08 Jan New Year Learning & Development Resolutions
For many of us the New Year signifies new beginnings and the opportunity for a fresh start in both our personal and professional life. With the turning of the year we set out to undertake new challenges, achieve new goals and experience many new things that will improve our lives. Amongst the top resolutions every year are to become better organized, learn new things and read more. Each of these themes fit nicely within the world of learning and development, which as we have come to realise is an ongoing process throughout our lives!
Professionals in Human Resources and Learning and Development play a significant role, as they must provide the environment and relevant opportunities for employees to fulfil their resolutions. To assist your teams in achieving the goals they’ve outlined for themselves this year, we’ve thought of a few New Year’s resolutions to help you jump-start 2018.
Engage your staff in dialogue
One of the biggest challenges we face is listening to the views and comments of ALL our employees. We must ensure that we engage and listen to all our staff, both management and front-line people. We need to “get them on board” from the beginning – they are the ultimate users of any learning and development programme we will implement! When considering your learning strategy attain their input at the initial stages of designing and attain their feedback on the effectiveness of such programmes throughout the year – this will ensure its ultimate success. As the main beneficiaries of the programmes they will be able to offer a clear picture of what is really adding value and what, at the end of the day, is not.
Look at new trends and technology and how these can influence your learning programmes
Capturing and maintaining learners’ attention is becoming far more challenging than ever expected. L&D professionals need to think of new and innovative ways to deliver learning to multitasking, distracted, and busy learners. Modern technology allows for new techniques to be presented in both classroom and online learning. More and more training segments are broken into smaller components and in the last few years we have seen a great increase of microlearning and bite sized courses being delivered. Additionally, we have seen a steady rise on online gamification and social learning. People want learning to be fun and they want to interact with other learners. Learners need to be able to relate – they like badges, leaderboards, and enjoy the satisfaction of achievement in segmented and realistic tasks. These trends are here to stay, therefore, as we develop our learning programmes, it’s important to think about how we can incorporate some of these concepts into our leaning programmes this year.
Think small and allow room to expand
As we know changing culture and behaviour can be extremely difficult. To reach the outcome that we seek, it is important to focus on a few small behaviours that we can change bit by bit on the path to a larger, overall shift. Therefore, when designing our L&D programmes we must not focus on the outcomes as defined by the strategy but on the changes needed to take place and the learning initiatives that can achieve these changes. Change won’t happen overnight, but the small wins add up!
Develop your managers
There’s a famous saying that “people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their managers,” which drives home the point that manager training is essential. To be successful, you need to give those who manage and lead others the skills and training needed not only to manage, but to be able to inspire, coach and mentor employees. Managers should also be equipped to deal with the not-so-comfortable conversations and situations that come with the job. In designing learning and development initiatives for our managers and leaders, one must take a deep look into the issues they face and how a learning programme can effectively help them tackle those issues and challenges.
Market your L&D programmes
Every new year one of the major discussions in any organization is about self-improvement and learning new things. HR and L&D professionals should capitalize on this opportunity by finding ways to introduce their learning initiatives to employees. People are already motivated by their own personal goals, making this an ideal time to remind them to invest in their professional development, too.
New Year’s resolutions might seem cliché, but if your intention is to really make a change in 2018, then perhaps these may be some areas to start. We must all ensure that we continue to adjust and upgrade the learning approach and experience to cater to and engage all types of learners. By doing this, employees will invest more time and energy in their own learning journey.