Investing in your people: why Learning & Development matters
Investing in your people isn’t just about providing snacks or trendy perks. It’s about investing in their skills, talent and knowledge – the bedrock of your organisation’s future. Engaged and skilled employees don’t just deliver better results, they infuse your culture with energy, innovation and positivity.
Despite its many benefits, from developing the next generation of leaders to maintaining important skillsets, learning is often the first thing cut from a busy schedule. It requires visible leadership support; with leaders encouraging their teams to carve time out for self-development or training. It’s also often necessary to recalibrate your people’s attitude towards learning.
We’ve highlighted our top 5 tips for rejuvenating your organisation’s L&D:
- Use a variety of channels and mediums to reach people
This helps make regular learning a habit, permeating the culture of your organisation. Slot digestible snippets of learning into team meetings or share short, snappy videos and podcasts. A variety of mobile-friendly formats make it easy for your people to access content on the move or in the throes of a deadline.
Blogs, videos and podcasts showcase the skills and knowledge of your people and can be done quickly and inexpensively. They offer an engaging platform to put experience and capabilities into context and can kick-start a community of learning by giving a voice to subject matter experts.
- Celebrate peer-to-peer learning and lessons from real life
In North Highland’s London office, we use Action Based Learning, a form of peer-to-peer learning, for individuals on our high performance programme. Its efficacy is based on using the experiences of others to help coach people through an issue and help them move forward or change their thinking. Individuals are part of a learning set, usually 4-6 people who meet regularly to work through specific, real-life problems. It’s a useful way of helping people learn different problem solving techniques and empowering them to draw on their peers for support whilst working in challenging situations.
- Break it up with bitesize sessions
Bitesize learning sessions, either in person or online, offer a refreshing opportunity to focus on one concept and apply it to a real world example. Keep the sessions focussed tightly on one topic with an active problem solving element, for example how to a build change roadmap. To drive engagement, start with the ‘why’ - people need to understand the value of the topic and how they can use it in their day-to-day life to really get on board. Think digital, when it comes to learning material, a simple infographic that’s mobile compatible can be a powerful bitesize learning tool.
Our Sparks Grove London team (a division of North Highland) host a weekly Speaker’s Corner where members of the team share their learnings and experiences on a soapbox. The sessions are brief, with speakers allotted ten minutes each, and focus on a variety of topics from most ferocious failures to user experience.
- Experiment and have fun!
Experiment and have fun with the content, as well as the style of delivery. Exploit themes for training programmes: fitness bootcamps aren’t just for the gym. To this end, we recently designed fitness bootcamps to up-skill a client team in project management skills. Previously, we designed a board-game to help a retail client get to grips with a new process for managing merchandise. The learning sessions were all based on the theme of ‘Come Fly With Us’ where learners adopted the role of an airline crew taking off for success. To really set these sessions apart we gamified the learning process with teams competing against each other to win a travel-themed prize.
- Create stories
To help make it stick, pack your learning with stories. Stories resonate with participants as they create empathy and bring your message to life, but their true value is in helping people to remember information easily. The longevity of many old wives' tales and urban myths prove this point. In a study, Professor Dan Heath found that only 5% of participants recalled statistics from a presentation whilst 63% of people remembered a story told during the very same session.
Play around with the narrative and language. Studies have also shown that whilst an overload of statistics and numbers cause slumber, rhyme is sublime. As well as fun, this handy trick makes it easier for people to absorb and recall information with greater accuracy.