Abigail Adams once said, “Learning is not attainted by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and diligence” This simply means that learning needs to be a part of the ecosystem organizations want to create. Learning can never be left to destiny.
Most of the time, companies focus on the bottom line—the profit and sales curve. However, those same companies typically fail to notice the learning curve of their employees. And if these organizations do offer learning, they tend to focus on a specific domain of expertise rather than the overall development of their employees.
Why General Development So Important
Consider the simple example of stressed employees who must deal with strict deadlines, minimal resources, siloed information, and team friction. These types of performance issues can cause major setbacks for a company.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that several different learning and development solutions can help ease some of these problem areas. For instance, sales teams can use mentoring and coaching for new and experienced employees to get reps up-to-speed on such high-level topics like setting strategy, as well as day-to-day necessities like employing new communication tools to reach potential clients.
What’s more, smart companies understand that training isn’t just a way to rollout programs that teach individual contributors about new procedures, teams how to work more cohesively, or leaders how to perform data analysis. No, training and development is a good strategy for keeping employees—whether junior team members or senior-level leaders—motivated, engaged, and focused.
How to Get Started
To ensure that effective learning programs are in place, it is important to chart your course. First, your organization needs to form a focused learning and development group that includes technical experts, behavioral specialists, and general training professionals.
Next, the goals and vision of the L&D team must align with the company goals and vision. In addition to company-specific programs (think: onboarding or product training) and general development topics (think: project management or leadership development), you may need to include programs important to your particular industry (think: customer service, safety, or crisis management).
Meanwhile, the L&D team will need to develop complete job description and assessments that can be used for crucial competency mapping. This will help with succession planning and leadership development for high-level roles and workforce planning for growing areas of the business. In other words, the L&D team needs to create tools that offer a road map for employee growth.