A LinkedIn report from 2018 showed that 93% of employees would stay longer in a role if they felt that the organization was investing in their development. That is a significant statistic that drives home the importance of a great learning and development culture in any office. Having a plan in place to improve employee retention and performance is one of the leading concerns for modern organizations. Here are some ways you can build this into the fabric of your own organization.
What Defines a Learning and Development Culture?
If you ask an HR team member, they will probably tell you that learning and development, or L&D, exists to help align employee performance with the organization’s goals. Many things have to happen in order for an L&D plan to be put into action:
- You first need to know what your organization’s goals are.
- Then you need to determine what actions are necessary from each team or department to meet those objectives.
- Next, you’ll need to determine what skills individual employees must have to perform those actions.
- Then you need to evaluate your team’s skills to discover where there are gaps.
- Next, it’s time to decide what learning and development tools you will use to help address those gaps.
- As you choose the right tool, you’ll also want to consider the need for personal growth among your team members.
- You may need to design specific eLearning courses, test out a few LMS platforms, or develop other training paths.
- Now you’ll start implementing the training methods you’ve chosen.
- You aren’t finished yet. Part of an effective learning and development culture is analyzing the process and making tweaks to ensure success.
That is a long list of steps, and many of them are ongoing. This is why so many organizations have developed entire learning and development teams. When your employees can successfully hit their roles’ targets, the organization is able to stay aligned with the overall business objectives.
Why Does Learning and Development Matter?
You can see why L&D is so important for the organization. But why do your team members care so much that 93% of them would stay with an organization longer if great development tools are in place?
- Employees feel as though the organization values them as people when their growth is prioritized. This helps boost morale and lower churn.
- Employees don’t want to be bored. Helping them improve their skills and knowledge can lead to successfully overcoming satisfying challenges.
- When employees are more knowledgeable, customers are more satisfied. Happy customers make it easier to maintain morale on a daily basis.
For the organization, there are many benefits to a learning and development culture as well.
- When employees feel valued, turnover rates drop. This not only reduces your hiring costs but also gives you an edge for recruiting the best talent in the field.
- A culture of learning makes necessary training, such as onboarding or compliance training, much more manageable.
- When you have an extremely skilled team, your organization can progress faster and become a leader in your industry.
Here are five ways to create a learning and development culture in your organization.
1. Let Your Employees Be Entrepreneurs
You can’t go wrong taking inspiration from the hugely successful organization that is Google. Did you know that Gmail, YouTube, and other iconic Google features all came from employees?
Google has adopted the practice of encouraging employees to think like entrepreneurs. They create a competitive culture in which small groups of employees work collaboratively to create and present new ideas. This encourages learning and development as the employees race to create the best new concepts.
It also encourages people to increase their business skills in a way that academic learning can’t replicate.
2. Utilize Free Learning Resources
There are hundreds of free resources out there for employee learning and development. You can create an entire learning program from YouTube and podcasts to Udemy or an in-house mentoring program without investing a large budget.
Give your team the freedom to use these tools as they are growing. You may find it best to combine the freedom of learning on these platforms with a focused curriculum that you oversee. But when people are allowed to learn from many sources, they often retain the knowledge better and gain a deeper understanding.
3. Bring in Specialists
Every area of business and technology is constantly growing. If you want your team to stay immersed in the latest and most remarkable techniques or skills, the best thing you can do is schedule a workshop with a specialist. This can be done virtually for your hybrid teams as well.
Live discussions are fantastic because they promote a true sense of learning. Your team can ask questions, discuss new ideas with an expert, and boost their own engagement in the industry.
4. Try a Job Swap Program
Another great way to boost learning and development in your organization is to help your employees understand what other team members do. Not only do they get cross-training for other roles, but they will also gain a better understanding of how their own role affects the bigger picture.
This can also improve innovative ideas, as someone from outside a department may see a solution that someone inside couldn’t see from their perspective.
5. Pair Learning Partners for Accountability
Instead of insisting that a manager oversee all learning and development activities, consider creating a culture of co-working. Pair team members together for accountability meetings and ask them to keep each other on track. This is a great way to boost a sense of autonomy and teamwork.
The Future of Learning and Development
As organizations move to new models of work, learning and development will become even more critical. Investing in this culture shift will make your organization a progressive and innovative place to work. You’ll boost retention and engagement, which all lead to more productivity and better alignment with your organization’s goals.