What is Learning and Development?
An average employee is only productive 60% of the time.
Presuming someone is scheduled for a 9-5 shift, that’s approximately 3.2 hours where they aren’t working at full capacity; a significant portion of wasted potential.
In a team of 15 people, businesses lose 48 hours’ worth of work every single day.
While poor employee productivity, output, and engagement are not entirely an individual’s fault – bad time management, office distractions, and workplace stress all create a barrier for businesses trying to scale and grow.
What if we told you there was a solution?
Instead of missing out on hours worth of productivity, imagine a world where your employees are able to work at maximum capacity, deliver high-quality work, and never burn out.
It almost sounds too good to be true. Right?
What is Learning and Development?
Learning and Development is an ongoing process where businesses actively facilitate an employee’s personal growth, so that they can take pride in the work they do and be motivated to achieve more. This could involve creating training opportunities, providing them with a mentor/role model, or giving them clear direction to take for progressing up their career ladder.
Why is Learning and Development important?
The benefits of Learning and Development are multi-faceted.
On the one hand, you are enabling employees to produce higher quality of work.On the other, you’re challenging them and, consequently, keeping them engaged.
When you focus resources on development and learning in the workplace, your company starts to move towards a common goal where everyone becomes the very best version of themselves. In turn, your business can benefit from a tighter community and work culture where everyone feels comfortable, and you can stimulate creativity and innovation through Learning and Development.
Why should you invest in Learning and Development?
The importance of Learning and Development is most recognized in Human Resource Management circles, where evidence shows that investing in your employees leads to:
- An increase in morale.
- Higher job satisfaction.
- Reduced turnover rates.
- Stronger employee engagement.
- Confident decision-making.
- Improved crisis management.
- Reduced reliability of leadership.
- Collaborative teamwork.
When your employees are able to see evidence that you are running your business with their interests as a priority, you build loyalty and encourage them to increase their output for a rewarding and beneficial career.
So, by facilitating a Learning and Development strategy, you enhance an individual’s knowledge and overall competency at work to foster their personal development as well as business growth.
What are the challenges of Learning and Development?
As with any other area of employee development and learning, there’s not a simple “one size fits all” solution.
You have to be smart with your approach, and speak to your employees about their specific needs and requirements… or risk making presumptions and damaging employer relationships.
If one assumed staff member wasn’t meeting their targets because they didn’t know how to use a piece of software, then you might have offered support in this area. However, after a conversation, you may instead learn that they actually don’t have enough support. You could then assign a colleague to help them.
A successful Learning and Development strategy, therefore, would be sensitive to your employees and their requirements, while also addressing these other main challenges:
For many firms, the main barrier of continuous improvement comes down to an issue faced by every department since the dawn of time: a tight budget.
Standard onboarding and training procedures for employees have never been cheap, and continued investment into their success creates a financial hurdle that many Human Resource Managers and business owners struggle to overcome.
Research shows that firms already spend around $1700 per employee on basic training each year. This, combined with additional Learning and Development schemes like:
- Soft and Technical Skill Development
- Product/Service Training
- Software Adoption Tools
- Safety Courses
- Team Building and Growth
Result in a hefty annual price tag. It’s no wonder, then, that many companies can’t afford to fund ongoing training and skill courses for their employees.
2. Time commitment
As well as the significant cost, Learning and Development procedures often draw an employee’s focus away from their work.
When they have to attend different training courses and progress meetings, they’ll be spending less time at their desk. This then puts unnecessary pressure on their teammates, who have to pick up the slack.
Although training provided is eventually intended to increase productivity and performance, in the meantime, it can be another source of distraction.
Even if you pay someone to study in the evenings (such as attending an Open University or taking a Software Development course), picking up a new skill often takes at least 6 months.
3. Resistance to change
Just because you’ve identified a weakness in employee performance doesn’t mean they would agree.
From your staff member’s perspective, they may be already working at maximum capacity and could be suffering from long-term burnout. Perhaps they’ve taken an extended sick leave period or you’ve noticed a drop in the quality of their work. Adding to their load isn’t going to help.
Any form of change is not only a time commitment but a mental burden.
Expecting employees to add to their to-do list for the sake of your profit margin may be too big of an ask. You have to be mindful that what you want won’t always align with what your employees think, and it may be easier to simply hire extra employees rather than to try and encourage the ones you have to adopt new skills.
How to create a successful Learning and Development strategy
Training and development myths would teach you that professional development isn’t a priority for many businesses. This shouldn’t be the case for you.
When you create a culture that fosters employee growth, you are able to cut wastage, decrease average costs, and rise above your competitors. Here’s what to do.
- Gather employee feedback: Conducting regular employee progress reviews isn’t only beneficial for your staff members, but it gives you the opportunity to learn, too. When you gather employee feedback, you are able to position yourself as a mindful employer who truly wants the best for your staff members.
- Set Learning and Development SMART goals: Then, once you’ve identified issues in the workplace that are impacting productivity and performance as a whole, create a plan of action. You may not necessarily have to teach anyone anything – it could be as simple as using a different project management system, or reducing the number of daily check-ins.
- Provide opportunities: As part of your plan, start to schedule training opportunities where appropriate and find expert mentors to motivate your staff. 97% of employees say working with someone who is further along their career path is beneficial to their productivity.
- Funnel resources: Start to build a culture of learning, and invest in opportunities for employees who want to learn a new skill.
- Provide Real-Time Support: The best strategy for Learning and Development is to constantly provide real-time support. Examples of this include peer-to-peer partnerships, the adoption of software tools, and having clear troubleshooting procedures when issues arise.
- Create strong communication channels: To encourage employees to ask each other for help, you need to have the right channels in place. This may mean making sure everyone has each other’s work email, or it could be setting up Microsoft Teams.
- Build team relationships: For employees to be vulnerable with their colleagues and request support, you’ll have to nurture team building. Nobody likes admitting they need help or they are falling behind, but how can someone learn without support?
- Have present leaders: If you are enforcing certain training programs, then make sure your leaders are participants, too. Employees who are undergoing constant change experience higher levels of stress, and need to recognise that their management teams relate to their struggle and aren’t signing them up for anything they aren’t willing to do themselves.
- Provide recognition and rewards: Recognition of progress is vitally important to 37% of employees developing new skills. It encourages them to continue along the development path, and increases their satisfaction level. A simple acknowledgement from an employer makes all the challenges of learning something new entirely worth the struggle.
The best Learning and Development method
Some of the best employee training techniques have been tried and tested for years, and the same can be said for the 7/20/10 rule for Learning and Development.
The 70/20/10 Rule for Learning and Development
The 70/20/10 Rule has been proven to work time and time again.
It states that individuals will learn:
- 70% of their knowledge comes from experiences and assignments (such as day-to-day task completion).
- 20% from developmental relationships (like mentors or employees higher up the career path).
- 10% from coursework and training (such as Learning and Development digital programs or a specific course or qualification).
One specific example of this is something that often happens in businesses: Health & Safety training. The 7/20/10 rule for Learning and Development teaches businesses that they can’t simply implement a video training course and “call it a day”.
To take information onboard, employees would need to be an active participant in their learning, and may choose to walk around and learn where the fire exits are. To further progress their knowledge, teams should then conduct a memory test and be given to ask questions.
What is Learning and Development? – FAQs
Are you ready to start working towards your Learning and Development SMART goals? Before you do, here’s some frequently asked questions that might guide you on your way.
What is the role of Learning and Development?
Learning and Development is a great human resource management tool for any business looking to strive towards continuous improvement. By “upgrading” the talent you already have, you can increase the amount of work they do on a daily basis and improve the quality of their output. This allows you to be more efficient.
What are Learning and Development Programs?
Learning and Development programs are usually one-off training courses where an employee can watch videos, answer questions in a digital quiz, and then apply the knowledge they’ve learnt. This is intended to teach someone a new skill.
What is Learning and Development in HRM?
Learning and Development in Human Resource Management is the process taken by managers and leaders to equip their employees with the tools needed to grow.
How do I foster employee growth?
The best (and most simple) approach to employee growth is first creating a strong communication channel and then actively providing opportunities for your employees. This way, they can take control of their own personal development.
Encourage employee growth with Userlane’s DAP
Until recently, one of the hardest steps to tackle when designing your Learning and Development strategy was providing real-time support to employees who are in need and have questions to ask.
It’s impossible to be available for them 24/7, but that is starting to change. Userlane’s AI-controlled Virtual Assistant is able to provide your staff members with immediate assistance when they are learning a new piece of software or struggling to complete an essential course online.
Sound like something that could be of use? Request a demonstration today.