It’s officially the dawn of a new decade and I don’t have to tell you that the future of work is evolving at a rapid pace. No matter the vertical or sector, the changes we’re witnessing now once took years, even decades to happen.
What does this mean for you and your company? The battle for top global talent is in full swing. Competition is heating up in companies around the world, including those that have distributed personnel and those that are remote-first. In the latter two, in fact, remote leaders are placing an emphasis on learning and development (L&D). They’re not only viewing this as a perk for potential hires; it’s a valuable and highly strategic investment in their business.
But if you haven’t already started planning for the year (or decade) ahead, don’t panic—however, it is time to get a move on. Here’s how to assemble a blueprint that works for your company.
There are three basic components to any winning L&D strategy that aligns internal training with your business needs and goals:
Define your L&D goals, and more importantly, why these are the specific goals you’ve selected. As in, why should your teammates and the organization at large care about these priorities?
Rationale: The more clearly these are articulated and tied to overarching goals, the more relevant they’ll be to folks across your organization. This engenders greater buy-in from everyone involved, making it more likely you’ll actually achieve the desired objectives.
Which learning experiences and what tools will you use to meet your goals? There is a dizzying variety of options here; the challenge lies in identifying what mediums will suit both your workforce and the type of content being shared. These could include courses, workshops, internal activities like skillshares, Learning Management Systems, etc.
Rationale: The mix of resources you select could serve to either hamper or propel your L&D efforts. Choose wisely!
How will your team, either collectively or individually, use the aforementioned resources to meet your training objectives? This is where the rubber meets the road. You’ll need to have concrete details such as a timeline in place, among other logistical pieces, in order to launch an initiative and build sustained momentum around it.
Rationale: Well, any of us who’ve ever set out to actually do anything know that having a tactical plan in place is the fastest and surest way to do it!
Good to know, right? But just how do you get from point A to point Z above? Simply check out the following steps. (And note the deliberate color-coding, above, which tie into the items below. Like a traffic light, red means you can’t move forward without this; yellow indicates that you can proceed, with thoughtful effort; and green is your invitation to go.)
- Assess what you’ve done in 2018. Reflect upon who participated in training or served in an L&D capacity during the year. What were the objectives of your initiatives? Did you meet them? (If not, ask yourself why.) This situational analysis will prove invaluable as you move onto the next step…
- Involve management and teammates in identifying broader organizational needs. For example, you might hold a series of L&D planning meetings where you gather input and diverse perspectives. Or you could incorporate this step into existing meetings.
- Collaborate with leadership to determine the resources at your disposal that will enable you to meet those needs. These could include a budget line item or discretionary funding for digital material or training personnel, for example, as well as allotting staff time during less hectic parts of the year.
- Source the kinds of learning experiences and tools that will help you to achieve those goals, given the resources you have available. (This is the step in which costs are evaluated.)
- Create a comprehensive plan for initiating, tracking, completing and evaluating your L&D initiative, whether it’s taking place within a single team or across your organization. Be sure to include topics, timelines, and yes, talent—that of external consultants or your internal team.
- Secure approval from the powers that be, and beyond that, focus on obtaining buy-in on your plan from managers and staff. An initiative that lacks internal support (and dare I say it, enthusiasm) is typically short-lived and ineffective.
- Communicate all aspects of the plan clearly and concisely, and follow through with your action items. If there are challenges or obstacles outside of your control that impede progress, share them. Similarly, don’t neglect to celebrate small wins. Greater transparency along the way will help to keep your team engaged.
Reader bonus: download the Workplaceless L&D Planning Guide, which you can share with your colleagues, bosses, and network…even your biggest competitor! (OK, maybe not them.)
If you’re looking for help on where to even get started for your company, one of our learning consultants would be happy to connect live.