The Indispensable Power of Personalized L&D
July 10, 2023
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In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, pursuing organizational success has become an ongoing battle. As organizations undergo rapid transformations, companies that cling to outdated practices risk being left in the dust.
The key to surviving and thriving lies within the hearts and minds of employees, and the means to unlock their full potential is an unwavering commitment to Learning and Development (L&D).
According to LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report, agility is the ability to survive and thrive amid economic headwinds. And to build a resilient and adaptable future, learning leaders are recognizing the need for new, people-centric playbooks.
A one-size-fits-all approach to L&D is a strategy destined for mediocrity. To harness the true power of L&D, a personalized strategy tailored to the individual needs of each employee is essential.
By embracing personalization, organizations foster an environment where employees are empowered to unleash their full potential. Personalized L&D recognizes that each employee possesses distinct strengths, opportunities, and ambitions and tailors learning experiences to capitalize on individual attributes.
Whether through custom-tailored courses, mentorship programs, or skill-specific workshops, personalized L&D amplifies employee engagement, deepens knowledge retention, and fuels a hunger for continuous growth.
Read on to discover real ways to personalize your L&D strategy and empower your team members to reach their maximum potential.
What does personalization mean in L&D?
A personalized L&D strategy means that the learning path meets the professional and career development needs of each individual.
While there may be shared, standard foundational training across teams, there should also be an element that meets the employee where they are and offers what they, as an individual, wants or needs to learn.
Personalized L&D results in increased engagement in training, improved skill sets, and maximized employee performance by focusing on specific strengths and opportunities.
Although the market has shifted since the “Great Reshuffle,” we are still in an employment market where retention of critical talent is imperative. The personalized approach to L&D will lead to a successful organization with engaged employees continuing to evolve their skills.
One-size-fits-all training content won’t engage users with different learning styles, interests, or career aspirations. Instead, we must determine employees’ learning needs and how best to support these in our L&D strategy.
Read more: 7 Things Employees Want From Employers
Personalizing learning content for employees
Identifying personalized learning starts with a thoughtful approach to career and professional development. This must be a partnership between the employee, their manager, and the organization.
The employee drives the process, while their managers provide guidance, experiential opportunities, resources like training materials, coaching and mentorship, job shadowing, and more.
Meanwhile, the organization sets the foundation, resources, and framework for successful career development.
Here’s how this might play out in the learning process.
First, employees and managers identify an area of opportunity. From there, they decide how best to work on that opportunity, ideally following the 70/20/10 model, which suggests individuals learn 70 percent of their knowledge and skills from challenging experiences and assignments, 20 percent from developmental relationships, and 10 percent from coursework or training.
This is where our partners in HR and L&D are critical, as they have a broad perspective on the business and creative ideas about opportunities. Leaders and/or employees can work with them to identify experiential opportunities, and courses/workshops, especially if they’re not readily available in the L&D library.
I have leaned on prebuilt content to do this at WorkRamp. With a lean team, it would be impossible to meet each individual’s specific training needs. When an employee or leader presents a need we don’t have an existing guide for, I simply search WorkRamp’s off-the-shelf content to identify the training that best meets the criteria and import and assign it to the learner.
It’s important that the leader, HR business partner, or L&D follow up to help the employee determine how they will apply their new learnings and integrate them into their work.
Success hinges on the manager-employee relationship
The L&D industry is always buzzing about the latest tools, like AI, or the latest trends and strategies. To obtain the maximum impact from technology and tools, we must first foster the right relationships.
The first and most important component of personalization is the relationship between the employee and their leader. The leader is there to help guide the personalization while the employee drives the process.
Read more: 6 Ways to Support Employee Career Growth
There’s no magic solution that will formulate a perfect personalized program. Rather, the personalization process evolves based on where the employee’s skills/competencies are at a particular time.
Learning platforms like the WorkRamp Learning Cloud are necessary to create learning paths, track progress, and allow personalization for each learner.
Learning should be an ongoing process
Even if you do everything you can to personalize your L&D content, it’s still critical to check in with team members and ensure employees are interested and engaged.
First and foremost, you must address the question, “What’s in it for me?” L&D initiatives need consistent marketing and must answer that question for each employee.
L&D programs ask for a valuable investment—time. In order to have the motivation to invest their time, employees must understand the ROI of training. Clearly outlining the skills and competencies they will gain and how the program will enhance their role or performance is key to the long-term success of any initiative.
Creating L&D champions is also essential. Employees must see peers and leaders participating in learning and demonstrate proof that the programs are working.
Champions and managers must lead by example. Even experienced leaders can benefit from continuous learning, so it’s critical that they participate in programs and communicate the value to team members.
Fostering L&D at every level throughout your organization helps to create a culture of learning and continuous improvement.
Read more: How to Empower L&D Champions
Workplace learning needs to be bite-sized and interactive
With never-ending to-do lists and constantly decreasing attention spans, team members don’t have the time or interest to sit through multiple hours of training. It’s critical for teams to leverage the power of microlearning.
The average human attention span is only 8.25 seconds, so whether it’s an Instagram Reel, TikTok, or article, information must be consolidated into the most critical components.
Workplace learning should be no different. Perhaps it’s a quick guide or video or a section of a team meeting to discuss or teach a topic in under 10 minutes—there are many ways we can replicate this trend.
One way we’re doing this at WorkRamp is by presenting a topic in leadership meetings for 5 to 10 minutes and then moving into breakouts for about 15 minutes. After that, we come back together and debrief on best practices. It moves quickly, maintains interest, and ensures leaders walk away with applicable knowledge they can put in place immediately. As an added bonus, it helps foster deeper connections across the leadership team.
With so many hybrid and remote teams, it’s also essential to create or modify training programs to cater to these new working styles. When we first moved to remote work a few years ago, many L&D professionals tried to host our in-person programs virtually, with little changes for the remote environment.
This led to participants multi-tasking, mentally checking out, and not learning or retaining the information as much as we would have liked.
It’s challenging to sit in front of a computer for hours, so we must ensure we’re leveraging technology and remote learning in a way that’s brief, exciting, and leads to quantifiable outcomes.
Scaling L&D to up-level your workforce
Learning is the ultimate competitive advantage, so it’s critical to foster continuous learning and improvement regardless of industry or company size.
Think about the skills that are needed not only for success now but also in the future.
For example, as an organization grows, the ability to influence others to get things done without the power of authority becomes more important. Training that skill before it’s critically needed sets you up for success more quickly.
Prioritization is key for smaller People teams. Decide what’s important to move the organization forward and spend resources on those areas rather than trying to boil the ocean.
Empower your team through personalized L&D
When organizations invest in the professional and personal development of their workforce, they reap the rewards of a skilled, high-performing team that can outlast challenges and economic headwinds and maintain a competitive edge in any market or industry.
Create personalized L&D resources with the Learning Cloud
Effective employee development through L&D leads to increased engagement and better business outcomes. With the Learning Cloud from WorkRamp, you can create customized training programs to develop high-performing employees.
Learn more about how the Learning Cloud can help you create effective L&D content to empower your employees to perform their best. Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo.
Complete the form for a custom demo.
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