How to build a learning program for your employees that drives business growth
February 17, 2022
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At Nord Security, we build advanced cybersecurity solutions running on cutting-edge technologies and innovations. Therefore, we have to constantly evolve and learn new things. Hence, at our organization, we have a Learning and Development team, led by Inga Balžekaitė-Šaulienė, to help us grow professionally and adapt to a continuously changing environment. Learn how we built a successful learning system in our company.
Why having a learning strategy can help your business grow
The truth is that improving your knowledge is crucial for nearly every area of business growth:
It increases the company’s bottom line – companies practicing a growth mindset are three times more profitable than those that don't.
It boosts employee performance. Studies show that a 10% increase in educational development produced an 8.6% gain in productivity.
It positively responds to talent retention and attraction. As reported in a LinkedIn study, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in helping them learn. What's more important is is that both millennials and Gen Zers identify learning and development as one of the most important motivators when seeking a job.
Community of explorers
Most of the people working at Nord Security are millennials - the generation that, according to research data, is prone to being curious and possess a desire to learn. This trait is also reflected in our Learning and Development team report showing that more than 1000 participants spent over 8282 hours on their professional growth in 2021.
"At Nord Security, we are creating a learning culture where each employee is the creator of his learning and development path. We believe that the employee is the one who knows best what is needed in his role today and what will be needed in the future. So he can create a development plan that not only strengthens his skills but also provides the company with additional knowledge that will help solve future challenges. The role of the manager is also crucial here. He's the one to support, encourage the employee, advise, share experience, and show the wide range of learning opportunities available in the company," - says I. Šaulienė, Learning and Development Partner at Nord Security.
At Nord Security, we nurture a learning culture that creates formal and informal professional development opportunities. Therefore professional growth here is based on the 70-20-10 rule.
Our team enjoys a variety of professional growth opportunities from internal training, workshops, mentorship programs, external courses, online learning, library, to knowledge-sharing events, and more.
In our internal training offer, we currently have 18 sessions dedicated to hard and soft skills development. According to I. Šaulienė, the most popular soft skills training programs include the DiSC workshop, time management and productivity, negotiation, feedback, and communication courses. While hard skills training sessions vary widely depending on the role.
How to build an effective learning system
Here are the steps provided by our Learning and Development Partner I. Šaulienė to establish an effective learning strategy within your organization.
Listen to the needs of the teams and individuals
Knowing learning and development trends and following news in the industry is important, but keep in mind that what works in other organizations not necessarily will fit in yours. The crucial part of creating an effective learning strategy is listening to the needs and preferences of your employees. They know best the challenges they face at work, which makes it easy for them to identify areas where they want to improve to get better results.
Create learning, not training culture
Change the question from which training or conferences you want to attend to what skills you need to gain and what knowledge you lack to succeed in your current or future role. Most of the learning happens not in the training sessions but during daily tasks, knowledge-sharing, feedback from colleagues, mentorship from more experienced teammates, or simply just reading a blog. The leader's role here is important to help employees identify those learning opportunities, reflect on them, and plan their development in a more broad sense than just adding training sessions they want to attend.
Use your internal experts and the power of community learning
Internal training sessions are always more effective than external ones as the experts you have inside know your culture, can work with your internal data preparing for the sessions, and also continue to support the training participants after the sessions. If your employees enjoy learning from each other, add such possibilities to your learning toolkit. It can be anything from knowledge-sharing events or mentorship programs to discussions during various training sessions where employees help each other solve the different challenges.
Create easily accessible learning opportunities, also communicate about them widely and constantly
Everybody has so many things on their plates right now, so looking for learning opportunities shouldn't be one more challenge. Therefore, ensure that the learning opportunities you offer are easily accessible online and onsite.
"If your employee prefers learning alone and at his own pace, that's great! Provide him access to the online training so he can listen to it while he's commuting home or shopping. And if your employee finds learning through live meetings more convenient, encourage him to attend group training sessions or have an informal discussion with the mentor walking down the river," - explains I. Šaulienė.
She also adds that while everybody has different learning needs, time availability, and learning style preferences, organizations must offer everything possible to meet the development needs of their employees. Moreover, companies should constantly communicate about it to make employees aware of all the learning opportunities in the company. And if they have any questions or worries about learning opportunities in the company, they should know that they can always contact the Learning and Development team to help them find out the most suitable learning option or just simply give advice.
Evaluate and improve
After each learning and development activity, evaluate its effectiveness and usefulness by collecting feedback from participants and monitoring whether the training met their expectations and has improved the employee's, team's, or department's performance. Adjust learning and development plans based on your findings.