For any business to thrive, they must have a focus on learning and development. This helps ensure that new employees gain access to the information they need to do their jobs successfully. It also takes into account changes in the industry as well as economic and technological changes that affect every business. More seasoned employees should also be considered so that they don’t fall into ruts or start to fall behind the curve as newer, more trained employees join the team.
Many business owners get so caught up in day-to-day business that they forget the importance of team development. Do you need to implement an effective strategy to keep your team up to speed? Or is it time that you revamped your outdated plan to something more in touch with the times? If so, here are five steps that can help you out.
5 Steps to Build the Best Learning and Development Plan
Learning and development (L&D) is a hugely important part of talent management. The first step to building any type of L&D strategy is taking a look at where you are currently. This is the only way to figure out what needs to be done before you can move forward to reach predetermined goals. These five steps start with analysis, then move through identification, organization, and finally implementation.
Step One: Identify the Gaps
Performing a broad overview of your team will help you identify where there may be skill gaps that are keeping you from reaching your goals. You can do this through performance appraisals and one-on-one interviews. Consider using the SMART goal assessment when identifying which goals you want your team to achieve and what they need to achieve them. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. This will help you line up specific goals for each employee and give them the tools they need to get there.
Step Two: Analyze Employee History
If you’re using a comprehensive employee records retention system, you can easily see what training programs your team members have already been through and where they may be lacking. This is important to make sure that some members are not over-trained while others are ignored.
This also helps you to pinpoint team members who have been thoroughly trained on a certain task but are not yet attaining results or reaching goals. These red flags can then help you change their training program to something they respond better to. They may also be a sign that the employee would be more successful in a different position.
Step Three: Tap Those with Potential
Though your entire team should be properly trained, it sometimes makes sense to put a little more emphasis on the bright spots in your organization. When you utilize a performance tracking system, you can identify which employees are consistently excelling. This helps you focus more resources on their development to see if you can encourage them to reach even higher.
Identifying some superstars in your organization helps set the bar for the rest of your team members. It also ensures that these high achievers do not get bored and look for a bigger challenge elsewhere. Doing a SMART goal analysis with them will keep them motivated and ready for the next level.
Step Four: Organize into Teams
The same development tools probably won’t have the same effects on every member of your team. You need to organize employees into groups based on what type of training they should receive. This could be done by department, by the length of time they’ve worked for the company, by personality type, or by their preference for different learning styles. Not only will this make your program more successful, but it will also encourage you to learn more about your employees and what motivates them.
Step Five: Procure the Right Training for Each Team
Now that you’ve identified who needs training and how they will be organized, it’s time to find the right tools. Sometimes, the training can be done in-house with no outside help necessary. This is sometimes the case if your training is based on software that you are already highly familiar with on team processes and protocol.
If you are planning sales development, conflict resolution management, or other broader concepts, it makes sense to bring in an outside training protocol. With many companies focused on applications that are based on speed, agility, and flexibility, training modules are widely available online. You don’t need to bring in a boring speaker who will take up an entire day of your team’s time. You can simply give them a link and a deadline and go from there.
A successful team is one that is constantly focused on learning and development. To build a winning strategy, it’s important to focus on analysis, organization, and implementation. Use the five steps above to help you build the right strategy that will help your team thrive.