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When you’re designing your L&D strategy, it’s easy to get caught up in all the amazing tools and offerings on the market. But you’re likely working with a limited budget, and while you’d love to transform your business overnight, you’ll probably need to work on a handful of initiatives at a time before moving onto the next project. So, how do you choose the right learning and development initiatives?

It’s vital that you understand what is a want and what is a need before requesting budget or presenting your strategy to senior leadership. But where do you start? There really is no one-size-fits-all approach to take; every organization is different, and will have different priorities. Here’s some tips to help you define what the right fit for your business is right now.

1. Do a complete audit

Before you begin planning for the future, you need to understand what is already in place (and whether or not it’s working), what has worked or failed in the past, and where there are existing gaps. 

You’ll need to speak to department heads, business unit owners, and the C-Suite to get a clear view of this before any work can begin. Compile all the information and look for any patterns or cross-over in terms of existing initiatives and learning gaps. 

2. Prioritize and score potential initiatives based on effort, impact, and budget

Impact must take into account the overarching business goals, not just those of the people team. Aligning a learning outcome with a big ticket item for the C-Suite gives you far more success when it comes to gaining buy-in. Using a method like RICE scoring will help keep things objective and ensuring your outcomes are accurate and you choose the right learning and development intiatives to begin with.

3. The highest impact scores must be prioritized. 

Whether they’re your favorite ideas or not, i’s important you trust the system and prioritize your high impact projects. These will be unique to your business, but some common high impact initiatives include:

Moving classroom training to eLearning within an LMS where possible and relevant.

This allows for less disruption to the flow of work as people are able to access content when they need it, rather than taking a whole team out of output mode for a day.

Formal coaching and informal mentoring

A coaching culture encourages and supports learning, growth, and development. Businesses with coaching cultures want their people to become the best version of themselves through ongoing feedback, healthy challenge, and support. Giving people access to performance coaches, alongside trusted internal mentors, sets everybody up for success.

Plugging skills gaps

‘Upskilling and reskilling’ are terms you’ll have heard a lot in the last 5 years. Skill gaps have ballooned worldwide with 87% of companies set to face this challenge in the near future. Around 1 billion people will need to be re-skilled by 2030 to keep pace with changes brought on by technology, calling for a “reskilling revolution”.

Find out all about the latest L&D trends and start building a world-class strategy today.

If you’re responsible for learning and development (L&D) programs, you’re likely focused on how to secure budget and get that all important leadership buy-in. Convincing senior leaders to spend money on new initiatives can be tricky. This is especially true in areas like training where the immediate ROI or benefit to the business can be hard to demonstrate. Here are three ways to make a strong business case and get leadership team buy-in from the start.

1. Involve (relevant) senior stakeholders from the beginning

The best way to get started is by involving the C-Suite from the beginning. Don’t come to an executive, board, or people planning meeting with a fully formed strategy. Instead, ensure you raise the need for a program overhaul before you get started.

  • Outline your reasons why (use data to highlight skills gaps and other areas you feel are lacking)
  • Set project goals in an early conversation
  • Ensure you’re asking for input from the relevant C-level roles. This isn’t just the obvious ones like Chief People Officer. Often COOs and CEOs are useful stakeholders for L&D projects.

2. Make business goals the center of your strategy

A great L&D program centers business goals and aligns with overarching business strategy. Make sure it’s clear from the outset how your L&D program will be integral to achieving your business goals by getting your people performing at their best to support your company’s success. 

For each idea or initiative, link it to a company objective when you first present it, and in all subsequent project plans. This clarifies your vision for senior stakeholders and makes it more likely they will buy into the initiative.  

3. Demonstrate ROI

It may be easier said than done, but the best way to gain senior leadership buy-in is with numbers. While it may not always be immediately obvious how investing in L&D drives ROI, some areas are easier to quantify than others:

Reduction in employee turnover

If your business is focused on reducing headcount loss, it’s easy to show the financial benefit of your initiative. 94% of employees will stay longer in a business they feel is investing in their development, and you can use an online calculator to demonstrate exactly what the annual cost saving of higher retention looks like for your organization.

Reduced litigation costs 

For industries where compliance and/or litigation are major concerns, it should be straightforward to demonstrate where enhanced training could have prevented previous litigation costs, whether within your organization or by using case studies and news stories from your peers.

The impact of high performance

Investing in strategic development initiatives, like coaching, has a direct impact on output and productivity. In organizations where coaching is widely available, 70% of employees’ day to day performance improves, boosting company-wide productivity.

Gaining C-Suite buy-in for your L&D programs is vital to securing budget and getting sign-off. Remember to involve the right people early, use data to support your strategy, and focus on ROI for maximum success.

Find out all about the latest L&D trends and start building a world-class strategy today.

It’s no secret that your people want learning and development opportunities. In fact, 94% of employees would stay longer in their role if they felt their company was invested in their personal development. Whether you already have a robust L&D program or you’re just starting out, gathering feedback from all stakeholders on learning gaps is crucial. Here are three ways you can get started.

1. Start with company goals

The purpose of a great L&D program is to get your people performing at their best to support your company’s success. Your first step in gathering feedback on L&D needs should be speaking to business unit heads and understanding their key business goals and challenges. Not only will this help you understand where to prioritize your focus, you’ll also get buy-in from senior leaders early in the process. 

Use data to support your plans

Understanding key metrics around performance, turnover, and profit will highlight where learning initiatives are likely to best support business needs. This will help you prioritize the gaps, and will act as a great way to gain senior leader buy-in, too. 

2. Conduct an L&D needs audit 

This is a big task, and one that will take a lot of input. In order to understand what is already in place, you’ll need to speak with all department heads and people managers. Understand existing team provisions, and whether each item is standardized or bespoke. Compile all the information and look for any patterns or cross-over in terms of existing initiatives and learning gaps. 

Best practices

Alongside your audit and internal fact finding, there are several initiatives that fit every business. If you’re not already doing these, it’s time to consider their place in your business:

  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Leadership development programs
  • Performance reviews & OKR / Objective setting
  • Custom eLearning / training sessions

3. Ask your learners

Commonly overlooked, engaging the people who will actually be doing the learning is critical to gaining buy-in. A major reason employees don’t engage in learning programs is they don’t find the solutions and opportunities relevant to their own development. Using employee feedback to create your L&D program is the best way to build something that works for the business and the people.

Keep it simple

Start with the simple question: “what do you want to learn?” This should help you gather 3-4 recurring themes and highlight major areas of focus and can be as simple as a free text survey. Avoid multiple choice questions as you’ll limit scope and influence the direction of answers; giving people the option to answer with anything – however creative – will give you much more honest and useful feedback in areas you may not have considered. 

As with anything, feedback is crucial. Building learning and development programs that engage the entire business is fundamental to their ongoing success. When everybody feels they have a voice, buy-in will be high and your programs are sure to be a success.

Find out all about the latest L&D trends and start building a world-class strategy today.

It’s no secret that employee expectations are changing. People are demanding ever-more from their employers, with a particular focus on personal development, which of course falls to you in HR. Whether you’re new in a business or a veteran, you’re likely asking yourself one crucial question: how does our Learning and Development program measure up to other companies?

Offering a robust learning and development program is key to attracting and retaining the best talent, and staying attractive in a competitive job landscape. But where do you start? First, you need to understand what other companies in your space are offering, and understand how to match – or beat – them. 

Here are 3 major L&D initiatives to keep you competitive in 2023.

Plugging skills gaps

‘Upskilling and reskilling’ are terms you’ll have heard a lot in the last 5 years. Skill gaps have ballooned worldwide with 87% of companies set to face this challenge in the near future. 1 billion people will need re-skilling by 2030 to keep pace with technological advances, calling for a “reskilling revolution”.

Giving your people the opportunity to upskill or reskill and future-proof their careers is a great way to stay competitive.

Ditch one-size-fits-all

If the latest shifts in learning patterns are anything to go by, one size fits only one.

In a world where we get personalized recommendations for what to watch on Netflix and customized news feeds on social media, it’s only natural that learning also moves in a similar direction. If we can use technology to make every other aspect of our lives more efficient, why not our learning? Learning personalized specifically for one’s interests and career goals is one of two main motivators for employees to learn. 

People want learning and development that is relevant to their career and their goals. By offering this, you can easily stay ahead of your peers.

Create a culture of coaching

More than just the latest L&D buzzword, a coaching culture encourages and supports learning, growth, and development. Businesses with coaching cultures want their people to become the best version of themselves through ongoing feedback, healthy challenge, and support. 

There are several ways businesses are leveraging coaching in 2023:

  • Level 1: Using engagement surveys to understand what your people want and need. Investing in one off initiatives and training sessions. Encouraging mentoring from manager and senior peers. Running team building sessions. Acknowledging learning styles and creating space for neurodiverse colleagues.
  • Level 2: All of the above, plus investing in specific ‘manager as coach’ training so your managers all adopt a coaching style with their teams.
  • Level 3: Employing all of the above, and investing in external, professional coaches to enable everybody to reach their individual goals and unlock their full potential.

Embedding a coaching culture – especially a level 3 culture – is a deliberate strategic decision, and cannot happen by accident. It takes constant work and investment, but the rewards are huge.

Find out all about the latest L&D trends and start building a world-class strategy today.

Employee disengagement and turnover cost US companies US$1.35 trillion last year.

Employee disengagement and turnover cost US companies US$1.35 trillion last year. To address this, last year, companies spent US$ 357.7 billion globally and US$167 billion in the US alone because professional learning & development is the number one way to engage and retain employees. Companies also invest in wellbeing initiatives that have an important but limited impact on performance and employee engagement. Given the scale of the problem, it is obvious that companies do not spend enough to enhance their employee experience and/or do not spend it well.

The key challenges with the current learning and development programs offered are that 1) they are not used, and 2) they fail to have the desired impact on employee engagement and retention. Most of a learning and development budget goes into training programs. With traditional training programs, only about 20% of the information is retained after 30 days. Training fails to account for the differences in experience, learning style and development needs of people. This reduces its impact as people may not be able to personally apply the learnings to their own work.

What needs to change?

L&D programs tend to have a one size fits all approach. The key challenges with this are:

  1. Today’s workforce is more diverse than before, including more diverse learning needs and preferences. 
  2. 58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace
  3. People are focused on continuous learning, not one-off training sessions. 
  4. The opportunities just aren’t there – 94% of employees would stay longer if their company met their learning and development needs

The most impactful L&D program is one that is hyper-tailored, taking into account both the employee’s unique characteristics and the company’s objectives. Until recently, hyper-tailored learning was viewed as expensive and difficult to implement at scale. Technology and business model innovation has now made this possible.

What are the benefits of hyper-tailoring learning and development programs in the workplace?

Improve performance
70% of employees feel they do not have the necessary skills to do their job.  In response to this, 2 out of 3 companies are looking to bridge the skills gap through development initiatives. Hyper-tailored development can more effectively target the skill gaps of each employee. It is also a quicker way to get results, directly impacting your company’s bottom line.

Boost retention
Employees want more than just a paycheck. Lack of career development opportunities is the number one reason why people leave their job. A tailored L&D program helps target every employee’s unique development needs, making them more inclined to stay.

Address diverse learning styles
People have different preferences when it comes to learning new skills. Some might be visual learners, while others may be auditory learners. Visual learners may better understand and retain information presented through video, and auditory learners get more from podcasts. Tailoring learning to adapt to these different preferences helps make resources more impactful, and more likely to be used by employees.

Fuel Agility
In today’s fast-paced world, skills can quickly become redundant. New skills have to be continuously developed, so companies need to foster a continuous learning environment. Tailored development opportunities ensure that employees have access to truly relevant learning resources, which means that people will actually use them.

Here are some ways companies can hyper-tailor their L&D program offerings:

Make it data-driven
Effective data analytics is key in tailoring L&D. Collecting and analysing data using a variety of metrics will help companies better tailor their development offerings to their employees’ and company’s needs.

Offer coaching
One-on-one coaching is the Rolls-Royce of professional development. It is a self-directed process where people identify their own objectives and work with their coach at their own pace to problem-solve and develop. Technology innovation has made it possible to provide coaching from your intern to your CEO. Sama works with elite coaches globally, vetted by industry and coaching professionals, to provide coaching at scale.

Facilitate mentoring
Mentoring provides highly personalised and effective development. Mentors provide advice and feedback catering to an individual’s specific development needs and goals. 

Go digital
Digital learning can help employees tune in to resources, whenever and wherever they want. As the world of work becomes increasingly digital, it’s essential to adapt learning and development offerings. 

Empower your employees to own their development
Over 40% of Millenials and Gen Z want employee-led learning. Give employees the ability to shape their learning and development. One way of doing this is to ask employees for their feedback on learning programs, through company-wide surveys or focus group discussions. This can help you provide offerings that are more impactful.

Learning is key to thriving and creating competitive differentiation. Disrupting the traditional approach to L&D programs for one that puts employees more in control of their learning is a sure way to engage employees and create a future-ready workplace.