Business impact is the number one measure desired by CEOs, according to LinkedIn Learning’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report. Yet, only 8 percent of those senior executives currently see the business impact of learning and development (L&D).
This is a drastically low number considering learning professionals want to demonstrate training’s value. So, what gives?
Learning professionals fail to show the value of training for a variety of reasons, and according to LinkedIn’s research, getting employees to make time for L&D is at the top of the list. Proving value is not just something the business wants to see, it’s also what learners need. Today’s learners starkly contrast learners from a few years ago. With technology evolving at such a rapid pace, L&D is struggling to create learning solutions that can meet their needs. And when they do create those solutions, learners are challenged with finding the time to learn.
If the average shelf life of skills is less than five years, then learners must continuously be learning to keep up with the pace of change. It’s a juggling act of priorities on most days for the average employee, so adding to their workload is not really an ideal option. How can L&D help employees factor in learning on a regular basis? Here are a few ways that learning can be considered during the work-week.
People must want to learn before any real change can take place. Yes, employees can be required to attend training, but the outcome will likely fall short of turning into real behavior change or performance improvement. People require motivation to make a change, take on a new project or learn a new skill. Inspiring employees to learn requires tapping into their goals and values. Understanding their daily work challenges and long-term goals can help learners find value in training and learning new skills.
Focusing on learning opportunities in a one-hour or less timespan makes learning during the day much more obtainable. Maybe your organization offers webinars, e-learning, video or other bite-sized content, but don’t be discouraged if your company doesn’t have the resources. There are lots of free webinars and content available online. L&D should vet these resources and share them with employees. Managers should work with employees to set performance goals and suggest any skills that need improvement, and direct employees where to find applicable training.
The ability to ask questions and receive immediate answers is helpful for all employees. Providing an open forum within the organization for employees to ask job-related questions can be a beneficial use of time. This could be a useful addition to regular department meetings or could be a social learning feature within a learning management system. As is often the case, if you have a question about something, it is likely that someone else has the same question.
Asking for feedback and advice from knowledgeable peers is a great learning exercise. These are watercooler-type conversations that can occur through email, instant message or literally the watercooler. These exchanges may include asking for advice on a work-based situation or feedback on an idea or assignment. People naturally want to help others, so don’t be shy about asking for advice even when deadlines are looming. Your peers are often your best resource.
There are countless opportunities to learn throughout the day. The onus of learning is rightfully on the learner, but with a little direction from managers and L&D, employees can find value in small day-to-day activities. Learning must be engrained in company culture to truly be successful. Managers should be having frequent conversations with employees about skills development and learning opportunities. Helping employees find value and time for learning can generate positive rewards for the business and the learner.