Historically, learning and development programs have been hit or miss. Organizations spend billions on employee development programs each year, yet managers and staffers consistently report significant skill gaps. How can this be?
Meeting employee development goals requires L&D programs that are customized and thoroughly implemented. This is particularly so for growth mindset companies, where a culture of learning is achieved through measures such as continuous employee development projects. To help companies of any size choose the right program for their needs, we’ve outlined the most important tips below:
Knowing Exactly What You Need
The first step in any L&D program is to understand which skills are required for employee growth. This is a very complex process that requires understanding where your employee development goals stand today and where you want to head.
Skill requirements are constantly changing, and knowing exactly which training employees will need in the future is like hitting a moving target. But by taking the following steps, companies can be optimally prepared:
- Set KPIs for each department or function, and check if employees are reaching them. For soft skill evaluation, it can help to interview an employee’s customers and managers to get their feedback and measure their performance based on
- Match strategic plans with the skill level of staff members. This can help expose potential skill gaps as well as ‘potentials’ and ‘rising star’ employees if the company needs new skills as part of a changed strategic direction.
- Understanding market and competitor trends, keeping up with the pulse through industry publications, speaking with colleagues at other organizations, and generally keeping your ears open for what’s been working for others. New techniques, technologies, and human resource concepts can lead to a shift in the hierarchy of hard and soft skills.
- Assessing employee development ideas. Workers are often closest to the action and maybe the most reliable group since they can see new skill demands in their everyday tasks as they interact with clients and peers. Conducting employee satisfaction surveys – especially if available to do anonymous or with the offer of a small token of appreciation – can offer a wealth of information employees wouldn’t offer up on a whim.
Finding the Best Fit
Coaches, mentors, and trainers are essential parts of an L&D program. However, in this respect, the success of employee development initiatives depends on qualities that experts should have.
Experience in the Exact Skill Requirement
A common learning method for employee development is a one-size-fits-all arrangement. If an employee wants to improve the quality of their presentational skills, then their L&D staff might find a communications coach. But this means that a) the employee will spend time learning skills that they might already have or not need, and that b) they are not necessarily being coached by an expert in presentational communications. So the program has a reduced chance of succeeding.
A better method is to match employees and experts according to specialty. Also, when it comes to a coaching style of relationship, there should be a personality match as well.
Clear Proof of Value
When searching for an expert, it can be difficult to find the best possible instructors. Anyone selling a service can easily ‘cherry pick’ customer reviews. Also, certifications are not necessarily proof of quality, but it is one of several important qualities to look for in a coach. Lastly, some experts get positive comments because they have a cheery personality or an interesting approach, but the effectiveness of their instruction can be another matter.
L&D departments, therefore, need a way to identify experts with great grades for performance in the specific area of instruction sought by the organization. If word of mouth has always been considered the best advertising, tech rating platforms like G2 are becoming the 21st century, international version.
Customized and Online
Program timing is one of the most important factors in L&D success. Timing, in this case, includes the hours of the day when the course is held, the frequency of the course over days or weeks, and how lessons are arranged to coincide with real-world skill application as a way to minimize the “forgetting curve”.
It is best to stick with short courses that can be measured through feedback and improvement in the employee’s daily work. With short, recurring meetings, the expert and employee build a repertoire. The meetings themselves create accountability and the opportunity for the employee to put what they learn into action in their daily work and discuss how it’s going during their sessions together.
Since the onset of the pandemic, online coaching and mentoring have exploded in popularity, and rightfully so. The ability for L&D teams to find the best coaches from around the world with only a time zone as a possible deal-breaker makes the process easy. Throw in an L&D platform that already exists and can scale to your needs and you may become your companies’ hero.
Measuring as Objectively as Possible
It is not enough to use best practices when defining and delivering L&D. When only the results count, organizations must measure the performance of both the expert and the employee. There are numerous evaluation models to accomplish this. In addition, organizations can look at ROI and employee satisfaction levels.
However, L&D practitioners must be aware of the pitfalls of various measurement standards. These include subjectivity, lack of relevance in terms of goal setting and attainment, and differences in opinion between managers and employees.
To check that L&D programs are actually working, it is essential to establish a metric that leans towards an objective measurement. It should be simple for the participants to grade an expert, and this grade should be easily understood by those looking for honest assessments.
A Job Custom Made for GrowthSpace
Customized employee L&D programs are what GrowthSpace is all about. Its technology allows impeccable AI-based matching of client and expert, convenient sprint session-based courses, and an intuitive quality measurement process. GrowthSpace’s L&D solution finally enables organizations of all sizes to provide effective development for all employees.