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L&D comes with big benefits

By Jillian Stewart
Published in Blog
December 15, 2021
2 min read
L&D comes with big benefits

Learning and development (L&D) has traditionally been associated with acquiring new skills to support a promotion, a pay rise or a change in career direction. But today’s workforce sees it as much more. Learning is becoming an essential component of company culture that leads to both personal and professional success for individuals as well as business growth.

Online learning, training courses, development programmes and activities all fall under the umbrella of L&D. Strategies for L&D in big companies (more structure, more resources) will differ from those in smaller companies where resources and budgets are limited. In small-to-medium companies, training may be less structured and learning more informal, but this does not mean it’s less meaningful or valuable.

In smaller, fast-growing companies, learning is often accomplished by ‘doing’. People are usually in less distinct roles, having to take on new responsibilities and learn new skills at speed, making them more adaptable and flexible. Not formal corporate training, more like on-the-job training, it’s a form of continuous learning that provides wider work experience and less ‘pigeon-holing’ than in bigger companies. It may be more intense and less predictable but it’s what makes smaller companies the workplace of choice for many people.

Practical learning comes in the form of regular one-to-one and team meetings where people are encouraged to be proactive in their response to problem-solving and reflective about challenges they are facing and how to overcome them. A form of social learning, it’s an opportunity for team members to develop active listening skills and an understanding of cooperative group dynamics. Coaching and mentoring support can also be something that happens between peers in small high-functioning teams. It not only supports individual learning but also builds company capacity and resilience.

However, social learning and ‘learning by doing’ aren’t the only ways for small businesses to provide L&D.

There are a number of strategies small businesses can implement that won’t break the bank but will go a long way towards developing a learning-centric culture

  1. Find out what your people want to learn.
  2. Adopt the digital tools that will enable them to integrate learning into their workflow, e.g. new video software, a new coding language programme.
  3. Get your team to create personal development plans outlining how they each want to grow as a person.
  4. Take advantage of the online learning platforms that are available.
  5. Think about giving team members an L&D budget and the power to spend it as they wish. This has dual benefits – it frees employers up from identifying the L&D needs of individual team members and empowers employees to take ownership of their own progression.
  6. Encourage innovation. Get your people to come up with creative solutions. Allow experimentation. They will find new ways to work, learn from their mistakes, have the chance to reach markets you are wanting to tap, while building independence and a sense of autonomy.
  7. Be flexible with hours. People learn (and work) best at different times of the day. Providing hours flexibility is a benefit that empowers your team to learn (and work) to their own timetable. Your team will learn deeper and bring what they learn into the business.
  8. Switch up the routine. Monotony kills creative output. Offering your team the ability to work remotely is one way to mix things up. Group projects, presentations, field trips and group activities also boost people’s ability to recharge and enhance company culture.

A strong L&D strategy is about a lot more than upskilling your team. Evidence suggests that millennials value learning and development above financial reward.

A culture of learning offers employees the chance to grow and develop as well as acquire a range of skills. It will attract new hires. Having a learning-centric culture is also linked to strong employee engagement. And engaged employees are more likely to stay with you. An effective, engaged and retained workforce is a competitive advantage. The benefits keep on coming.


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Jillian Stewart

Jillian Stewart

Culture

Table Of Contents

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There are a number of strategies small businesses can implement that won’t break the bank but will go a long way towards developing a learning-centric culture
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A strong L&D strategy is about a lot more than upskilling your team. Evidence suggests that millennials value learning and development above financial reward.

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