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5 tips to build a transformative learning program

Jan 07, 2020 - 10 min read
Amanda Fawcett

According to a 2019 study by Docebo, many companies are failing to provide necessary learning and development opportunities for their employees. In the United States alone, one in four workers stated that they lacked opportunities to grow their skills, leading to a lack of confidence in the workplace.

L&D teams have tried to overcome these knowledge gaps, but unfortunately, these teams tend to equate information with ability. In reality, employees need a different approach to upskilling: one that holistically understands their roles and needs within a company.

Studies show that many L&D learning programs do not have lasting effects on their employees. So, how should L&D teams approach continued education and reskilling? How can we think about learning in a broader sense? This post will address these questions by exploring new approaches to learning programs that your employees need to succeed in their jobs.

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Employees should know how a company makes money

Many employees have not learned how their company makes money. This means they have little context for how their role and skills serve the growth and success of the company as a whole. Where do I fit in? Why is my work important here? What is my goal here? Every employee asks these questions of belonging and purpose at some point.

Not surprisingly, a strong sense of belonging is associated with improved work ethic, lower stress levels, and longevity in the workplace. Training your employees on how your company makes money is the first step to the healthy L&D learning programs. It serves to contextualize each person’s role, which in turn encourages mastery and leadership within the larger infrastructure.

When your employees know how their daily efforts help the company generate revenue, they are more likely to collaborate, cut costs, and work effectively for that aim. This kind of transparency is a win-win. One simple way to accomplish this goal is to empower your employees to teach others. Consider having informal brown bag sessions to have SME within the company to teach each other about these financial intersections and foundations.

This aspect of learning programs is particularly important for Gen Z and millennial employees, who were raised on a collaborative work-mindset. Younger generations are less concerned with climbing the corporate ladder and more invested in the health of a company and their own personal growth. Having a sense of belonging and value empowers younger employees to stay invested, seek growth opportunities, and strengthen the company overall.

To summarize: teach your employees how your company makes money and where they fit in that system. It is vital to your company’s health.

Employees should get continual training on a company’s proprietary systems

In the 21st century, digital proficiency is central to the success of any company. As companies implement new tech solutions and adapt to modern technologies, it becomes increasingly important that every employee understands the company’s unique tech infrastructure. Is Machine Learning an integral component of your products? Are you migrating your services to the cloud? How are you using third party software at your company?

Most employees, even highly trained software developers, do not have the technical training to keep up with technical changes like these. And Docebo’s study study shows that insufficient technical training limits career progression for workers of all ages and experience levels. Every employee needs to know how their work integrates with the corporate package software.

When employees have a strong grasp on proprietary systems, it contextualizes what they are building and how it interacts with the larger technical ecosystem of the company. Productivity, one’s sense of accomplishment, and creativity rise when we have a tangible sense of how we fit within the design. Training and educating employees on proprietary systems empowers employees of all levels and roles to take ownership of the shared technical environment and ecosystem.

Similar to #1 above, a simple way to accomplish this goal is to empower your employees to teach each other. Offer an informal brown bag session where employees can teach each other about these proprietary tech systems.

Educative’s enterprise program, for example, is working with companies to build custom training on the Educative platform to train teams on proprietary systems. This program offers companies rotating licenses with our online learning platform. Software developers of all levels can access high-quality courses.

The platform eliminates admin barriers and the hassle of software installations. Learning for work is now accessible, seamless, and personalized for the unique development needs of each company and employee. This platform encourages your employees to level-up their valuable skills without creating a burden to their lives.

To summarize: Ensure that your employees have the skills to excel in an increasingly digital world, and to move gracefully into the technology of the future.

Don’t shy away from hard skills training

Many L&D teams neglect hard skills training though it is a vital part of the health and success of your company, particularly for your tech and dev teams. This may be due to the fact that L&D teams are not cognizant of the tech skills necessary for improvement and success. From new programming languages to updated software, the tech world changes frequently, and up-to-date software developers need further education at any stage of experience level.

Without an investment in tech reskilling, employees are likely to leave for organizations that do offer such opportunities. There is great value in encouraging your employees to continue leveling up their tech skills. A Learning Management System (LMS) is an excellent way to empower your employees to skill up and stay relevant in their roles. LMS removes barriers to continued education, and by making reskilling accessible, it communicates that you care about employee growth.

Educative Learn, for example, offers companies access to dozens of interactive, personalized courses for developers of all levels. These courses are aimed at leveling up coding skills quickly, increasing employee retention, and decreasing turnover rates. A high-quality LMS like Educative Learn empowers employees to continue learning without hassle or stress, which strengthens the company overall and increases confidence in the workplace.

To summarize: Ongoing hard skill trainings are essential to the growth and success of your company.

Teaching soft skills should be done thoughtfully

Soft skills are important: leadership, people management, time management, and the like are central to the success of any company. While L&D teams focus on soft skills training, the way you teach soft skills largely affects the impact on an employee. Soft skills training tends to have a low-stickiness-factor for two main reasons.

Firstly, an employee may receive training on a skill that they cannot apply right away. And secondly, an employee may be uncomfortable with the new skill and need ongoing coaching. Once an employee leaves a meeting on soft skills training, the lesson may be lost.

This does not mean that L&D teams should abandon soft skills training. By no means! However, these teams do need to adopt creative ways of teaching soft skills. There are two main factors to consider when it comes to soft skills training:

  1. Consider why you are teaching soft skills. It won’t benefit your employees if you teach them soft skills that they don’t really need. Start with the why. Why should my employees be trained on this? A training needs assessment is a great way to gauge actually training needs. Empower your employees to express what they want to learn for their roles. After all, your employees likely have a stronger sense of what skills they really need to be successful.

  2. Consider the timing of your training. Soft skills training should always be followed by coaching and a practical opportunity to put those skills into practice.

  3. Follow up soft skills training with further coaching. Implement continued opportunities for soft skills learning and practice. Soft skills take a whole life to develop fully. Remain invested in your employees by continually giving them opportunities to use these skills.

To summarize: Leverage your resources around the company to focus on soft skills in an engaging, holistic way.

Employees deserve to learn about financial wellness

Training your employees on financial wellness should be a fixture of your L&D program. A lack of financial wellness is harming the business and impacting workplace culture. Studies show that 40% of workers in the United States live paycheck to paycheck, and nearly half of American workers spend time on personal finances while at work. Clearly, financial wellness is lacking in the workplace. Financial wellness empowers the company as a whole, and it communicates that you care about your employees beyond their output.

Questions about finance are crucial for your employees! It’s their livelihood, after all. Meet this need by providing resources and safe spaces to ask finance questions. Could you invite representatives from your 401k recordkeeper to talk about the 401k? Your benefits broker to talk about health insurance? Your commercial insurance broker to talk about auto or home insurance? Timing may be a big factor here. For example, you can talk about 401k and encourage your employees to increase their deferrals before annual comp increases go into effect.

Employees in their 20s and 30s are particularly interested in financial wellness topics and training. According to a 2018 study, only 17 states in the United States require high school or college students to take courses in personal finance or economics. This is drastically lower than the national curriculum of the past.

Many of the courses offered today are not up-to-speed with the digital financial industry of the 21st century. For young people – the future of business – there is a huge gap in personal finance education.

Important: Financial wellness should always be aimed at the goal of reducing financial stress, so tailor your program to meet employee needs. Do you hire a lot of recent college graduates? Consider a student loan matching or refinancing programs. Are some of your employees living paycheck to paycheck? Allow them to opt out of automatic payment programs and payroll deductions. Use your L&D programs to reduce stress, meet needs, and empower your company as a whole.

To summarize: Focusing on financial wellness is vital to the success of your employees and the future of business.

Main takeaways

Investing in adaptive, thoughtful learning programs is beneficial to your company and your employees. We hope this discussion offered some new approaches for L&D teams to think about their companies’ learning programs. Supported learning is one of the best perks that any company can offer! Give your employees opportunities to grow, learn, and feel valuable in their roles. Your business will prosper, and your workplace will thrive.

WRITTEN BYAmanda Fawcett

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