Today’s workforce has undergone significant changes on the back of an increasingly competitive corporate landscape. Frequent digital disruptions and increasing complexities in doing business has reshaped today’s employee, while growing uncertainty around job-relevancy, emerging technologies, multigenerational employee-base, have all placed a higher impetus on reskilling/ upskilling.

According to research, highly skilled employees, credible leaders, and a knowledge-based model have become key assets for organizations to retain businesses in the longer run. And, an increasingly digital, knowledge-based economy calls for a workforce that is not only future-ready but also relevant today.

This brings us to the importance of Learning & Development (L&D). Understanding and being aware of industry trends, best practices and business priorities in L&D reveal how the function is gearing up to meet the challenges of skills shortage, talent development, higher attrition, among others. However, to make the most of your organizational employee training programs, L&D professionals must not only adopt an agile approach but also build a comprehensive and sustainable L&D strategy.

Among the myriad of responsibilities resting with L&D, the most primary one is the development of its employees (aligned to overall business objectives). So, here are five key considerations for L&D to achieve better learning and business outcomes-

    1.Developing and retaining talent within the organization

In an age where employees are in control of their professional development and career growth, the traditional productivity-focused learning falls short of attracting individuals, especially millennials. Today, employees seek professional development opportunities before joining any organization, while the lack of development opportunities is among the main reasons employees quit. On the other hand, employment trends have also evolved where employees are no longer retained if they no longer add value to the company.

    2.Leadership Development

Human capital development is directly linked to the effectiveness of L&D and the value it adds to the organization. Organizations ready to invest in the development of their human capital are sure to see higher returns, especially those with effective leadership development programs. According to research, organizations with strong leadership record almost double the earning as compared to other organizations with ineffective leadership; while organizations who invest in leadership development are (2.4 times) likely to achieve the desired performance results.

    3.Building a Learning Culture 

Often easier said than done, building a learning culture is crucial for organizations to future-proof their workforce. The modern workforce has gone increasingly (if not completely) digital and globally dispersed, and it’s up to L&D to build a culture of learning to help employees as well as the organization stay relevant and competitive in the years to come. Moreover, employees are largely attracted towards organizations that have a values-based system that contributes towards the welfare of society.

    4.Creating a brand identity

The brand identity of any company cannot be underestimated, and is an all important asset that indicates how successful and respected the organization is in the market. Brand value often always also translated into financial standing, market cap, and the quality of products and services. L&D needs to play a big role in furthering the organizations’ brand and enhance its reputation, so as to attract and retain talent in a shrinking talent pool.

    5.Engaging & motivating employees 

In the face of today’s business scenario, it has become absolutely crucial for businesses that their employees feel completely connected to the core of the organization in terms of values and aspirations. In simple terms, each employee needs to be engaged at the workplace in order to perform better and add value. Employee engagement is the glue that binds each employee with her organization’s core, whereas business’s short and long term success is dependent on employee engagement now more than ever. And, to engage today’s employees it is absolutely crucial for organizations to offer L&D opportunities to develop newer competencies. When employees are highly engaged, coupled with relevant skills to further their careers, they are certain to stay with their organization and work towards a collective business objective.

    6.Integrating L&D with HR

Today, it is critical for L&D to be aligned with larger organizational objectives, as well as with sister functions like HR, given how L&D plays a critical role in recruitment and onboarding of employees, in addition to continued performance management, reviews and more. According to McKinsey, many L&D professionals are only loosely connected to annual performance reviews in the absence of a structured approach. It is crucial for L&D to work closely and collaborate with HR and understand and leverage HR’s feedback from performance reviews to build higher capabilities. In fact, a large number of organizations are substituting annual performance reviews with frequent and real-time feedback processes, where L&D professionals can help leaders by advancing higher performing individuals.

Takeaway

In order to be more effective, L&D must take into account these six considerations to create an effective strategy to support the organization’s push towards growth. I hope these considerations will help you achieve better learning and business outcomes.

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