Our 5 top tips for creating a culture of learning and development

Posted on Friday, 28th Feb '20

Anthony Wolny by Anthony Wolny

Improving employee engagement, retention and boosting the skills available within your business – three great reasons why a strong learning and development strategy should be a high priority for SMEs.

But all too often, sitting down to set up a new strategy can be seen as a time-consuming task.

So, we’ve put together five top tips to help you get started…

1. Ask your people

Learning isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ task – we all learn at different speeds and in different ways. So, a great starting point is asking your employees what learning and development opportunities will work for them.

While you can’t promise to include every idea, this feedback will be invaluable in understanding the training needs and development desires within your business.

2. Consider a range of topics

Many learning and development strategies focus more heavily on generic training topics. But to make sure yours adds real value to your business, it should really include a wide range of topics designed to be helpful to all roles, and at all levels.

Examples include executive coaching, technical skills such as coding, as well as soft skills that help your employees work well together.

3. Include a mix of methods

From professional qualifications and development programmes, to mentoring and e-learning, there are lots of ways to learn in 2020. And you want to make sure your strategy offers a decent mix of methods that will satisfy a range of different learning styles.

For example, mentoring may be useful to an employee looking to boost their design skills, while classroom training may be most beneficial to someone looking to learn how to code.

4. Make learning a business priority

Documenting a strategy is one thing but finding ways for your business to live and breathe learning and development is quite another. Consider building in learning hours to the work week to make it the norm – ‘lunch and learn’ sessions are a great way to engage your people in this.

Dedicating a learning and development budget, either per head or per team, will also help to show that your business is committed to the future of your employees.

5. Evaluate progress

Taking the time to understand how well your strategy is working is essential. This can be achieved both formally through reporting, and more informally by celebrating your employees’ successful course completions and asking them to share their learnings with the rest of their team.

Anthony Wolny, February 28th, 2020

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