How to Modernize Learning and Development for Your Team
If you suspect that your company’s employee learning processes are outdated, you’re probably right. In fact, employee engagement platform Glint and its parent company, LinkedIn, are betting on it.
The brainchild of Jim Barnett, Glint resolves to use real-time KPI data to help managers more quickly understand where their teams are underperforming. Utilized properly, Glint’s competency marketplace has the power to give immediate data to a supervisor, who can then deploy relevant professional development opportunities to employees.
When companies work with strong players to improve skill sets across the board, they're better able to play the role of disruptor rather than disrupted.
Hitting the 'Refresh' button on learning
Traditionally, the onus was on workers to find ways to increase their competencies and, subsequently, their on-the-job currency. Now, employers and employees need to work together on continued development. After all, needs can change quickly in this global economy. A role that makes sense today (such as influencer marketing manager) can be outdated tomorrow.
Besides, it’s just good business for leaders to take the initiative and show employees how to improve before those workers walk out the door. Research from the American Psychological Association indicates that career development tops the list of what workers want from their supervisors. However, respondents also noted that it wasn’t just learning opportunities they craved: They wanted the time to complete the opportunities, too. Being unable to actually complete courses or attend workshops instantly negated their power to improve their engagement and job satisfaction.
Make no mistake. This is a seismic shift in thinking, and it illustrates the fact that employees no longer seek bosses; they seek mentors. They want to know how to apply what they’ve learned -- and have the encouragement to do that without fear of being told “It won’t work here.” Consider it an opportunity to improve together.
Related: Not Your Parents’ Career Development
This modern approach to employee development is a chance to keep your strongest people from leaving -- and for you to thus avoid a talent crisis. A LinkedIn report showed that a staggering 94 percent of workers want their companies to help them learn. If that’s what it takes to avoid inflated turnover, why not provide it?
Capitalizing on this trend toward employer-promoted professional development starts with a few changes in the way you're currently managing your crew.
1. Think like a coach, not a manager.
Jerry Connor is the head of coaching at BTS, a global professional services firm. He sees his role as walking alongside his people rather than pushing or pulling them to meet his demands. “Great coaches work with diverse people to establish the shift that will make the biggest impact to the individual,” said Connor in a Glassdoor blog post. “It’s less transactional and more dynamic, and it provides a meaningful future, career-wise.”
Of course, if you want to be a great coach, you have to customize your approach to people management. Don’t just show employees their gaps; help them become better versions of themselves. Work one-on-one with each team member to discover where he or she excels, and explore how the individual can level up in those areas. According to Gallup, when managers focus on developing employees’ strengths -- rather than correct their weaknesses -- 61 percent of workers are engaged. That's not too shabby when you compare it to the usual 30 percent nationwide.
2. Focus on microlearning.
Not every skill should be learned by reading a book cover to cover. Rather, deliver educational opportunities to your people in tiny bits, parceling them out to make them easily digestible and instantly usable. Your team members will be able to understand their value and apply them at once. For example, LinkedIn Learning is a platform that works well for Kellogg, which allows employees to microlearn whenever a new skill is needed to continue the workflow.
To improve knowledge retention, use microlearning opportunities to illuminate and ease employees’ scheduled tasks. As Meredith Odgers, director of marketing at Qstream, notes, “Making sure microlearning fits into your employees’ daily workflow with content that is highly relevant to the job’s duties not only delivers role-specific training they can apply immediately, but also helps reinforce what they’ve already learned.”
Related: The Learning Landscape for 2019
3. Sell the benefits of learning and development.
Humans tend to lapse into comfortable habits. Therefore, you might find your team members slacking off on their professional development efforts. Be prepared to market and remarket learning and development programs to the people you coach. Then, encourage them to reinvestigate the options to revive their skill sets or tackle new ideas. LinkedIn’s research suggests the best days to send out text or email reminders to your teams are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. By the end of the week, they’re less likely to listen or take action.
Not sure how to reinvigorate your group? Take a page from TomTom. The company has added gamified elements to its learning portals to make continuing education feel less like a chore and more like fun. Just be sure to stay on top of your staff's learning progress. When they stop taking advantage of your learning platform, be ready to gently steer them back to it.
Your employees may come to the job with tremendous talents and knowledge, but they don’t know everything yet -- and that’s OK. Enable the progress they want to see by helping them become more confident, capable leaders who keep learning throughout life.