25.09.2020 at 20:19 h / Edited 26.09.2020 at 16:50 h
Chuck LEAN Business Consultant
What are some ways to embed continuous learning in the workplace and future-proof your workforce?
What are the questions to ask to ensure that you are learning while working remotely?
What is the number one obstacle for employee-led development?
Chuck LEAN Business Consultant
1. Create a culture of continuous learning
Organizations must create a culture that supports ongoing learning. From just-in-time learning to close a specific skill gap, to upskilling people for future positions, continuous learning helps employees thrive within their workplace.
HR can drive this learning revolution, but it requires buy-in from all stakeholders – from C-suite to line managers and employees. Crucial to creating a culture of continuous learning is facilitating ongoing performance management. Managers can craft development plans with remote employees to address learning for skills required now, and map out skills that will be required in six months, a year and into the future. Mapping out these skills means employees and managers have a reference point to guide them on the continuous learning journey and can measure their progress. Be sure to schedule regular virtual check-ins to track progress and address any roadblocks.
2. Empower employees to lead their own learning
We’ve seen a shift away from corporate top-down driven learning towards employee-led learning. [removed] want to learn at their own pace depending on their requirements, development needs and interests. It’s still important for managers to suggest ways to improve, with [removed] they would spend more time learning if their manager suggested activities. Managers should set aside time to check in on their team’s learning and offer new challenges and opportunities.
The [removed] for employee-led development is employees making time for their learning – especially when working from home presents a raft of new distractions. Employees need support from leaders and managers to create this space and time.
To reduce friction, learning should be built into daily activities and available on-the-go from any device. Organizations are creating personalized learning paths that develop employees in their current role, next role, and future career paths.
Employees also expect to learn on-demand when, where, and how they choose. Those working from home often want the flexibility to learn outside work hours, on whichever device suits them best. To meet these expectations, organizations are employing social collaborative tools, cross-functional project-based learning, creating online learning marketplaces, and structured mentoring forums.
Social learning is particularly effective in engaging remote employees: [removed] say that sharing knowledge with their team is critical for learning. With [removed] already investing in social learning tools, offering people a chance to share knowledge with their peers is becoming a crucial element of an always-on learning culture – and a great way for people to stay connected with their teams.
3. Connect continuous learning to career development
It’s important for managers to provide coaching and learning opportunities for their teams, even without regular in-person interactions. Nearly [removed] who felt empowered to drive their careers say that their manager was active in supporting their development.
As a manager, be proactive in clearly connecting learning opportunities with cross-functional projects, secondments, and internal mobility openings which are aligned with employees' career interests. This helps employees to see the different career development paths available to them, and identify the skills needed to get there. Development activities should be aligned to future career aspirations as training without the ability to utilize skills learned may demotivate individuals.
Creating a foundation where employees are supported and encouraged to engage in continuous learning takes time, effort, and resources. But the more an employee knows, the more they feel connected to the organization and motivated to succeed. Investing in continuous learning will help create skilled, engaged employees who can help organizations weather any challenges the future holds.
And finally, it’s an ongoing journey...people used to develop skills for a specific career: nowadays the career itself is a journey of constant learning. Globalization, a global pandemic, and the introduction of AI mean the workplace of today is constantly evolving and is starkly different to ten years ago. Likewise, the approach to learning needs to constantly evolve and change to create the workforce of the future.
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