Guest contributor Jessica Thiefels offers advice on how to tailor your L&D programme to the needs and wants of different groups of workers
Did you know that, according to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if the organisation invested in career development? Yet the same report found that employers are struggling to get people engaged with these opportunities. If this sounds familiar, consider LinkedIn’s solution: “The modern organization [sic] needs to meet learners where they already are – aligning development opportunities with employee aspirations, and engaging them through the platforms where they are already spending their time.”
The best way to find this alignment is to focus on what your employees want to learn and customise opportunities for each team accordingly. If you’re ready to invest in your employees’ learning, use the tips below to help everyone get the most out of the career development opportunities you’re offering.
Sales: focus on engaging prospecting
A great sales team must be highly skilled in many areas – and prospecting is one of the most important. If they can’t get great leads to respond, they’re stuck at square one. Yet, according to Hubspot’s 2018 State of Inbound report, a shocking 40% of sales professionals say that getting a response from prospects is their biggest challenge.
This should be the number one focus of learning for your sales team. Since there are many ways to engage prospects, a longer, multi-training experience will allow teams to explore all options and find the ones that work best for them. Consider facilitating this with hands-on learning from outside sales experts once a week or once a month.
Marketing: focus on generating traffic
Your marketing team has a big remit on its hands, from paid advertising to influencer management, organising events, and producing informational materials. Yet, when it comes to learning, there’s one challenge all marketers are struggling with right now, according to Hubspot’s report: generating traffic and leads.
Since each member of your team is likely engaged in driving leads through different avenues, you’ll want to split this training out within the team. Your blog manager, for example, will need to learn more about on-site optimization. Your Facebook manager, on the other hand, will need to learn new tactics for driving clicks from that platform.
To make this learning most effective, Developer Academy’s survey suggests using a mix of hands-on learning with online self-paced modules, reading and even mentoring, according to the developer learning survey. Developers have a wide range of preferred learning methods, so catering to a mix of those will yield the best results for them and your organisation.
IT: focus on the future
Our world is evolving so fast, it’s hard to keep up. So it’s not surprise that the American Psychological Association’s 2017 Job Skills Training and Career Development Survey reported that, “as talk of automation, artificial intelligence and skills retraining dominate conversations about the future of jobs, 43% of employed Americans say they are concerned about the changing nature of work.”
These changes are never more applicable than in IT, where employees must keep up or put your business at risk. If your network systems aren’t secured and updated, for example, you risk a data breach or malware attack.
Look to third-party partners to facilitate this learning at different levels, since senior developers may need different learning support to those who are in entry-level positions. Product manufacturers may also offer training on their upgrades, allowing you to roll learning right into a process that’s already happening.
Customising your learning by teams
When planning development programmes, it’s essential to give your employees what they want: learning opportunities that are relevant and valuable. The best way to do that is to customise your offering by team, which helps to ensure that everyone is focused on skills they need to improve the most. Don’t forget to poll your teams to get more specific with preferences or to find ways to make the learning more effective. When your employees improve, the business improves – making this a worthwhile investment for everyone.
Jessica Thiefels is a freelancer writer with more than 10 years’ experience writing professionally. Her work has been featured on websites such as Forbes, Business Insider, and Virgin. Find her on Twitter @JThiefels