By Alex Ryan, CEO & Chief Solution Strategist

“In a learning organization, leaders are designers, stewards, and teachers. They are responsible for building organizations where people continually expand their capabilities to understand complexity, clarify vision, and improve shared mental models – that is, they are responsible for learning.” – Peter Senge

The ability for your organization to learn, develop, and build skills and capabilities faster than the competition is a competitive advantage, and it starts at the top!

A commitment to employee learning and development ensures your talent is at the top of their game, can improve employee morale, and reduce turnover.

It can be difficult to know where to focus your time and training budget to get the most out of your efforts. Here are five tips to get you started:

1. Avoid teaching skills your employees already know.

I know this seems like a no-brainer, but we have all been there. We start to implement the latest “insert current technology skill here” training program that we spent months procuring or building only to find it missed the mark completely.

Plan and take the time to assess your team’s skills and knowledge so you can focus on those specific gaps in skills and capabilities. This step will ensure you’re addressing the needs of your employees without wasting time (yours and theirs) and money.

2. Model your training after real-world experience.

An auto technician is learns by watching and doing with supervision. A trade apprentice learns from journeyman in the field. The same can be applied to corporate learning environments.

Want to make learning stick? Focus your efforts on learning programs that look and feel like tasks your employees will need to be doing. Establish a foundation through traditional methods and then reinforce through peer coaching (those that teach are learning too), practical exercises (75% retention rates), and real-world experience.

3. Make it fun and interactive.

No one wants to listen to a long lecture taking up hours of their time, and it isn’t effective. Only 5% of the information is retained. Instead, think about blended and interactive training methods that include activities that put the skills and principles into action.

An emerging and budget conscious trend for 2021 is interactive video. Interactive video blends how-to instruction (traditional video) with knowledge checks to create an interactive choose your own learning adventure.

4. Make it manageable with employee workloads.

Dedicating full days to in-person or virtual training and conferences is great but isn’t always manageable, effective, or budget friendly.

Find ways to incorporate training and development programs without making employees feel they need to work extra hours to make up for lost time.

  • Virtual conferences offering tracks and the option for viewing sessions on-demand, allow employees to self-direct their learning and fit it into their schedule.
  • Subject matter experts in your organization can lead lunchtime or “happy hour” discussion on needed topics.
  • Product managers can record video product demonstrations and then host a Q&A.
  • Rotate attendance at training between key employees then have the attendees present out key lessons learned and how it can be applied to the job.
  • Tap subject matter experts and leadership to create curated content playlists that focus on the emerging trends and priority topics.

5. Measure your effectiveness and then adjust.

Once you’ve implemented your training programs, plan to re-run skills gap assessments and program surveys. Surveys and assessments (with the right questions) ensure that your employees learned what they needed from the program and gather crucial feedback for making improvements.

With a solid plan that incorporates these five tips, your learning & development program is sure to be budget friendly and effective. Schedule a free consultation with Evolve today if you’re not sure where to start.