But often, the emphasis stops there. We kind of forget that employees need to be nurtured and constantly introduced to opportunities for growth. However, this is easy to say than done. Most HR leaders and managers are concerned or find it difficult to map employees' skills and ensure that they are building the required skills to meet the business’s needs.
In fact, Building Critical Skills and Competencies among the internal workforce is one of the top 5 priories for HR leaders in 2022 according to Gartner.
Training and development are essential to growth and should be the core value of any business. After all, we are looking to retain the best employees who can adapt to changes. Thus, developing employees’ skills help organizations to enhance productivity and company culture.
What is Workplace Learning?
Workplace learning is an educative opportunity for employees to better their skills by getting training and on-the-job experience. It helps the employees to acquire new skills and knowledge that they need to get the work done. This could either be by picking up a new skill or advancing their career.
Whether the learning is short-term or long-term, workplace learning will motivate the employees to perform better in current and future responsibilities.
Why Workplace Learning matter
Technology has made tremendous contributions to business and society, leading to new solutions for many longstanding problems. We saw many organizations and individuals use technology to tackle the consequences of the pandemic, from shifting to remote working in one night to rethinking service delivery.
It is undeniable that technology will continue to enable transformation as a continual process. However, it also comes with a problem in which many workers are having trouble approaching the new opportunities created by technological change /“many workers are struggling to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by technological disruption”. Indeed, we need human ingenuity and skills to unlock the potential of what technology can deliver in the future.
It comes down to the question of whether people have the critical skills to be agile and competitive in this new digital era. Thus, having these skills allows employers and employees to tackle and be more adaptable to changes.
What are other benefits that workplace learning offer, you might ask:
It enhances employee performance
Employees need knowledge and training to perform better in their respective responsibilities. According to a report by Research Gate, 90% of employees agreed that training and skill development improve their job performance.
In addition, digitalization is causing rapid changes in skill needs to succeed in particular roles. Thus, the skills required for specific roles per job description have gone up from 13.1 in 2018 to 16 skills in 2021. This number indicates that organizations need people with more skills to meet the business's needs.
There are various types of training to offer employees for example offsite activities, third-party training, and in-house training. You can offer sales training, management training, monitoring programs, and apprenticeships.
However, putting money and effort into skills development and training will be wasted if the company doesn't know which critical skills, they need to scale the business. Or the employee doesn’t want to grow in that career path. Therefore, it is fundamental to evaluate business objectives and identify critical skills needs.
Encourage employees to take on new responsibilities that drive business results
Job rotations or temporary assignments help employees learn new skills through hands-on experience. Thus, scientists prove that humans learn better while doing.
Training also offers the opportunity for employees to move into new responsibilities and positions faster. This is because training and skill development allows employees to upskill their core competence and reskill the outdated one. This in itself is motivating to employees as they are encouraged to try new things and see their impact on the organization.
A practice that Workday has been doing is encouraging employees to spend 15% of their time on a part-time project.
Allows employees to keep up with industry changes
The reality is that learning and development at work will help your employees keep up with changes in their field and respective industry.
It is also a great way to show people new ways of thinking and handle their tasks using new tools and methods. This will lead to greater outcomes for both you as an employer and your employees.
Better employee retention
Hiring and retaining employees can be a challenge for HR leaders and managers. However, employee development provides your employees with career opportunities that motivate them to stay in the company and enjoy better opportunities.
The employee development process establishes a sense of trust and value in the company, fosters loyalty, and increases staff retention. A survey by GetSmarter in 2020 states that 51% of employees claim that they desire to change job functions in 12 months.
So what is the solution? Like Joseph Aoun, president of Northeastern University and author of the new book, “Robot-Proof,” once states that lifelong education is critical to keeping workers and their employers competitive.
How To Build a Continuous Learning and Development Culture in Your Organization
Firstly, to start a successful learning and development culture, begin with your top management team. Help your leaders to leverage non-traditional talented resources. Unilever has created a Bootcamp to train its leaders in recognizing what skills are needed to scale.
Secondly, implementing a personal development plan for employees that inspire and prepare them for the role or career that they want.
Ensure your people are aware of all the available learning resources, encourage your managers to meet regularly with their team, and recommend training opportunities now and again. A learning library is the best way to access relevant learning material. Employees should easily access these resources at any time. Another method is offer learning package which employees are encouraged to learn new skills at their own pace and share learnings on blended learning platform.
Finally, introduce them to people who were previously in their positions for peer learning and take advantage of training opportunities to get further in their career. This way, they will have someone to relate to.
It’s always best to give employees sufficient time to learn and trust them to stay true to their development journey. Once you get this balance right, your employees will bring about the skills that will help their organization to thrive
Workplace learning will continue to grow its importance in developing employees' skills and employees strategies. In order to tackle the challenge and thrive in this constantly changing business landscape, organizations have to prioritize employee skills development and offer them the tools to apply the learning. Building a culture of continuous learning and development will help retain and attract a high-performance workforce, those who have the critical skills that are hard to attract or take time to develop.
Related: How to implement learning at work