Learning and development have always been an important part of doing business, but practices have shifted since the pandemic.
Learning and development or L&D empowers employees by giving them the opportunity to improve their skill sets which can improve performance or set them up for a new position. This also drives better business performance.
Prior to the pandemic, employers could send employees to workshops, classes or even hold classes on-site. In-person learning became difficult or impossible for many companies during the pandemic. Employers and employees alike began demanding development opportunities that work for both remote and hybrid workers, without losing any personal connection.
Training Industry research found that over half of Learning and Development professionals have retooled or repurposed learning programs in response to the pandemic. As L&D adapts to a post-pandemic world, employers need to make sure their programs still align with their employees’ needs, even as those needs change.
Flexibility in Learning and Development
Providing flexible training options is a must for today’s learning and development programs. Employers must offer a variety of training options to meet the needs of their employees. On-the-job training, coaching/mentoring and online training can be made available no matter where the employee is located.
On-the-job or hands-on training lets new employees begin working immediately by jumping in or shadowing another employee, while still being monitored by a supervisor or team member.
This type of training wastes no time in getting employees up-to-speed, without completely being on their own. It can also be done in-person or online via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Mentoring as a training method is ideal for young employees. Gen Z employees (those born after 1996) don’t want to be managed, they want to be mentored. According to a Forbes article, Gen Z prefers mentoring because they’re used to finding their own solutions and filling knowledge gaps.
Providing this type of learning and development to Gen Z workers in remote positions will help them feel supported and part of the company culture, which can ultimately help with retention.
Online training content, available through a learning management system (LMS), allows employees to access and complete training and development on their own time, from anywhere.
This type of training is ideal for completing compliance training, diversity and inclusion, sexual harassment, safety, cybersecurity, leadership, ethics and more. But any type of custom content can be uploaded, so additional training, specific to the position, can be accessed as well.
Stronger Diversity and Inclusion Programs
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) programs help employees feel safe and appreciated at work. Diverse workplaces are often more successful than those that aren’t. McKinsey studies have shown that companies with more than 30% of women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30% sometimes by almost half. Companies with racial or cultural diversity outperformed others by up to 36%.
Implementing a DE&I plan can help organizations become more diverse and inclusive. Learning and development can help make the plan or policy effective by training managers on how to recognize and mitigate bias, respect differences, build empathetic relationships, foster allyship, manage conflict and bring out the best in others.
Teaching Soft Skills
In a post-pandemic world, soft skills like communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking, are more important than ever. And, according to research, 44% of the executives surveyed think Americans are lacking these critical skills. Your L&D plan include helping employees develop these skills through online courses and social and interactive platforms.
According to eLearning Industry, courses about soft skills can be particularly helpful if you’re using coaching and practice. This backs up the lessons employees are learning on the job. If someone is learning about emotional intelligence on the job, they can review content about it later through an L&D course and boost their retention.
Using Learning and Development for Succession
COVID taught companies many things. For one, the business environment can literally change overnight. Secondly, at any time a company’s leadership might be unable to work. These factors have made succession planning even more necessary today than it was even a year ago.
Succession planning helps companies design professional development and career advancement opportunities, including learning and development, for their employees. With 94% of employees saying they’d stay at a company longer if it invested in helping them learn, having a succession plan in place is critical. It ensures your employees get the resources and attention they crave and increases retention by setting them on a path toward future advancement. The company also benefits by insuring you have people ready to step up if another employee can’t fulfill their duties.
Learning and Development Technology
The right L&D technology is essential to helping employees learn in a post COVID world where in-person classes aren’t always available. Learning and development technology that makes training easier no matter where the employee is located, is essential to the process.
Mobile is a must
An LMS with mobile capabilities lets employees review their assigned courses and course history from anywhere. Employees who are stuck at home without their laptops or sitting in an airport waiting on a flight can take training courses or simply access company resources.
Invest in customizable solutions
Every company has its own objectives for developing employees. Your LMS needs to allow you to upload customizable content as well as cover the basics. It should include standard training courses like sexual harassment prevention and cybersecurity and offer multiple formats so you can upload courses specific to your employees’ skill sets, products and services.
Make it easy to use
Employees will be more engaged in professional development if the process is simple and user-friendly. Arcoro’s Learning Management System features a centralized location for all training through its employee portal which can be used for other core HR functions like performance reviews and onboarding. The dashboard allows employees to see their learning plan, progress and history. Automatic emails alert employees when they have new assignments or when a deadline is approaching. And the system is entirely cloud-based, so your employees can access it anytime, anywhere, on almost any tech device. No special technology is required, and no special apps need to be downloaded.
Learn more about building a powerful Learning and Development program with these resources:
Planting the Seeds: How cultivating talent internally helps employers win the war for skilled workers
5 Ways to Get More Out of an LMS