A culture of continuous learning is one of the key ingredients of successful workplaces in the new world of work. With change happening at an ever-increasing rate, employees must be empowered to seek out and complete training on their own or risk being left behind. Learning leaders can help employees develop a growth mindset by ensuring they have access to the information they need to perform their jobs effectively and efficiently.
To engage learners, we must meet them where they are. That means taking into account their individual needs based on job roles, skill levels and where they are in the employee lifecycle.
Let’s take a look at three stages in the employee lifecycle and how personalized learning can help set employees up for long-term success.
The first few weeks that an employee spends in a new role are essential. They set the tone for everything that comes after. It’s commonly an overwhelming experience, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
“Modern, digital-first microlearning solutions allow for onboarding to be integrated into employees’ flow of work, making it as convenient as possible,” says Jim Bowley, vice president of product management at Qstream. A learning experience platform (LXP) is one way to manage how training is being presented to new employees. An LXP can send employees pertinent resources as needed, rather than dumping everything on the learner all at once.
An LXP can also help training managers collect valuable data about new employees. “Organizations should have a baseline assessment to understand what an employee’s skills are so that the learning experience can be curated accordingly,” says Mark Onisk, chief content officer at Skillsoft. By accurately measuring new hires’ skill levels, you can more quickly and confidently craft personalized learning journeys that apply to where they actually are, and where they want to go.
In response to the level of digital disruption we’ve seen over the past several years, businesses are scrambling to upskill their workforces to keep up. As with the onboarding stage, if not done right, organizations can risk overwhelming employees in an effort to keep pace with change.
“Organizations generally have a set of skills that they know they need to build, and they have identified a target population that they think can meet those skills,” Onisk says. “The next level is curating this into a learning experience and curriculum that’s attractive to the learner and that provides intuitive value.”
Modern, digital-first training approaches can be used to deliver personalized learning content to employees when they need it most, helping to reduce information overload and increase retention. Using digital content libraries or learning platforms with resources that target specific learning needs or aggregate content based on user can help ensure learners are finding the right information. Learning should feel natural, occurring in the flow of work and easily applicable to learners’ specific challenges and aspirations.
There comes a point in every employee’s tenure where they start to consider other options and possibly leaving the company. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including a lack of opportunity for growth or burnout.
“Personalized learning contributes to actual knowledge attainment,” Bowley says, “which allows employees to be more productive with their time and hyper-focused on their long-term goals.” The types of personalized learning paths made possible by modern learning platforms can help ensure that your learners feel like they have the space to not only perform their jobs effectively, but also pursue additional learning opportunities.
Ultimately, the key to employee retention may lie in showing top talent that it’s possible to grow within the organization, rather than having to seek opportunities elsewhere. “We’re seeing organizations construct learning journeys that enable both the organization and employee to grow together,” Onisk says.
For instance, having clearly defined career pathways allows employees to see what skills they need to move into that next role. When employees have visibility into opportunities available within the organization, then they are more likely to stay and grow with the company.
Here are some key questions to consider when designing career pathways:
- How long are employees expected to stay in one role before promotion?
- Are there separate paths for individual contributors and people managers?
- How will you handle lateral versus vertical moves?
- How can mentorship and coaching be used to support development?
Having answers to these questions can help learning leaders create personalized learning pathways that identify the skills and experience needed for specific roles. By connecting learning to career advancement, organizations can more effectively engage and retain talent long term.
The demands placed on modern organizations are more complex and challenging than ever before. Faced with digital disruption and The Great Resignation, L&D has been rising to the challenge. New technology offerings enable learning leaders to craft training programs that engage and transform their workforce at every step of their lifecycle. This focus can help L&D facilitate internal career mobility, helping employees better align their careers with their interests and values as individuals — as well as positively impacting the bottom line.