How to ensure your learning strategy is people-focused – 4 key considerations
A people-focused learning strategy is an approach to learning and development that places individuals at the heart of the learning experience and ensures that the plans are tailored to the specific needs of the learner.
Embracing this strategy also cultivates a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. Let’s look at how this can be achieved with the help of four key pillars.
1. The human impact
Getting to know your learner is vital; tapping into their motivations and learning about what they care about. When someone really cares about something, they will approach it with energy, enthusiasm, focus and curiosity. If you can harness that energy, that is where the power lies; not in the system you use, but in the human who uses it.
However, instead we often end up stifling our people with technology that feels clunky and multiple systems that don’t all operate together, putting them off completely and creating more stress instead of removing it. Often in this case, the process of using the tech feels cold and impersonal.
Think about your first day at a new job in a physical workplace for example. You’ll likely have your screens set up to your own preferences as it’s personal to you and your specific wants and needs. We need to consider how we can personalise our virtual workspaces too - with what you need day-to-day, and how it can be delivered the way you want it.
With humanising our learning technology, we also need to consider how our learning is delivered – whether that’s through mobile, bite-sized content or video for example. The breadth and standard of learning content that an employer provides reflects the value placed on employees. If you make your training meaningful and specific to your organisation and learners, people will engage with it more and are likely to remember it.
2. Building a community
Whilst the remote working landscape has created more flexibility for many of us, it’s also raised challenges for employers around disengagement, isolation and loneliness of employees. People don’t leave organisations where they feel a sense of community, so the more we can foster communities and create social virtual environments for our people, the more involved they become. The technology we use and invest in needs to facilitate this; to allow us to create connections, have conversations and harness the energy of those communities.
We know that people learn better from people. If we empower our people to become content creators and share their knowledge, then we harness the power of the talent we already have.
If we can create content together, we can also celebrate success together - recognising and rewarding each other, amplifying what we’re doing and creating a ripple effect that filters out, circulating knowledge and facilitating growth in a more human way.
3. Upskilling and growth
Once we’ve created the security, self-esteem and belonging for our learners, we can support our employees to grow. This is often where organisations can fall down. Growth tends to be manager-led and actually we need to find a way to empower our employees to lead their own development.
To do this we need frameworks for employees to be involved in creating their own goals and objectives, with the ability to drive feedback from individuals, their managers and teams, and measure and shape their own performance.
The Oxford Learning College ‘Skills Gap Statistics UK 2023’ estimated 20% of the workforce will be significantly under skilled for their jobs by 2030, showing the importance of utilising skills assessments. This will help identify skills gaps and develop collaborative pathways for employees to support their development with a blended approach to learning.
From connecting people with coaching and mentoring, internally or externally, and identifying internal talent that can support and mentor new employees, helping you to develop your future talent pool and unlocking opportunities for internal mobility and succession planning.
By implementing a continuous cycle of growth, employees are less likely to leave, they’ll be more engaged and we’ll begin to close the skills gaps.
4. The power of data
How could we possibly know which direction our learning needs to take in this constantly changing environment without relevant data? Data allows us to test, iterate and improve. In our reimagined workspace, we need as much information about our workforce as possible and in a holistic and integrated way.
This benefits our people too. Employees want more of what they care about, so the more you can understand your employees, the more personalised you can make their learning experience.
Data serves as a compass, guiding learning professionals by shedding light on the knowledge gaps, skill deficiencies, and emerging trends within the workforce. By analysing data, learning and development professionals can identify areas where improvement is needed, which skills are in high demand, and what learning interventions are most effective.
Analytics dashboards provide a comprehensive and integrated view of the workforce, enabling learning and development professionals to personalise the learning experience, measure engagement, and assess the impact of their initiatives. Leveraging data can ensure that learning interventions are effective, efficient, and meet the evolving needs of both the organisation and its employees.
By utilising these tools, your organisation can put people at the heart of your learning strategies and witness the transformative impact it can have on everyone. Organisations can enhance the relevance and effectiveness of their learning initiatives while fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.
The Access Group offering includes Managed, Personalised and Self-Directed Learning which encompasses a dedicated LMS, CPD-accredited eLearning courses, career development software and blended learning through audio learning, eBooks and online courses.
Head of Learning Content, The Access Group