A company’s learning culture is essential to its performance. In today’s job market, employees are motivated by, and loyal to, workplaces that make them feel valued. Organizations that focus on an employee’s specific contribution, and continue to support and facilitate an individual employee’s growth through learning and development initiatives, will increase both morale and motivation, improve staff retention, engender collaboration and understanding, increase productive capacity, and contribute to overall company growth.
To establish an effective learning and development program in your organization, it is important that you include these two key components:
1. Individual Development Plans
Successful companies understand that each employee contributes value that is only enhanced through continuous learning and development. To do so, learning must be approached as an active individual exercise – something employees participate and engage in. Professional development plans can include a variety of options, some very cost effective:
- in-house classes and workshops,
- online designation courses,
- stretch goals, and
- mentoring from seasoned professionals.
These learning and development plans should also be aligned with corporate goals and objectives, so that they enhance and positively impact both the employee and his/her contribution to the company.
Through the creation of these individual development plans, employers also benefit from fast-tracking an employee’s acceptance of, and participation in, the company’s learning culture, and as stated by Training Magazine: “For those companies that did align learning and business priorities (48 percent), more than 70 percent were able to improve company revenue.”
2. Cascading Goals from Organization to Department to Individual
Today’s employees want a work environment that allows them to thrive both personally and professionally. While employees are willing to work hard, they want to feel like they are heard and have some influence over decisions; they value transparency and constructive feedback as well as recognition; and they want to feel like they are more than just employees – that they are valued team members.
The best way to achieve this is by “cascade[ing] goals throughout the company to drive transparency, manage progress toward goals on a continuous basis, and evaluate overall strategy with individual performance.” Without cascading goals, employees will never truly see how they contribute to the company’s overall vision and mission. The process also improves company performance as each employee understands the organization’s focus (organizational goals), how the team impacts the company’s success (department goals), and how their specific work (individual goals) helps achieve these goals.