Rethinking the Employee Learning Experience
Wisetail | 4 min read
The employee learning experience encompasses every aspect of training, from onboarding to career development, and it’s a critical component of employee engagement and productivity. As work models evolve, learning and development must keep up with the times. Is your L&D strategy set up for all the work it needs to do in 2023?
Evaluating your current training program
Efficient and effective L&D leads to exceptional performance, but when outdated training programs are entrenched in a company’s standard operations, HR often lacks the metrics to accurately track training and measure its contribution to the bottom line. Establishing these key performance indicators (KPIs) is the first of many compelling reasons to regularly evaluate the efficacy of employee L&D.
Learning initiatives cost money, and hard data allows your L&D team to accurately budget for essential programs. Regular evaluations also allow companies to measure the impact of training on business initiatives and predict whether improvements to L&D delivery would bring learning objectives more in line with overall business goals.
Evaluating the efficacy of a training program involves a broad scope of assessment and should include a thorough review of the following contributing factors:
- Performance data. Internal training tools, such as a Learning Management System, generate volumes of training progress and performance data. While the sheer amount of data can feel overwhelming, it’s important to have a strategy to review and report on the L&D data that affects employee — and company — performance.
- The business impact of training. Can remote employees access training materials as needed? Can you determine whether skills presented in learning modules actively carry over into the job performance? Do specific modules lead to identifiable productivity changes when compared with others? The answers to these questions are necessary to evaluate the efficacy and efficiency of L&D programs — and identify where changes can improve outcomes.
- Development and performance outcomes. Continuous learning is critical to improving workplace performance. But with evolving workplace dynamics, including the increasing popularity of remote and hybrid work models, it’s nearly impossible to create a one-size-fits-all L&D strategy. To drive improvements in employee performance and productivity, individual and group needs must integrate with business outcomes across every learning module.
- Improvement targets. Every L&D review should include an assessment of program weaknesses and create opportunities for stakeholders to strategize on improvements.
Learning and the employee experience
The need to boost engagement has many business leaders approaching the employee experience holistically, which gives L&D an increasingly cross-functional role. In practice, this means applying skills-first hiring practices, offering continuous L&D, and keeping employees engaged in a learning culture.
A skills-first hiring philosophy emphasizes sourcing and screening candidates based on specific job skills instead of formal education or years of experience. A skills-first market makes professional development a high priority for candidates, which makes L&D an employee benefit hiring teams can use to attract talent. When new hires view professional development as a company benefit, they support a culture of learning.
Enhancing the learning experience
An exceptional employee learning experience creates a culture of continuous improvement, keeps employees engaged, and adds to the overall employee experience. The employee learning experience ultimately determines how much your employees will engage with available L&D opportunities. To improve L&D efficacy, it’s essential to review individual learning objectives in the context of business outcomes. Consider the following strategies:
- Tie learning to career outcomes. Research shows candidates and employees desire a clearly defined path to career growth. Without a strong understanding of how it will help them further their career, employees may be less willing to take advantage of learning opportunities. Learning programs should be clearly connected to each employee’s unique career path.
- Use leaders as learning advocates. People managers are an influential resource. Team members are more likely to pursue learning when they have the support of trusted managers or mentors who can help them visualize the next step in their career. Encourage managers and team leaders to build interest in continuous improvement via L&D.
- Remove barriers to learning. Traditional approaches to workplace learning are not always accessible enough to inspire high rates of adoption and usage. Complex eligibility rules or upfront payment requirements discourage employee engagement with learning programs — even for employees with genuine interest in L&D. Accessibility remains a top priority for L&D developers.
Even successful systems benefit from a regular review. Evaluate your L&D strategies with a focus on boosting employee engagement, increasing accessibility, and supporting both individual learning goals and broader business success.
Ready to taker a closer look at your L&D initiatives? Check out our reflective worksheet to guide you through a thoughtful exploration of your company’s L&D programs, help you establish benchmarks, identify the cracks in your strategy and do more with less. This worksheet also helps you prepare for Part II of our Reflections & Projections webinar series, Diving Deep into L&D Programs. Join Wisetail leader, Rebecca Blanksma, as she guides you through a facilitated reflection exercise to identify gaps in your L&D programs and plan for the upcoming year.