Your people are the answer to your organization’s success. A commitment to learning and development is crucial to attract and retain top talent, give your employees the skills they need to achieve their goals, and support them to be at their best.
Putting learning and development at the heart of your culture matters. LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report reveals that employees consider opportunities to learn and grow as the top driver of exceptional workplace culture in 2022, up from ninth place in 2021. When learning underpins all your organization does, it enables employees to take charge of their career goals, gives them a sense of purpose, and keeps your business competitive. Connecting that learning with performance means laying the foundations for success. Read on to find out how.
Why Employee Learning and Development Is Crucial for Success
Organizations and leaders drive results when they put people first and invest in what employees care about. No matter where your people are in their careers or what they want to achieve, giving them the support to define where they want to go and the skills they need to get there means working with them to be the best. And in return, getting the best from them.
L&D is essential to delivering organizational and employee outcomes. Here’s why it matters to your people:
1) Attract and Retain Talent
It’s not enough to offer benefits and perks if they don’t add value—your people want meaningful opportunities to learn new skills and advance in their roles. If they don’t have the chance to develop in their current organization, they’ll likely be looking elsewhere.
L&D is an increasingly important factor for employees and could be vital in keeping the churn rate down. Pew Research Center data shows that in 2021, a top driving force for employees quitting their current roles was lack of development opportunities, with 63% reporting it as their motivation. In addition, Deloitte found that access to L&D opportunities was one of the top considerations for employees when choosing a new role. If you want to keep your top performers, support them to be the best they can be, and attract new talent into your organization, L&D is a must-have.
CREATE A CULTURE THAT MAKES YOUR TALENT WANT TO STAY | ‘How to Retain Your Best Employees’
2) Increase Job Satisfaction
A Gallup study shows that employees are happier and more likely to find their work meaningful when they have access to training and development opportunities. According to the results, 71% of US workers say learning and development increased their job satisfaction, and 76% believe it gives them a greater sense of purpose in their role. When organizations take time to understand the skills employees want to develop and deliver actionable training to help them achieve their goals, it makes them more engaged and committed to their work.
3) Futureproof Your Organization
The employees you already have are the ones with the talents to close any skills gaps and adapt in the face of uncertainty. A commitment to closing skills gaps and increasing agility starts with showing your people that their managers and leaders care about their careers, support their learning, and give them the time to practice and develop their skills.
In response to rapid technological advancements and workplace disruption, the need for training is clear. McKinsey’s research shows that 69% of organizations are increasing their investment in skills building to prepare for the future. Up to 90% of execs say that skill transformations positively impact company outcomes—not only does L&D increase employee performance, but it also strengthens business reputation.
MORE WAYS TO PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE | ‘Licence to Skill: Why Upskilling Is Essential to Future-Proofing Your Business’
4) Enable Ongoing Success
Putting learning and development at the center of your organization takes more than just implementing content. For training to be successful, your organization must drive a cultural change communicated at every step of the employee journey through continuous training opportunities and supported by your leaders and managers.
An EY report finds that managers have the most significant influence over employees’ motivations to learn (35%), followed by coworkers and mentors (15% and 14%). Learning and development is more effective in environments that facilitate coaching, feedback, and knowledge sharing. These elements will help learners take charge of their development goals, understand the meaning behind their training, and tap into their skills to help others.
Why Connecting Learning and Performance Management Is Crucial
It’s not enough to offer learning opportunities—for your people to invest in training and for it to add value, there needs to be a measurable outcome. When you align learning with skills and career training, employees can see the impact of their growth. Combining learning and performance management goals means it’s easy to track and measure the business impact of training and development and see how effectively employees are applying their skills.
CIPD research shows that high-performing learning organizations are four times more likely to measure specific business metrics to evaluate learning outcomes. They’re also four times more likely than average to use analytics to shape their future learning strategy to align with wider business needs. Tying learning and performance management together enables you to connect with employees and deliver more personalized learning based on their needs, effectively measure the success of training, and track goals to see how they align with business goals.
FURTHER READING | ‘Bridging the Gap: 5 Ways to Connect Growth Culture & Performance Culture’
How to Facilitate Employee Growth Through Learning and Performance Management
To effectively drive growth, learning and development must be personal to each employee, depending on their role, experiences, preferences, and aspirations. Aligning development goals with performance management elements like feedback makes learning more effective and lets you monitor whether everyone is moving toward the same goal—no matter what employees want to learn or where they are in their journey.
1) Personalize the Onboarding Journey
A great onboarding process matters. Not only do your new employees have lots to learn in a short period of time, but they also need to feel like part of their new team and that your company culture resonates with them. Scheduling mandatory courses and information based on their needs, department, or time in their new role is an efficient way to get them up to speed because it gives them the information they need exactly when they need it.
At the same time, it’s important that you don’t forget about building connections. Simple steps like sending a new hire a personalized video from their team before their start date or connecting them with more skilled coworkers who can help them in the first weeks can make employees feel more engaged and reduce time to productivity.
Communicating your culture should start from day one. Create individual goals during onboarding and tie those goals to team and organizational metrics. Employees understand their impact and how their work feeds into the larger team and organization. Connecting their goals with development objectives will help them to see the value your organization places on learning and development. If new hires feel that their company cares about and supports their development, they’re more likely to see the value of training and prioritize learning.
CREATE ENGAGING ONBOARDING EXPERIENCES | ‘How to Improve Your Remote Onboarding Process’
2) Encourage Ongoing Conversations
Conversations with employees can sometimes fall by the wayside when things get hectic, but with the right tools, managers can:
- Do more in the time they have to connect with their people
- Drive performance through coaching
- Offer timely feedback
It’s hard to enable employee growth without ongoing, collaborative one-on-one conversations. One-on-ones are important for managers to check whether team members are on track with their performance goals, identify areas where they need extra support or training, and talk about their skills performance.
Quarterly or annual performance reviews aren’t enough to help employees develop—frequent conversations mean managers can adjust goals in real time where needed and see what impact development activities have made on their work. Scheduling weekly conversations and automating check-ins at key moments (such as when an employee completes a stretch assignment or to discuss 90-day skill feedback with a new hire) keeps conversations focused on goals and checks that employees are moving in the right direction. Managers and employees should also have access to a shared agenda with historical data and conversation prompts to keep conversations flowing.
3) Use Skills to Drive Development
Whether your employees are at the beginning of their careers or have years of experience already, they all have career goals they’re working toward. They need access to relevant upskilling and reskilling opportunities to achieve these goals. The first step in giving your employees these skills is to identify what they want to achieve. Managers can connect through Bridge Career Drivers—a card-based game that helps employees define what they value in their career and what drives them to do their best work.
Once employees have defined their career goals with their manager, they can map their desired skills and build personal training plans. Align skills and training with goals to measure outcomes and see how their development impacts real-time performance. When you can see an overview of the skills each individual, team, and department possess, it informs how aligned they are with business goals and if any skills gaps exist. Having this information at your fingertips means you can easily deploy your talent in different areas and quickly assign training to bridge these gaps.
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4) Give Learners Opportunities to Connect
Don’t forget the value of your people when you’re building learning journeys. Your employees all have skills, and someone can benefit from them. Schedule opportunities for employees to connect with peers to access and share knowledge. Activities like on-the-job training to observe and practice a skill, 360-feedback from managers and peers, or even live discussions during collaborative video learning sessions are helpful. When you connect peers based on skills and promote SMEs/content champions, it gives employees the chance to step into coaching roles and provide performance feedback as learners practice skills.
Don’t limit employees to their job-specific skills—if they’re good at something, who knows who it’ll help! Creating connections and aligning people across your organization through skill sharing can improve performance metrics and make your talent more agile.
5) Create Personalized Learning Journeys
It’s unlikely that your employees will share the same career or skills goals. Creating individual journeys tailored to their needs means they’re only getting the information they need when it’s needed, as courses can be spread out over predefined timescales. Spacing out learning and breaking it into smaller chunks makes for a more engaging and focused experience—courses can be adapted to learners’ needs and accessed whenever’s most convenient to them, whether in the workplace or on the go.
In addition to learning elements, creating personalized plans means you can track training progress and performance, and add performance management elements like one-on-ones, feedback, or skills reviews into the process. Adding these elements means it’s convenient for managers to stay in touch with employees during key moments and assess their development results.
CREATE PERSONALIZED LEARNING JOURNEYS | ‘How Personalized Learning Enhances Employee Skills Development’
6) Be Mindful of Metrics
All learning and development outcomes should be measured and without data, it’s hard to measure success. A learning management system can provide data on course progress and metrics to track what courses a learner has completed and what they’ve learned. This information can feed into performance metrics like skills evaluations and goal alignment. Look beyond data to determine the success of training too—other factors like peer feedback, a closed skills gap, or project completion time can provide insight into how L&D has impacted wider organizational goals.
Managers and leaders should regularly communicate the outcome of training by showing learners the positive impact their development has on team and business goals, encouraging them to take ownership of their own goals, and providing timely feedback on any training and development.
Discover More Ways to Drive Effective Learning and Performance
Explore more ways to simplify your L&D processes, align goals, and connect your organization through conversation in our live demo. We’ll show you how Bridge’s learning and development platform drives growth with automated activities at every step of the employee journey.
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT: Our Demo/Webinar with Simona Fallavollita (Director of Product Management):
“Creating Effective Learning Journeys and Development Plans With Bridge” on Monday, September 12th at 2pm EDT
Bridge’s LMS gives you the power to build, deliver, and automate personalized learning journeys that put employees in charge of their own learning and development experience.
Create engaging learning experiences to guide employees through a series of pre-built courses, connect them with peers for access to skills building through on-the-job training, and add performance management elements such as one-on-ones and feedback to measure the outcome of training.