among employees that may foster the development and transfer of knowledge to help the less experienced employees grow ethically and professionally. 

Matching up mentors and mentees is a crucial part of creating a successful program. As a competent employer, you will have to match employees based on their adaptability, pace of learning, comprehension skills, and so on. Some of the most important factors to be considered in mentor-mentee match-ups include:

  • Compatibility: People have different temperaments and approaches to task execution. If people with similar traits, personalities, and approaches are put together, work is executed more efficiently and effectively.
  • Experience: The knowledge and skills gap between mentor and mentee must be neither too wide or too small; it must be a balanced gap to motivate the mentee to catch up to the mentor.
  • Expectations: What each party (i.e., the mentor and the mentee) seek to gain or learn from the mentorship must be clearly outlined to avoid disappointment in the long run.

Phase 5: Monitoring and evaluation

After implementing a learning and development program, there must be a committee set up to supervise and evaluate the progress of each employee to test the effectiveness of the program.

Common mistakes that organizations make when developing their learning and development programs include:

  • Choosing a limited content provider that does not offer a wide variety of courses: One of the most common mistakes that organizations make is selecting a content provider that doesn’t offer sufficient courses needed by every employee in the organization. A standard content provider will provide quality and sufficient content that will cater to the training needs of every employee.
  • Failure to train for expected outcomes: Selecting the wrong training plan for the company’s expected goal can result in a futile learning and development process. Employers must reconcile their training process with their organizational training needs.
  • Purchasing individual training courses: It is not cost-effective to purchase specific course content for each employee. You can save resources as an employer by purchasing a variety of collective training courses for all the employees in the organization.
  • Inadequate supervision of the training process: When employees are not adequately supervised, they may relax and not take their training process seriously. Employers must ensure there is adequate supervision of the entire learning and development process to ensure strict adherence to organizational principles.

Best Practices for Creating an Effective Learning and Development Strategy

To get the best out of the time and resources invested into your learning and development program, you should adhere to some of these best practices that have been proven to work.

  • Use problem-centered activities: An effective learning and development program is focused on providing realistic problem-solving skills.
  • Application: Learning and development programs must not be theoretical. They must be duly applied to ensure the comprehensiveness of the training process.
  • Proper integration: Learning is more effective when employees are allowed to discuss their skills with each other.
  • Demonstration: Learning is easier comprehended when employees receive a demonstration of the training so they understand what they are being taught.

The 7 Key Areas of Talent Development 

Although there are many aspects to improve upon when it comes to learning and development, there are some crucial areas that should not be compromised. These include: 

  • Attracting and retaining talent: Attracting talent to your organization is an effort that requires creativity and smart thinking. You can attract talent to your organization in various ways. Some of these ways include: Demonstrating an ethical work culture, offering enticing work benefits and bonuses, offering referral bonuses to an existing employee, and use of modern equipment.
  • Developing people capabilities: Social skills are highly important for attracting and maintaining talent to your organization. An employer must develop people skills that will enable her to communicate with people effectively. People skills come in the form of harmonious relations with your employees, acknowledgment of other peoples’ skills and expertise, being assertive, and expressing empathy for your employees.
  • Creating a value-based culture: A value-based culture involves the establishment of clear rules, principles, and guidelines for decision-making, problem-solving, and the overall administration of the organization. Value-based skills include balance, self-confidence, humility, self-reflection, and so on. An organization with a value-based approach is more efficient at solving problems that may obstruct the smooth running of the organization. However, while developing a value-based culture, employers must take note of the fact that patience and time are required. 
  • Building an employer brand: An employer brand has been described as an employer’s reputation as a place to work, and their employee value proposition, as opposed to the more general corporate brand reputation and value proposition to customers.
  • Motivating and engaging employees: Motivated employees are likely to work more efficiently and will most likely refer their friends if they are satisfied with their job. Also, more talent will be attracted to your company once they see that employee motivation is present and often. There are several ways to motivate employees. They include offering rewards, allowing room for employee growth, good pay, and so on.
  • Scaling growth: Scaling growth is a key factor that affects talent attraction and retention because it enables the organization to grow without any hindrance. Scaling growth requires a considerable amount of funding but its results are remarkable. It also requires adequate staffing, modern technology, and so on. Scaling growth is one of the most popular factors that attract and retain talents.
  • Customer satisfaction: The main purpose of a company is the ability to effectively deliver products and services that their customers deem as satisfactory. The level at which customers are satisfied determines their reviews of the company. A company or organization with good reviews is likely to attract various talented individuals and retain its already existing employees.

Now that we have covered all you need at the planning stage, next we will take a look at the notable learning and development strategies you can use for your organization.

Chapter Four: Learning and Development Strategies 

Learning and Development Strategies 

A learning and development strategy outlines how a company develops its employees’ skills, capabilities, and competencies. All these can be developed to ensure a successful and sustainable organization. It is a crucial part of the overall business strategy.

Organizations must adapt to the ever-dynamic labor markets. Learning and development strategies reflect overall business strategies and must continually and directly drive progress toward that. They must also correspond with the broad people strategy as well as other strategies.

When developing a learning and development strategy, adopting the operational and financial language of the business can be useful. This enables learning and development to be fully understood to a great degree across the organization.

Why it’s Important to Have a Plan in Place for Your Employees’ Training and Development

Today’s workplace landscape is not what it was about two decades ago. This is because today’s workplace environment is highly competitive and fast-paced. Up to 91 percent of millennials—i.e., those born between 1977–1997—expect to stay at a particular job for three years or less.

This is why employers must find unique ways to keep employees engaged and energized. One such way is through an employee’s training and development plan.

Unfortunately, employee loyalty is no longer a given. The modern-day workforce has undergone various transformations and changes in the economic climate. Employees now believe that if they have to invest their time, skills, and more in their employer, that employer should be willing to do the same by investing in them.

Organizations can no longer remain as passive as they used to, especially when it comes to employee training and development programs. This is because the overall cost of losing talent is incredibly high.

According to research, on average, each lost employee costs anything from six to nine months of that employee’s salary to replace. That does not even include the indirect costs of lost productivity.

Having a plan in place for your employees’ training and development is crucial for employees’ growth and careers.

Millennials are career-driven and interested in continual growth. In other words, career management is at the top of the list of millennials, and they want—and expect—career development as well as progression within their workplace.

Every employee at each level wants to feel engaged and see a crystal-clear development path right in front of them. The more motivated employees feel, the more useful they are to the organization, and the longer they stay with the organization.

This is not about overworking staff but creating a well-motivated staff. This is where a well-defined employee development plan comes in.

The benefits of an employee development plan reach even further than keeping your current employees actively engaged. Employee training and development plans also help attract new employees. Potential candidates want to know even more than the currently needed duties of a specific job they are considering.

They are also interested in knowing what that job will eventually grow into as well as where it will take them in the future.

The existence of a systemized employee development plan reassures interested candidates or job seekers that an organization is invested in its employees’ advancement and long-term success. 

In other words, organizations with excellent career management programs are better able to attract as well as retain top talent, resulting in higher employee engagement and a positive impact on the bottom line.

As might be expected, you cannot have an employee development plan without incredibly strong employee development programs. This is why progressive or innovative organizations are modernizing every retention and engagement tactic to provide each employee with what they want.

High-impact learning companies are up to four times more likely to have the best career development, and 2.5 times more likely to have career development across a minimum of 50 percent of their employees.

Employers naturally wonder if investing in a particular enterprise approach to employee development is worth the resources needed. The answer to that question is yes. According to Gallup, actively disengaged employees cost United States businesses between $450 billion and $550 billion every year in lost productivity.

An enterprise approach generates considerable returns in several ways including: 

  • Notable improvements in employee retention and career mobility.
  • Reduced cost of external hiring, reused and training content.
  • Significant improvement in contingency planning and succession management.

A well-thought-out employee development plan gives employees something to work toward when engaged in employee development programs. These employees know exactly what comes next in their careers, and this allows them to work efficiently through challenges instead of feeling hindered or obstructed by them.

This makes employees look forward to what is on the horizon for themselves and the organization.

According to research from Bersin, career development programs are the fourth highest best practice recognized, with an incredibly strong association to business outcomes generating nearly 30 percent greater business impact.

Employee development plans and programs help employees feel highly invested in their jobs and their organization’s mission. 

A well-established employee development program ensures every employee continues to feel driven to advance their careers within the organization and advance its mission instead of turning elsewhere for new career opportunities.

Methods of Learning

Different learning and development methods exist today. Some of these methods occur on the job, with an experienced colleague, or with the manager who leads the development activity within the actual work environment.

Other development takes place at training facilities or other locations. Many organizations are increasingly turning to online methods of developing employees.

Here are some of the methods of learning, arranged in no particular order:

  • Coaching

Coaching typically involves a skilled or more experienced individual providing a worker with guidance and advice primarily intended to help the individual gain new skills, boost the quality of the individual’s career, and significantly improve performance.

The distinctive attribute of coaching is that it is customized and personalized. It has a peculiar business objective and is generally achieved via one-on-one over a period of time.

Coaching is a development method that should be broached like any other strategic objective. Successful execution requires deep commitment from the company as well as the individual being coached, qualified coaches, a plan to get specific results, as well as a follow-up assessment.

  • Mentoring

Mentoring is another development method that matches more experienced co-workers with less experienced colleagues via informal or formal programs.

Mentoring programs can substantially boost recruitment, minimize turnover, and enhance performance as well as the work environment, especially for people of color and women.

Highly effective mentoring programs:

  • Match mentees and mentors based on development needs and skills.
  • Outline and monitor objectives.
  • Assign minimum time commitments.
  • Hold both parties fully accountable.
  • Keep track of the mentoring relationship.
  • Link mentoring to business goals and strategy.
  • Link mentoring to talent goals and management strategy.
  • Individual Development Plan

To speed up the pace of employee learning and development, organizations may utilize an IDP (individual development plan). It is a document that highlights an employee’s intentions and learning outcomes and the support necessary to meet their tangible growth objectives.

Beneficial individual development plans reflect experiential and symbolic interaction, as well as adult learning strategies.

  • Lectures and Seminars 

Lectures and seminars are the formal settings commonly used in colleges and universities with a lecturer and some students. However, this setting, in most cases, inhibits interaction.

Lectures are mostly dreaded and even ridiculed. However, they are the most commonly used method of learning. Even though it lacks interaction, as pointed out earlier, having simple lectures and the right speaker can result in optimal learning.

  • 9-Box Grid

The 9-box grid refers to an employee’s assessment tool for evaluating the employee’s current and potential levels of significant contributions to the organization.

This grid is commonly utilized in succession planning as a method of assessing the talent pool of an organization to identify potential leaders.

The 9-box grid offers a visual reference for performance appraisal purposes that includes both appraisal and assessment data to allow leaders or managers to view the actual and potential performance of employees.

The information obtained from the 9-box grid enables managers to design individual development plans effectively.

  • Cross-Training

Cross-training has to do with training workers to execute job duties other than those normally designated or assigned. It can be an impromptu or short-term fix or a planned, ongoing process.

Cross-training, in most cases, doesn’t result in an immediate advancement but only indicates an employee’s interest in learning new skills. This skill diversity can help the employee meet qualifications for future career advancement.

Employers can find great value in cross-training since it is usually more efficient and effective than bringing in or hiring new employees. Many managers don’t hesitate to take those efficiencies to the next level by actively leveraging technology to boost cross-training efforts.

Many employees deeply appreciate the value of cross-training as it allows them to broaden or update their skills.

All cross-training should begin with two basic steps:

  • Identifying the skills and knowledge needed for every position.
  • Cross-referencing that list of skills and knowledge with an inventory of the proficiencies of current employees.

These steps often expose the gaps between the current skills that employees possess and those the organization is in dire need of. Thanks to advancements in technology, gathering and analyzing such information is a walk in the park.

  • Stretch Assignment

Stretch assignments, as well as on-the-job training projects, allow workers to learn while doing real-life work. Every developmental assignment enables employees to develop new skills, acquire relevant knowledge as well as the competencies required for higher-level positions.

Having the right experience plays a significant role in getting to the next—or higher—level in business. However, many employees don’t even know the exact experiences that best prepare them for a higher level.

Experts usually say that individuals who have gained experience marked as “accelerators” of potential are more likely to succeed than their counterparts with zero experience.

For instance, according to in-depth research, first-level leaders with cross-functional experience are more likely to succeed. In contrast, mid-level leaders have the upper hand if they have relevant experience when it comes to tackling tough challenges such as a difficult situation or employee.

On the other hand, new executive leaders are more likely to succeed if they have had high-visibility and high-risk experience.

  • Job Enlargement and Enrichment

Job enlargement pertains to expanding the worker’s job by adding more duties and tasks that are generally on the same complexity level. On the other hand, job enrichment involves building more depth to a worker’s job via responsibility, discretion, and control.

Many organizations often have to redesign jobs to boost employee motivation. However, when enlarged jobs lack enrichment, motivational benefits are highly unlikely.

Even though the distinction between job enrichment and enlargement is pretty straightforward, some employees may fail to correctly perceive the changes as enlargement or as enrichment.

  • Job Shadowing

Job shadowing is not only about having an employee follow a co-worker all over the place all day. Shadowers are meant to view the organization from a different visual aspect or perspective. They should learn firsthand about the numerous challenges that employees face in other departments of the organization.

This unique perspective helps employees realize how important the impact of their decisions is on other groups. This way, they end up learning how to make better decisions that will further the organization’s objectives or goals.

  • Job Rotation 

Job rotation refers to the systematic movement of workers within an organization from one job to another.

These rotation programs vary in formality and style. Organizations of every size may consider carrying out a job rotation program, although larger employers are more likely to invest in a highly formalized job rotation program.

Formal rotation programs generally provide customized duties to promising employees to give them a nice view of the entire business. Such assignments or duties can run for up to a year or even more.

There are several reasons why it makes sense to implement a job rotation system within an organization. This includes:

  • Giving employees the profound opportunity to explore alternative career paths.
  • Discovering potential for enhanced product quality.
  • Preventing boredom and stagnation (ultimately the most important reason of all).

However, just like everything in life and business, implementing a job rotation system in an organization is not without its downsides, which include:

  • Increased workload.
  • Decreased productivity for the worker.
  • The line manager’s (possible) reluctance in allowing high-performing workers to take part in job rotation programs.
  • The cost is linked with the learning curve of new jobs.
  • Succession Planning

Succession planning is all about identifying long-range needs and cultivating internal talent to meet those needs. Every succession plan usually focuses on a one- to three-year process of preparing workers (as against preselecting them) for new roles within the organization.

Some business leaders believe that succession planning is a highly complicated process and should be left to only the largest organizations with the most enlightened or knowledgeable organizational development.

However, this is far from the truth as succession planning can also immensely benefit smaller organizations with very few resources.

  • Assessment Centers

An assessment center is not, in most cases, a physical location or site, as you may assume, but a plethora of programmable tools and exercises primarily designed to evaluate a job candidate’s or an employee’s suitability to a specific role.

Assessment centers can be used for development or selection purposes. These centers take place over a day or two and may involve several candidates or employees at a time.

Evaluators will rate participants based on standardized games and activities as well as other simulations to predict candidates’ or employees’ future performance.

Assessment centers may also assist organizations in making decisions about promoting employees, filling jobs, or identifying employees for placement in succession planning programs discussed earlier.

  • Corporate Universities

Corporate universities focus primarily on company-specific proprietary branding and knowledge, on-the-job skills, and certification. 

Corporate universities are all about focusing on learning that greatly benefits the organization and not just the individual (employee). Some of the benefits of the corporate university format include:

  • Uniform messages that reach all learners.
  • Consistent quality.
  • Strategic alignment with company objectives.

A corporate university tangibly symbolizes the organization’s commitment to learning and significant growth.

  • Online Employee Development

Organizations generally make use of classroom-based learning for topics unique to a specific employer as well as online learning for universal topics. Online training allows just-in-time, self-directed, and on-demand instruction.

Employees in e-learning situations have a bit more control over their time than those in an offline classroom.

To keep employees highly engaged as they undertake online development activities, the training should deliver high-quality content in bite-sized, easily understood pieces. Employees must also understand precisely how the content will assist them in doing their jobs or daily tasks better.

Other tips for the successful implementation of e-learning employee development programs include:

  • Providing introductory training that enables employees to know how to use online training systems.
  • Choosing topics associated with specific business objectives.
  • Providing online support.
  • Easy access to supplemental data or information.
  • Outdoor Management Development 

Outdoor management development refers to a form of experiential activities commonly employed as a method of learning. According to a 2001 study conducted by Hamilton & Cooper, outdoor management development could be highly effective.

According to the researchers, up to 50 percent of the participants in a learning and development setting were experiencing incredibly high-pressure levels and even reported low levels of mental wellbeing pre- and post-attendance.

It was eventually concluded that achieving a greater impact is possible only if the participants are not over-pressured or not experiencing low levels of mental wellbeing.

  • Discussion Groups

Discussion groups are interactive settings aimed primarily at sharing different opinions and viewpoints.

  • Debate

Debate is another method of learning that is also highly interactive. This setting is primarily aimed at convincing others of one’s point of view or standpoint.

  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are courses delivered online and are generally accessible to interested individuals for free. Let’s break down the acronym:

  • M: Massive because there are no limits to enrollments and usually runs into hundreds of thousands.
  • O: Open since any interested individual can enroll, i.e., there is zero admission process.
  • O: Online since all courses are delivered expressly via the internet.
  • C: Course since the primary goal is to teach a particular subject.

MOOCs generally comprise readings, pre-recorded video lessons, discussion forums, and assessments. Universities usually put them together, and some organizations such as Google, Microsoft, the Linux Foundation, and IEEE.

  • Learning Management Systems

This refers to software that helps individuals or organizations keep track of training materials, create reports, track progress, etc.

Most learning management systems are built or designed to identify the existence of any teaching gap as well as to employ data to perfect training techniques.

A learning management system is the perfect option for restaurant employee training. This shows that there are several ways or methods that restaurants benefit immensely from e-learning.

  • Learning Experience Platform

The learning experience platform is a consumer-grade learning software primarily designed to create exceptional personalized learning experiences and help learners discover new learning opportunities.

The combination of learning contents from different sources as well as the recommendation and delivery of the learning content with the support of AI (artificial intelligence) across digital touchpoints such as mobile learning applications, desktop app, etc. make learning experience platforms one of the most effective and efficient learning methods today.

Learning experience platforms leverage highly innovative digital technologies to harness a plethora of external third-party content, internal digital learning assets, and user-generated resources to deliver extremely customizable learning.

  • Certification

Certification is a way to measure training effectiveness accurately. It is usually part of other ways of measuring training effectiveness as it includes one-to-one discussions, post-training quizzes, participant case studies, employee surveys, etc.

This is why it is essential to plan the factors that will be used in measuring training effectiveness long before the training itself commences. An official certification exam is the most common way of accomplishing this outcome.

  • Hand-on Training

Hands-on training—also referred to as on-the-job training—enables the active participation of learners by allowing them to learn even in the flow of work. It is one of the most effective employee learning methods to teach issues like new software processes or applications via on-screen and in-app guides and walkthroughs that assist users in navigating through different tasks and features within an application.

Since employees get to participate in real-life activities that relate to either their current or future job—by getting thrown right into the proverbial deep end—hands-on training is one of the best or most effective learning methods for succession planning. 

The end goal of hands-on training is faster user adoption of newly released features or new tools. However, it can be a little too stressful for learners and somewhat time-consuming due to the frequently required input.

  • Case Studies

Case studies usually—and actively—involve the participants and motivate them to generate answers and solutions. They are proven methods for training and efficiently boost learner motivation.

Nevertheless, when participants don’t have access to the relevant resources they need to complete their case studies, their learning and motivation will be considerably hindered if the projects become challenging.

The case study method of learning is suitable for situations in which trainees possess the core knowledge but may still benefit immensely from the training. 

Since this learning method comes with lower costs, it is one of the most popular techniques utilized in different disciplines like medicine, law, and counseling.

  • Simulations/Games

Simulations and games are highly interactive and an increasingly popular way of engaging in experimental learning. The progressive rise of augmented and virtual reality makes this method of learning very realistic.

Games and simulations have always been used for several educational purposes, including formal training. Using simulations/games for education is competitive, motivational, and affordable, especially in this digital era where many employees and participants/applicants are deeply involved with technology.

However, using simulations/games as a learning method comes with one major disadvantage: the inability to determine the various components that make up a game, which should positively contribute to the training itself.

Trainers cannot ensure that the participants or trainees will readily accept every learning concept via game playing.

Nevertheless, game-based training and simulations teach students to compete favorably in sports, business, law, and more.

Shortcomings of Learning and Development

Learning and development have shortcomings that organizations or employees may face at times, especially if things go unmanaged or are not managed properly. Here are a few to consider:

  • Training and skill development costs money and time

Running a training and development program costs money and takes up a lot of the organization’s time. The HR team needs to consider several factors, including the affordability of a trainer, installing appropriate equipment, and even upgrading infrastructure.

Advanced remote training, compared to in-house training, certainly costs a lot more and can even disturb the organization’s budget when paying the trainer and the staff.

Besides, the time employees devote to office-related tasks or operations is taken up by several training and development programs. This can severely hinder productivity within the organization as well as revenue.

  • Training sessions can easily get complicated

Some learning and development programs may, from time to time, include heavy use of practical information and theory that can be somewhat intellectually challenging for employees within an organization.

Even in some departments, a few skill development programs are based primarily on too much theory rather than application, which is not helpful. Plenty of theoretical data and instructions can be boring and confusing.

  • Sparing some extra time for training and development can be stressful for employees

Employees are frequently asked to take part in skill development programs almost right after ending their shifts. But employees find this extra time somewhat hard to manage since most of them won’t have enough time to spend with their families.

Nevertheless, with the need for an organization’s employees to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry and to acquire useful or relevant knowledge in some specific areas, the training hours may stretch longer and longer.

This stresses out the staff, and they end up with zero motivation to keep participating in such skill development programs no matter how useful it may be to them as individuals or the organization as a whole.

  • Switching unceremoniously to a new job

A polished and prepared employee is more than ready to switch to another company that offers a higher salary and excellent perks. The market is extremely competitive, full of competitors who want their employees to possess the same or more advanced skills and are more than willing to “snatch” them from other organizations if need be.

Nothing prevents an employee from jumping to an organization with a better job offer despite acquiring copious in-depth knowledge, training, and experience from their current workplace.

This is one of the dreaded shortcomings of learning and development for an organization, and there’s practically nothing the organization can do about it other than an attempt to beat their competitor’s offer and hope the employee considers it and stays.

  • Lack of interest

Employees are, first of all, humans with limits to a sedentary lifestyle. If any training session takes more time than usual, the learners will most likely get fed up, tired, and disinterested in the session.

This situation can also arise when or if training sessions are conducted with theory concepts and repeated data.

  • Poor quality training results in low-quality work

Creating high-quality training materials that will benefit any organization can be challenging and time-intensive, no matter how small. This is why it is easy to succumb to the temptation of bypassing quality over and above simplicity.

However, this can quickly backfire as the training may end up passing bad practices, incorrect knowledge, and bad habits to employees.

  • The organization may lose a lot of money in the long run

Learning and development have become part of many organizations’ annual budgets, even if it is only the fundamentals, as these companies believe that it is highly beneficial and will enable them to achieve even more.

But in many instances, this is not the case, leaving the organizations in a position where they are at significant risk of losing millions of dollars/euros/pounds of investment.

This is often because the organizations do not adequately prepare for the training their employees need. Several things can easily go wrong during the preparation process. This makes it quite difficult to pinpoint or identify exactly where to start.

Many organizations don’t often spend quality time on this particular type of training. This gives them a very limited understanding of what they are getting themselves into.

Suggestions to Improve the Field of Learning and Development 

By now, you already know that your organization cannot afford to stand still, and neither can your training and development program. 

When you provide ongoing training for your employees, you are investing in a specific mentality that is the direct opposite of “train them, tick the box, and move on,” which is often applied in many businesses, albeit the unsuccessful ones.

However, to enjoy the most value from ongoing training, it must be done right, using learning and development best practices that give rise to engaged learners who brilliantly retain new knowledge and skills.

Therefore, here are a few ways and suggestions to improve the field of learning and development in your organization:

Make learning more accessible and flexible

Employees are busy and hardly have time for anything other than their day-to-day duties or tasks at the workplace. This means that making enough time for adequate training can be a tall order since they have to balance several demands on their attention and time.

Fortunately, digital delivery tools, such as powerful LMS (learning management systems, have become easy-to-use and viable options. Choosing and using a learning management system with an intuitive user interface saves learners from confusion and frustration when making use of the platform. An excellent learning management system allows you to create relevant feasible course content that is easy to navigate and access.

However, e-learning has its advantages, the chief of which is convenience. Ongoing training on a learning management system that is highly compatible with mobile technology means that employees or learners can readily access materials as they commute, wait in line at the coffee shop, or at any other time convenient for them.

By applying micro-learning principles, short and sharp pieces of content such as checklists, infographics, and gifs become much easier for employees/learners to consume on the go.

Use relevant, innovative tools that serve in-office teams and remote workers

In-person training is far less complicated to plan than remote training. Nevertheless, the modern-day dispersed work environment training must be designed to serve remote and in-office learners.

Achieving this can be somewhat challenging without using a high-quality learning management system for ongoing training for workers.

Although in-office workers can attend face-to-face training sessions, the best way to spend their time is by accessing appropriate training content at their own pace. 

But despite the convenience that mobile accessibility and micro-learning offer, employees need to get adequate encouragement, support, and even the mentorship aspects of employee training.

These are vitally important to remote workers who may feel somewhat isolated in their training and work.

You can overcome or prevent isolation by making use of webinars instead of opting for in-person workshops. You can also set up discussion forums on your learning management system so that learners can share their personal experiences and opinions.

Provide remote workers with equal opportunities for mentorship by planning one-on-one sessions with mentors or managers.

Provide cross-department training

Ongoing training is an excellent opportunity to develop an organization’s employees in other roles as well as departments. This fosters team spirit and empathy between departments that are working toward shared objectives and may even have a few things to teach one another.

Cross-department training may sound somewhat tricky to apply, but it is achievable, especially if offered as combined workshops. It can also work well by organizing collaborative online opportunities— i.e., scenarios—where employees with different sets of skills need to work together to solve a particular problem.

Some of the profound benefits of cross-department training include:

  • Increasing employee skill sets for considerably improved collaboration.
  • Avoiding knowledge hoarding and silos within the company.
  • Enhanced productivity as a result of better communication between departments.
  • Boosting skills security within the organization as well as avoiding skills gaps, i.e., if an employee is unavailable due to sickness or if they leave the organization. Thanks to their overlapping skill sets, there will be other employees readily available to take up the vacant role.

Motivate all managers to get actively involved

Every savvy manager knows all about the knowledge and skills their team needs right now and even the skills they will likely need in the future.

Even more important is the simple fact that managers are in direct contact with employees and can keep track of their performance before and after the training.

Therefore, it may cost you a lot if you ignore the manager’s role in ongoing training. This is because you can easily miss out on the unique opportunity to understand learners/employees better.

You will also be unable to provide the employees or learners with valuable sources of encouragement and ongoing support. Therefore, it’s not a bad idea for managers to play the role of coaches during the training process. They can help employees/learners apply their newfound knowledge and skills, thereby achieving real behavioral change.

Some tried-and-tested strategies for involving managers in an ongoing training program include:

  • Linking manager rewards and remuneration to ROI and training performance.
  • Meeting with the managers as part of the needs analysis phase of the training design.
  • Providing a unique system for managers to readily request innovative job aids for short instructional interventions and just-in-time learning.

Match different learning preferences and options

It is a great mistake to assume that every learner in an ongoing training program has the same learning preferences. This is far from the truth, and you should avoid this fallacy as much as possible.

To begin with, today’s workforce currently has a generational mix. Each of these generations showcases different levels of comfort with the latest technologies on the market today.

This implies that millennials and Generation Z can immediately grasp or understand how to navigate sophisticated mobile learning platforms. Still, your flashiest efforts at modern-day training will only leave older audiences behind and utterly confused.

Of course, technology is not the only factor that separates employees’ preferences. Some learners find themselves overwhelmed by too much video content or large amounts of text.

The best way to meet and satisfy a wide variety of learning preferences is by designing content that combines graphics, text, and video elements. Then add simple assignments or exercises that offer the learners quick wins, which ultimately prepares them for larger activities.

Ask employees to state what they want

When designing ongoing training for your employees, bear in mind that most modern-day employees are keenly aware of the knowledge and skills they will likely need in the future.

This is because the skills landscape across all industries is rapidly changing from one day to the next. Savvy employers are fully aware of how vulnerable these ever-dynamic needs could make them.

Therefore, do not underestimate the power of asking your employees precisely what they need or want to learn. If you want accurate and honest input from employees concerning their skills needs, you should consider these vital tools:

  1. Traditional goal setting: One of the most regular parts of performance management should be setting learning and development goals. For instance, if every employee has a one-on-one meeting with their manager at least once a month, take advantage of this opportunity to discuss where that employee thinks or believes their skills could be significantly improved as well as how it could be done.
  2. Create a very simple feedback channel: Most employees would be more than willing to provide honest feedback about the ongoing training they have received. They can also state precisely where they feel their development needs are not being adequately addressed.

But this can only be possible if the employees are given a private and convenient channel to share their feedback. A step in the right direction includes using surveys during and after training. Consider doing a few anonymous surveys to bolster participation.

Another benefit of asking employees what they want or need to learn is that they will be much more motivated to take part in the training if they are heard and fully empowered in their development/career journey.

Today, learning and development is rarely a one-off event. Any organization that wants to survive within its industry—or even beyond—must continuously invest in developing its employees’ skills and always encourage workplace learning.

Therefore, a wide variety of learning methods will be very useful at every stage of the learning journey.

Chapter Five: Learning and Development Tools

Learning and Development Tools

Trainers saddled with the responsibility of executing learning and development programs need to have access to several tools to deliver highly effective learning. 

The learning and development toolkit must meet a wide range of needs, serve different learners efficiently, and work seamlessly across multiple platforms.

How comprehensive your learning and development toolkit is will determine how you effectively carry out your numerous learning and development strategies.

You are about to discover the top learning and development tools that have been proven to be highly effective.

We have several tools and software that have revolutionized the delivery of training. In this section, we’ll take a look at tools in different categories based on what they can be used to achieve.

Course authoring tools

Course authoring tools refer to software programs that allow users to efficiently create entire courses and learning content for learners or trainees. These are crucial tools anyone can use to leverage interactive e-learning development.

Course authoring tools are more exhaustive than video content or a SCORM package as it provides a wide range of highly interactive activities.

A few examples of course authoring tools include LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Udemy, Adobe Captivate, and Articulate 360.

Content development tools 

Adobe Creative Cloud and other content development tools offer users the ability to smartly insert interesting and more diverse content types in the organization’s learning platforms.

Other platforms such as Visme allow users to create videos, infographics, or fun presentations. 

Doodly is a renowned whiteboard animation program that you can utilize for creating high-definition, professional-looking doodle videos, even if you are not a techie or know little about design.

Tools in this category include CIPHR LMS, Digits Glo learn LMS, Moodle customizable open-source LMS, and SAP Litmos.

Learning platforms

Learning platforms like Schoox refer to the entire interconnected structure of tools that work seamlessly together to deliver an exceptional, student-centric learning experience. 

Learning platforms are rapidly evolving as they build off every foundational utility fully established within the conventional learning management systems and bring in other innovations to boost the administrator’s ability to ultimately convey more emphatic or lively learning experiences.

Platforms for this include Articulate 360 and iSpring.

Online video repositories

Online video repositories such as YouTube, TED, and Vimeo contain incredibly huge volumes of high-quality content. 

Instead of spending quality time and lots of money to create fresh content, trainers can spend that time performing in-depth research. Then they can point learners to the freely available and very useful content.

Online communities

Online communities are vital components for providing top-notch learning experiences within the learning and development arena.

Learning and development trainers, managers, and executives can harness the potential of social media to gain access to opportunities of connecting with other individuals, sharing ideas, getting different perspectives, as well as possibly leaving with a unique solution to a particular problem.

You can easily create or build a community internally right within your learning and development activities via:

  • Informal group learning.
  • Online peer-to-peer coaching.
  • Facilitating highly informed discussions between disparate and trusted colleagues.

Encouraging trainees to readily share how much progress they are making supports their development and even promotes their learning journeys.

Video meeting tools

Many organizations worldwide have now added prevalent video meeting tools to their learning strategies just this year.

These tools enable learning and development trainers to easily connect with individuals, facilitate lively interaction within a real-time live space, and retain engagement.

Notable examples are Camtasia, Zoom, Skype, WebEx, and Go-To.

Gamification software

It is beneficial to motivate learners to pay more attention to training and inch towards their learning goals. However, getting participants to interact with training elements actively can be extremely challenging.

But you can overcome this challenge by employing game-based learning, such as Kahoot!, or gamification software.

Game-based learning leverages learners’ good-natured and interactive competitiveness, thereby making the environment more conducive for learning.

Collaboration and communication tools

Communicating with learners is highly crucial, hence the need for trainers to use tools for collaboration. They offer virtual workspaces comprising channels where learners can easily communicate and even work together within an instant messaging environment.

You can share files, send messages, and even create private channels for person-to-person conversations. Platforms for this include SweetProcess, Teams, and Yammer

Forms and surveys

Although polls and live feedback aid mindful learning, using surveys, forms, and data collection software can help you assess the overall effectiveness of your training.

This will reveal areas where you need to optimize and make significant improvements over time.

File sharing and office software

Many individuals utilize standard workhorse tech tools that are not often regarded as learning and development tools daily. 

This includes:

  • File sharing tools such as Google Drive and Drivebox.
  • Office suites and tools such as Google Workspace, Microsoft Office, and Open Office.

These tools are relatively common. However, you need to find out if every employee in the organization uses these tools in the same way.

When you strategically deploy these tools, it makes them more valuable and efficient. This is why you should consider facilitating a uniform approach within the organization.

Many innovative tools are available today which trainers can use to improve and extend learning experiences within organizations. This is why it is crucial to examine your learning and development toolkit so that you don’t add so much technology that it hinders the learning experience.

You may discover some gaps when you critically analyze your existing training tools.

Learning and Development Effectiveness

Learning effectiveness is a key theme in regards to learning and development. One of the key questions that learning and development professionals are often asked is, “What is the ROI on learning?” or “How effective are these learning programs?”

Answering these questions, in most cases, is pretty difficult as no straightforward one exists. This is why the effectiveness of learning within an organization remains a controversial topic.

Benjamin Bloom is credited with inventing a method of evaluating learning effectiveness by editing the “Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goal”.

This classification captures several levels of information processing. It starts at the recollection of knowledge and moves on to comprehension, application, analysis, evaluation, as well as creation, i.e., the synthesis of existing knowledge to generate new knowledge.

The assumption here is that to analyze information critically, one needs to be able to recall it, understand it thoroughly, and then apply it.

This taxonomy is frequently employed to determine the level of information processing relevant to performing a job, such as assessing learning effectiveness and training development.

To create knowledge, the approach to mastering this relevant information is far different from someone who only needs to understand or apply that particular knowledge.

The same is true for work. Creating a new and highly effective HR compensation policy requires different levels of information processing than just simple salary administration.

The training, as well as experience, needed to make new policies against understanding benefit and compensation ratios will also be somewhat different.

Applications of Learning and Development 

Learning and development remains one of the conventional core responsibilities of HR management. The human resources manager of an organization, or its HR department, takes care of learning and development.

Since learning and development is a broad term that encompasses different things, learning and development strategies vary from one organization to the next.

Let’s check out the applications of learning and development in small businesses, large organizations, and procurement.

  • In Small Businesses

Learning and development strategies in small businesses are somewhat more constrained, largely due to the available budget. Companies in this category are far less likely to have a fully functional human resources department.

Therefore, the responsibility for this may fall on the operations manager or someone holding that position or capacity.

This implies that employees will get learning opportunities that are less likely to come in the shape of formal training. Instead, such learning opportunities are usually casual and unstructured.

However, this does not imply that the learning opportunities that small companies get or have access to are any less valuable. In reality, many individuals opt for small businesses due to the unique learning and development opportunities they offer.

  • In Large Companies 

Learning and development in large companies are often highly structured. In most cases, a full HR team will carry out the learning and development strategy.

Conversely, a designated learning and development team comprising professional learning officers who regularly work on identifying ultra-specific training needs may be on hand to arrange the right learning opportunity or development process.

The learning and development opportunities that team members in large companies have access to are somewhat more formal than smaller firms. This could only imply that training programs are delivered exclusively by specialist training providers. It could also mean that such team members have access to online courses.

Large organizations also have several layers of senior management. This is why most of them will readily invest in management training adapted to senior managers and business leaders to help them develop new skill sets specific to their leadership roles.

  • In Procurement

Procurement is a crucial part of the learning and development process since training providers must be appropriate and cost-effective for the company’s needs. 

Excellent training provides learners with the skills and tools to up their game in their respective roles within an organization. It also shows learners how to apply the skills and tools within the organization.

How to Apply Lean Learning 

Lean learning can be applied in any of these ways:

  • Applying Lean to Real-Life Situations

It is not enough for executives to learn a specific innovation methodology. They have to know how to apply the methodology internally, and it works faster if the executives can introduce real-world projects in workshops so that everything they have learned can be applied in real-time.

This cuts down the feedback loop, delivers business outcomes, and encourages “eureka” moments.

  • Think 80/20

Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur and author of The Four Hour book series, is an ardent advocate of lean learning methods. The author hints at identifying the MLU (minimum learnable unit) as well as applying the popular Pareto principle.

For instance, if you want to learn the Russian language, you only need to focus more on the 20 percent of phrases and words that show up 80 percent of the time to get by.

Then apply what you have learned in real-life conversations with Russian speakers as often as required.

  • Personalize Content

Thanks to today’s innovative technologies, personalizing training is now a walk in the park as it adapts all lessons based primarily on the performance of the employee.

Personalizing training to each employee’s needs, delivery method, and learning style remains one of the most efficient ways to apply lean learning.

  • Leverage Guided Learning

Instead of providing adequate training at specified intervals, guided learning involves continuous learning as the execution of the process is live.

A screen pops up as the individual navigates the software or specific process. This form of learning supports personalized training for learners and can be very effective.

This is more applicable for employee on-boarding, functional leads, IT, cross-functional teams, and end-user training.

  • Activate Peer Learning

Most employees do not Google or think of your LMS (learning management system) first to learn a new skill. Up to 55 percent of your employees will ask a colleague.

When you consider the simple fact that most humans are inclined to learn as they teach, peer learning is an excellent way of supporting just-in-time, rapid learning while enhancing the present understanding the employees have about specific concepts.

Peer learning could be as simple as setting up periodic peer learning workshops, an online marketplace, connecting skillful employees willing to share their specific skills with their colleagues interested in acquiring those skills, etc.

You can incentivize peer learning by integrating it into performance reviews. This ensures that the employees will continue investing their time in the learning program.

  • Provide Ongoing Support

It is highly essential to provide employees with additional support after learning sessions through a combination of voice messaging, instant messaging, as well as chatbots. This ensures that the employees apply lean to particular challenges.

  • Offer Micro Courses

Grant employees short learning opportunities, which take the form of hour-long, digestible courses on topics of great relevance to a specific employee’s opportunities or immediate opportunities.

Learning and Development Jobs

Different learning and development jobs exist, although the responsibility for each role differs from one organization to the other.

Here are some learning and development jobs:

Learning and Development Manager: The learning and development manager is saddled with a more tactical role as the individual focuses on: 

  • Analyzing all learning needs at higher levels.
  • The distribution between teams and departments.
  • Learning and development budget allocation.
  • Specifying core organizational competencies.

Learning and Development Director: The learning and development director handles a strategic role within the organization as the employee focuses on:

  • Analyzing organizational needs for development.
  • Drafting the learning and development strategy.
  • Aligning learning and development activities with organizational strategy.
  • Ensuring the budget to carry out this strategy.

Learning and Development Consultant: The learning and development consultant is capable of handling every learning and development role outlined in this section but as a consultant.

These activities can be strategic or operational, depending on the seniority and role of the consultant.

Learning and Development Specialist: The learning and development specialist occupies an operational role and focuses on:

  • Analyzing every learning need.
  • Specifying role competencies.
  • Learning and development budget distribution.
  • Providing learning advice to workers.

Now that we have covered the tools and software needed for developing a successful learning and development program, let’s see how you can use SweetProcess as a platform that will pioneer this change for your organization.

Chapter Six: How SweetProcess Can Boost Your Learning and Development Efforts 

How SweetProcess Can Boost Your Learning and Development Efforts 

The global shift to a knowledge-based, digital economy implies that a vibrant workforce is now much more important than ever. 

In-depth research even suggests that a highly significant percentage of market capitalization on public organizations is now based on intangible assets:

  • Exceptional leaders
  • Skilled employees
  • Knowledge 

These trends have amplified the importance of the ever-present but silent learning and development function.

To have an effective learning and development program, you need to have the ideal platform that will enhance your goals toward achieving this feat.

One platform that stands out not only as a means of creating a detailed knowledge base for employees but also as a means to continuously educate both new and existing employees is SweetProcess.

Many companies and businesses have been enjoying the feature-rich platform to help them achieve their goals.

One of such is AEJuice. They needed to create training and also streamline their process to cater to their expansion and growth. CEO Jacob Syrytsia was quite proactive and was ever-ready to provide answers to his team to enhance customer support.

But for every answer given there was always a series of questions, and they needed to implement a learning and development program. SweetProcess helped with the documentation of their processes, employee training, and the development of a central knowledge base. Jacob could now rest knowing that the employees had a solid platform full of resources to help them with their various jobs.

Neave Group also had the big challenge of streamlining and cutting down lengthy processes or simplifying them. CEO Scott Neave took it upon himself to find a solution and he stumbled upon SweetProcess. 

Before this, they would document using Microsoft Word but it was too cumbersome and information could not be searched or accessed easily.

They now have a central knowledge base where new and old employees can easily access and learn to improve their service delivery.

pLink, an executive coaching and leadership development organization, was growing. They had several processes in place but as time went on, it became difficult to update and centralize these processes.

The two women in charge, Gretchen Pisano and Jennifer Schneider, knew they needed a platform to help with the challenge.

The solution was to use SweetProcess to create a strong knowledge base for enhancing employee performance. Employees could learn at their own pace and equip themselves with the knowledge to excel.

The fact remains that SweetProcess is suitable for various industry types and can serve to improve the performance growth, documentation, and streamlining of your processes. 

You can begin to experience the beauty and effectiveness of SweetProcess using the 14-day free trial option to test and get a feel of the platform as you begin your journey toward business transformation.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, learning and development (L&D) programs are highly crucial for the growth and development of an organization. 

A company must always conduct research to determine which learning and development training and platform to opt for before applying it to the organization. 

A platform like SweetProcess that has been proven to be useful for knowledge base development, onboarding process creation, and process documentation, is highly recommended for kickstarting your learning and development program.

When learning and development programs are adequately applied and implemented, the overall workload of the organization becomes more efficient. 

Efficiency, growth, and development of employees and organizations become simplified with a comprehensive learning and development program.

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