How to Create a Winning Learning and Development Strategy for Your Business
A business is only as successful as its team. A business strategy that prioritises continuous learning and encourages the development of new skills welcomes growth.
Every company needs a learning and development plan, and L&D departments need to guide the learning and training programs within a business to complement the overall business strategy. L&D leaders need to know how to create a learning and development strategy to identify skill gaps and set the company up for success.
What is a learning and development strategy?
No matter the industry, every company can benefit from a learning and development strategy.
An L&D strategy defines the skills and capabilities a business needs to operate, and creates a plan for how they can be attained. This aims to engage team members in continuous learning to develop the necessary skills and competencies to meet the needs of the business and improve business performance.
Benefits of a good L&D strategy
A learning and development strategy is essential for the success and sustainability of a business. Opportunities for professional development within a workplace will ensure that the skills and qualifications the business needs to operate exist within the company, and are being developed on an ongoing basis.
Reaching business goals
A good L&D strategy aligns with the objectives of a company in order to reach business goals. For example, if the business priorities are around growth and expansion, the L&D strategy can be focused on developing the business leaders within the company so that they are ready to step into the new positions as the business expansion occurs.
Engaged team members are productive team members. A winning L&D strategy involves team members in their own corporate learning, which leads to increased business productivity.
Employees that agree with the company culture and have opportunities for professional development, continuous learning and career progression are more likely to feel job satisfaction.
An employee that is satisfied in their workplace is more likely to remain in the business. Employee retention is beneficial for business success, as hiring and training new employees is both costly and time consuming.
How to create a learning and development strategy
1. Identify business priorities
It’s crucial to first know what is most important to the company. Identify what the business priorities are in terms of company goals and necessary staff skills.
HR leaders have to ensure all line managers within the company are on board. This will ensure they will encourage participation in the training within their departments. An L&D strategy will benefit all departments, rather than being focused on one key section.
It’s not always possible to complete all the training and upskilling at the same time. Prioritise the things that are identified as the most important first.
2. Complete a skills gap analysis
A skills gap analysis will give a clear idea of where training is needed in order to meet the needs of the business. It allows business leaders to identify internal gaps in skills and determine where training and development is needed.
Take a look at the company goals, and what is necessary in terms of employee skills in order to reach it. Now, take a look at what is missing between the goal for employee capabilities, and the actual skillset of the employees.
The skills gap analysis will help the L&D team produce a L&D framework to close the capability gaps.
3. Use a range of training methods
No two people learn in the same way. L&D activities using all of the same training methods will only be successful for a portion of the employees. There’s no point putting all the emphasis on training completion rates if half the employees don’t retain anything once they’ve finished the training.
That’s why it’s important to use a range of training methods, to increase employee engagement in learning and development.
Self-directed learning and virtual training for employees offer flexible and engaging training options for teams. There are many benefits of virtual training, especially for remote workers. Virtual training makes it simple to ensure all team members can complete the training from wherever they are working, and whenever suits them.
Formal training can also use other methods such as informational videos, in-person coaching, text or presentations. Offering a range of different training models will increase the chance of engaging the team members.
4. Allocate a budget for training
Professional development and training has to make financial sense for the business. Allocating resources to the L&D strategy is important, but it’s equally as important to make sure the training program is financially viable.
L&D leaders should work closely with the other managers within the company to ensure the budget for training fits with the business goals and overall financial strategy.
5. Track effectiveness
It’s important to track the success of the L&D strategy to make sure it’s serving the company.
A winning L&D strategy will ensure you’re reaching your desired ROI and not wasting company time and money. To determine the ROI, take the benefits of the training (the net profits brought in from the training) and minus the cost of the training. This will show if the learning and development program is financially making sense.
Gathering feedback from team members is another good way of tracking the effectiveness of an L&D program.
6. Be adaptable
An effective L&D strategy isn’t rigid, and can be adjusted when necessary. The L&D program needs to be able to adapt to the changing needs of the business as it grows and shifts.
Virtual classrooms for learning and development
The digital transformation of business and learning can be beneficial for your company. Here at MCI Solutions we utilise virtual classrooms to offer highly effective training solutions to suit your company L&D plan. Virtual training encourages a learning culture within a workplace while remaining flexible to fit in with the nuances of business.
No matter what your business objectives, it’s important to know how to create a learning and development strategy. MCI Solutions can help with courses, or even with instructional design – find out how.