All businesses, we know, have a need for training. All should recognise the need for investing in their people. From SMEs and start ups to global organisations, the necessity for that investment is clear. Companies want better productivity, they want growth and sustainability, they need profitability in order to provide that growth, the growth towards success, to maturity, to the future.
Learning and Development puts the pathway into place, and sets the direction for the journey. The journey can be fractious, not without its issues, and beset with obstacles. So, we call on our friends, the L&D providers to provide some of the answers.
The first steps on the journey involve gaining an understanding of where the company stands in relation to it driving growth through learning. Where are we? In order to bring focus to their training needs, it is key for organisations to have a framework in place for assessing the journey towards that growth, that future.
Smaller companies, SMEs, start ups, may have the least focus on training, and the least belief in the power of that investment, whereas larger organisations are more likely to have long accepted the need for L&D provision, and have assimilated it into the corporate structure. However, there is a constant necessity for assessing the impact, and developing the structure of any learning provision. In fact, in the ever changing corporate world, the need for that constant monitoring is even more pronounced and ever more important.
Starting at the beginning
Knowing where the business stands is essential. The first steps on the journey involve the implementation of a structure to support an effective learning culture. Also key, is to begin designing and developing the processes for the provision. Putting all this in place is the key starting point in order for Learning and Development to provide worthy impact for growth further down the road. Here lie the roots, the very foundations of any journey towards the future, towards meeting those key corporate objectives. At this point in the process, it may be prudent, particularly for smaller organisations, to investigate the many benefits of eLearning platforms, particularly with a view to cost effectiveness, ease of access and monitoring. That said, its prescient to understand that e-learning can provide solutions at every level of this journey, for companies of all sizes. Ways around obstacles, or more precisely, methods of removing obstacles altogether.
Setting the strategy
At this stage, the organisation should be identifying training requirements, developing learning plans and feeding that out to Learning and Development providers. It is important at this stage that all roles and responsibilities are well focussed. Managers and leaders should be collaborating with L&D providers to ensure not only that the training is the correct training, appropriately targeted at the right areas of the workforce, but also that it is meeting the requirement of both the business, in strategic long term growth planning, and meeting the objectives of the business. Establishing standards of expectancy and outcomes, as well as policies and procedures is essential to create a strong learning culture within the workplace. Learning should be a part of work, not apart from work. Effective leadership principles in this are fundamental.
Moving on down the road
So the need for Learning and Development is identified, and the structure for provision is in place. Knowledge is being shared, and the culture for learning not only established, but already providing a return on investment, for as knowledge spreads, the investment in learning provides a return. At least….it should be. The road, that pathway to the future has been chosen, but needs navigating. Placing a strong emphasis on monitoring and feedback are key to everyone on this road. Effective support from senior managers, and effective management for supporters. An organisation's people react better and faster to knowledge growth and behaviour change if supported and encouraged in their learning. Guidance stands at the heart of this collaborative learning practice, and will help deliver the required outcomes. Outcomes steered towards growth, and greater productivity.
The end of the road – the future
Thereby hangs a tale. Put simply, there is no end of the road, nor is this a wild goose chase. By this stage, organisations will have created a culture that values the constant need for L&D, is effectively supported top-down, with investment, monitoring and feedback. Staying on the road becomes the priority, rather than seeking a definitive end. Maintaining the importance of the many benefits of learning provision is key to bringing that future, the growth organisations seek.