Learning and development (L&D) programs are essential to the success of any organization. L&D, also known as training and development, aligns employee goals and performance with the company. The aim is to provide employees with the necessary skills and resources they need to flourish in their roles.
Unfortunately, many companies may struggle to experience the positive benefits of these programs on a long-term basis. In fact, Harvard Business Review estimates that only 10% of the $200 billion spent every year on corporate training and development in the United States delivers real results.
The good news is leaders can use purposeful strategies to better implement L&D into their business. These strategies focus on creating an environment where employees can learn, practice, and apply their skills.
Let’s take a look at what strategies aren’t working and discuss more successful methods of implementing L&D into your business.
What Strategies Aren’t Working to Implement L&D into Businesses
According to research presented by Harvard Business Review, companies face a few challenges in implementing L&D into their businesses. These common challenges include:
Training that Takes Place Outside of the Organization
Learning and development trainings tend to occur outside of the organization. This makes it difficult for the employees to translate the skills learned in the classroom into the workplace.
When we work with clients to implement L&D programs into their organization, we ensure that these programs are integrated into the workplace. A learning and development initiative should be a main part of your company’s strategic initiatives.
Training that Requires Employees to Invest Their Own Time
Learning and development training that requires employees to invest their personal time are less likely to be successful than trainings that focus on building these skills during work. When leaders expect their team to fulfill their regular work responsibilities and compromise their personal time, leaders are not setting their employees up to successfully grow these skills.
Training With Minimal Follow-Up
When leaders implement minimal follow-up after the training, the responsibility to retain and use the new skills is placed on the learner. Leaders should maintain responsibility for learning and development in order to experience the best results.
Successful Strategies to Implement L&D into Your Business
According to Forbes, learning and development training helps organizations to gain and retain top talent, build employee satisfaction, boost morale and improve productivity. Let’s dive into how leaders can implement L&D to experience these benefits on a long-term basis.
1. Contextualize the Learning
Research has shown that learners are less likely to apply what they learn if it is taught in a different context than it will be applied. Many traditional learning and development programs are held outside of the workplace, which leads to issues translating the skills into the new context.
One strategy to combat this issue is to create customized training programs. In these programs, instructors target specific topics on a team or individual level. This can help learners to apply and implement these new skills into their daily work.
2. Break Learning and Development Trainings into Portions
Research suggests that dividing training into smaller increments can help learners retain and apply information. Leaders may experience more positive benefits of learning and development programs if they break up training into small, structured portions.
For example, leaders can encourage learners to participate in short online courses that can be easily integrated into their work schedules. These classes should be prioritized and completed while employees are on the clock to avoid shifting the responsibility of the training onto the learner.
3. Measure Progress and Benchmark Performance
Your L&D strategy should include clear objectives and performance indicators. Leaders should consistently measure progress by utilizing these indicators. In reviewing the performance of the L&D strategies, leaders can review:
- Employee retention and satisfaction
- Cohesion among teams
- Employee growth
However, it is important for leaders to remember that learning is an individual process, and each learner may provide different results. While leaders should check in with individuals, they should consider measuring progress based on teams or levels within the organization.
4. Provide Helpful Reminders
Leaders can offer short, helpful reminders for their teams to use the skills from the learning and development trainings. These reminders, which can take the form of an email or push notification, should be contextual, friendly, and just a few sentences. These nudges can be as simple as “this project would be a great opportunity to try!”
The purpose of these reminders is to keep the ideas from the training at the front of the learner’s mind as they navigate their day-to-day responsibilities. In each reminder, leaders should consider referencing a specific behavior and including a call to action.
5. Follow Up and Reflect
To effectively employ learning and development strategies, leaders should encourage learners to reflect on how the skills and tools they have learned can be used in the workday. Leaders may also choose to set aside time for learners to reflect after the training and then on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Leaders can follow up after learning and development trainings in a few different ways. For instance, leaders can check in with individuals during 1:1 meetings or the team during group meetings. Leaders can guide discussion with questions such as:
- Did you use x skills this week?
- If so, how did you use these skills?
- If not, how might you use these skills next time?
- Are there any tools or resources you need to use these tools in the future?
6. Provide Additional Resources to Support Employee Growth
Employee growth doesn’t have to stop at the end of the training or when they click off that last assigned online course. Leaders can support their employees in growing through reimbursement programs, webinars, books as well as other resources.
Need Help Implementing L&D into Your Business?
At Culture Works, we value the opportunity to help businesses implement learning and development programs into their company culture. Our team of experts is ready to partner with your team to build greater organizational success. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business implement these programs and contribute to positive company culture.Interested in more information? Read on to see how learning and development can transform your company culture here.