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Why People Teams are Going All in on L&D, with Jihye Kim Bower, Getty Images

The key to organizational success depends on the growth and development of its most invaluable asset: its employees. 

Nurturing talent and fostering a learning culture isn’t just a choice–it’s an imperative for those who aim to thrive and endure in an increasingly competitive and dynamic marketplace. 

That’s why People leaders are going all in on L&D. 

According to LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report, 83 percent of organizations are determined to build a more people-centric culture. This stems from the realization that investing in employee growth and development significantly contributes to business success. So, how can HR and People teams strategically prioritize L&D?

Jihye Kim Bower, Manager, Culture and Development, Getty Images, shares strategies you can implement in your organization to fuel employee success.

Meeting employee needs and wants through L&D

Continuous learning and ongoing development are crucial factors in engaging and retaining employees across industries and generations. Strategic prioritization of L&D addresses employee needs and desires for training and skills enhancement.

“The culture of learning encourages a growth mindset for improvement, and that can manifest in seeking feedback or coaching or even being conscientious of how others perform to take the best parts of what others are for self-development and improvement,” Jihye says. “So at Getty Images, our culture is key and rooted in our leadership principles, our operating principles, and our flexible work principles.”

The significance of L&D is deeply ingrained in Getty’s culture. One of their standout operating principles is the value of the learning that results from trying. 

“My best advice for achieving those strategic plans and goals is to be nimble,” Jihye says. “I imagine that most of us set goals in Q3 or Q4 for the upcoming year, and as we work towards those goals, we’re likely to bump into some unknowns that we weren’t expecting. When that happens, we need to move with speed to meet that unknown and iterate on what we’re working on to make it make sense for the current reality.

“The value in achieving a goal is that it meets the needs of the business, and it’s OK if the goal has taken on a new shape while on its journey towards achievement.” 

Promoting leadership development

Leadership development is a cornerstone of Getty’s L&D efforts. By enhancing their programs, they equip new and emerging leaders and high-potential employees with the necessary skills to take on leadership roles. 

Jihye shares that these initiatives at Getty haven’t just helped team members move into leadership roles but have also helped to develop internal L&D champions.

“A top priority for us would be enhancing that leadership development strategy and investing in our learning influencers because we’ve seen that when it comes to investing in those learning influencers through emerging leadership programs, we see pathways for those folks to assume leadership roles where they can pour into building the learning culture that we’re talking about,” she says. “We’re currently in the fifth cohort of our high-potential employee program, and we’ve seen more than half of our participants promoted at least once and 16 percent of those folks promoted into senior leadership.

“That’s a whole new group of leaders who have moved onward and upward thanks to learning and development and can positively influence various parts of our business on fostering a growth mindset through continuous learning.”

This emphasis on development transforms leaders into learning influencers within the organization. These leaders experience the benefits of a learning culture and also serve as catalysts for fostering a culture of learning among their teams.

Content clarity: empowering employees with access and understanding

You can have the best learning content in the world, but to drive learner engagement and retention, employees must know what’s available, access it, and understand how it will benefit them. Jihye calls this content clarity and shares that it’s top of mind for the People team at Getty. 

“Another top priority is providing clarity and content and delivery, so ensuring that learners understand what learning opportunities are available, how they can access it, and what they will get out of it,” she says. “Something we’re working on with clarity and content and delivery is taking our very rich content and making it more digestible. That’s part of the ever-growing trend in providing bite-sized learning. That might be utilizing WorkRamp as the first source of self-guided learning and following it up with opportunities for pairing and sharing with other learners on that same learning path.” 

Creating these microlearning and social learning opportunities helps employees stay engaged with training content and promotes an organization-wide learning culture. 

Action items for L&D teams

The value of L&D for employee engagement, retention, and organizational success can’t be overstated. 

To help teams zoom in on top priorities and initiatives that will have the most significant impact, Jihye offers these key takeaways.

  1. Pay attention to the business needs, be nimble, and iterate on your goals
  2. Embrace learning tools, like the Learning Cloud from WorkRamp, to deliver knowledge-building content
  3. Invest in your learning influencers. They create that ripple effect that creates that learning culture

Looking for more expert insights from Jihye? Watch the on-demand replay of her session All in on L&D: Why People Leaders Are Betting on Learning


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