Learning and Development

When it comes to day-to-day business operations, most successful companies focus on which decision and initiatives contribute to their bottom line. But how do you measure such impact when the ROI isn’t as clear? In an age where the people of an organization are frequently touted as its greatest asset, how do you build a workplace culture of learning and development (L&D) so that employees feel a sense of pride in the investment the organization is making in them?

What Is The Current L&D Environment?

Earlier this year, LinkedIn completed a “Workplace Learning Report” and they discovered some interesting data points about the positioning of L&D work throughout various organizations. Given that the war for talent continues to be highly contentious, there is an expected rising trend that more and more organizations are investing in talent development. Not only that, but 69% of L&D professionals said that talent engagement is their top priority. Consequently, over ¼ are expecting budget increases in 2017 for their L&D programs. To warrant this increase, LinkedIn’s report found that demonstrating business impact is key. Companies are hesitant to put substantial dollars behind L&D unless there is a clear connection to the bottom line.

Why Is L&D Worth The Investment?

Incorporating L&D into your company’s culture may seem like it would require a drastic change management effort but this isn’t always the case. Effective L&D leadership is essential to successfully empower employees and provide them with tools to achieve their fullest potential while enabling them to get work tasks done in less time while using fewer company resources. It will also allow them to evolve and adapt to meet the changing environment in the business world. The key to taking any organization from the ordinary to the extraordinary is a satisfied and empowered workforce.  

 It’s important to remember that organizations always succeed when employees succeed. L&D requires a blend of pushing your employees towards performing their jobs more effectively while also aiding them in achieving their own professional goals. Kevin Lynch, President and CEO at National Industries for the Blind, says that he puts a priority on “weaving innovative professional development programs throughout the fabric” of his company. Using this method helps employees achieve their highest employment potential and find professional fulfillment.

How Do you Begin Incorporating L&D Into Your Company?

Harvard Business Review found that getting top-level guidance and metrics to determine effectiveness is the simplest way to begin with L&D. Getting executives to make statements to support learning at your company is one thing, but setting goals to shift culture throughout the company is even better. You need to know how much time employees should spend on learning; how monthly, quarterly, and annual goals will be adjusted to accommodate learning opportunities; what metrics the company will use to determine how well employees apply learning from their L&D engagements; and how those metrics will be incorporated into employee reviews.  

Additionally, learning is a shared responsibility. L&D doesn’t just fall onto executives at a company but rather all employees. Promote an atmosphere where people feel free to tell managers what they would like to do in the future, the tools needed to help them get there, and where they want to spend their L&D focus.

To create this type of culture, begin speaking at skill level rather than role level. This shift will allow you to aid your employee instead of spending time deciding whether or not you think they would do well in a position that they want to fill. Rather than assuming, you will instead be able to talk about the expertise they will need to gain while showing that employees are able to take positive, encouraging steps forward in their career while in their current position.

Simply put, L&D helps companies gain a competitive advantage by unlocking the full potential of talent they already possess. This allows the company to achieve its goals and increase its bottom line by investing in its people, any company’s greatest asset.