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Optimal Learning Tips for High-Performing Teams

by Michael Murphy / December 12, 2023

While some books and movies can often only shine a light on individual achievements, collaboration has played an equally vital role behind the scenes of many great success stories. Think about powerhouses like General Motors, Microsoft, and Apple — high-performing teams were instrumental in shaping these success stories. Building cohesive, high-performing teams drives innovation in today’s shifting digital landscape. Investing in team development is now a strategic imperative, not just a beneficial move. Workplaces must nurture coordination, communication, and a shared purpose to thrive because at the core of adaptive strategies lies empowered and high-performing teams.

Learning and Development: A Key to a Great Workplace

Learning and development (L&D) programs have become a key factor for employees when evaluating a company’s work culture. L&D programs were once viewed as a background process – a necessary but not incredibly exciting part of an employee’s career progression. However, this perception has changed. Today, employees see L&D as a crucial part of their professional growth and personal fulfillment. They value organizations that invest in their learning and see it as a sign of a company’s commitment to its employees.

According to a recent study, 76% of employees are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training. The study also found that 75% of employees are satisfied with their company’s learning and development initiatives. It’s clear that today’s workforce expects ongoing skill-building and career development from their employer, but what makes these programs so important to employees? 

They Nurture Professional Evolution: Employees want a chance to continue developing new skills, expand their capabilities, and advance their careers over time through training and development programs. 

They Help Employees Keep Pace with Change: With fields and jobs constantly evolving, L&D helps employees ensure their skills stay up-to-date and relevant through continued learning.

They Breathe Life into Work: Learning new skills, technologies, or processes keeps things interesting and challenging for employees instead of dull. 

They Help Build Solid Bridges: Development programs allow employees to connect with others across the organization. Building relationships and learning from others helps create a more collaborative and stimulating work environment.

They Signal That You Value People: L&D is seen by employees as an employer investing in the growth and value of its people. It signals that they care about employees’ success and value their contributions.

They Foster Progress: Ongoing learning fosters a motivating culture focused on improvement and progress through acquiring new competencies over time. Employees find this culture of achievement rewarding.

Learning and career development are linked closely to an engaging, supportive, and inspiring work culture that allows people to thrive. Employees recognize this and see L&D as instrumental. As a leader, you have a prime opportunity to elevate employee performance, retention, and engagement through strategic training initiatives. But where do you start in building an impactful learning and development strategy?

Things to Consider When Building a Learning & Development Strategy

True growth comes through collaboration – we must approach this process with care and wisdom. There are no shortcuts. Progress starts with getting to know all individuals in your workplace and the unique perspectives they bring. Listen carefully to uncover skills gaps and areas where employees feel unseen or untapped potential. Then collaborate to shape training initiatives that nurture employee potential through guidance and support.

Ask as many questions as you can think of. What skills are shaky? What skills are more secure? How do employees prefer to learn — podcasts, workshops, coaching? Where do they hope to grow in the next year? What about the next five years? Listen without judging, embracing openness as a gift.

Consider a few key elements that can significantly impact your L&D strategy’s effectiveness and the overall growth of your employees:

Tailoring Learning to the Task

It’s important to ensure that the learning materials are relevant to the employees’ roles and responsibilities. This helps create a bridge between learning and application. This approach will enhance the usefulness of the learning experience and empower employees to put their newfound knowledge into action. 

Some examples of learning strategies that can be tailored to the task include:

  • Workday learning: Manager-led coaching and mentorship programs
  • Hands-on training: Simulations and exercises modeling real-world tasks
  • Social learning: Peer knowledge sharing through online portals and forums
  • Micro-learning: Short (5-10 minute) online lessons focused on specific skills and are available on-demand

The most impactful learning strategies meet employees where they are. Training content should continuously adapt as workers take on new projects and evolve in their roles.

Consistent Encouragement

The journey of learning grows with consistent motivation. Regularly engaging your employees with the L&D programs through reminders, incentives, or constructive feedback can foster a culture of continuous learning. Strategic “nudging” can urge employees to set aside time for continuous education. For example, scheduling short micro-learning courses right in an employee’s calendar makes training convenient. Managers can have regular check-ins where they suggest specific learning activities based on recent performance trends and upcoming projects.

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The Importance of Reflection

Learning does not end when the lesson does. Some of the most deep learning moments happen when we take time to reflect. By setting aside time for employees to reflect on what they’ve learned, you allow them to take in the knowledge, draw personal insights, and understand how to apply it in the best ways. 

Reflection takes learning from a passive intake of information to an active process of personal growth. Platforms like isolved People Cloud make reflection around learning simple. Employees can highlight key learnings right within the LMS portal. Employees should be encouraged to periodically revisit training content to cement what they learned.

Embracing Micro-Learning

In such a fast-paced world, learning needs to adapt to keep up. Micro-learning breaks down complex concepts into bite-sized, manageable pieces; and it has turned into an effective approach. It respects the employee’s time, caters to shorter attention spans, and allows for flexibility in learning. 

A micro-learning approach provides several advantages for time-crunched employees:

  • Accessible on any device whenever a free moment comes up
  • Effortlessly squeezed into busy schedules (commutes, breaks, etc.)
  • Includes built-in assessment components like knowledge checks
  • Covers targeted skills in a short period

This approach makes the learning process less overwhelming, more engaging, and highly effective. 

Charting the Learning Journey

You can’t manage what you don’t measure, right? Without tracking key training metrics, you won’t know if your L&D strategy is working. Regular assessment and measurement of your employees’ progress provide useful insights into their learning curve and shed light on how effective your L&D strategies are.

Remember, the goal of an L&D strategy is to do more than share knowledge. The goal is to make sure that this knowledge is retained and applied in the employees’ day-to-day work. This approach is known as “learning in the flow of work”, and it can help achieve considerable positive outcomes for your employees and the workplace. 

What Should You Look For in a Learning and Development Program?

When evaluating a learning and development program, when you see it as a journey and not a destination, you will be able to piece together a solid program that cultivates continuous skill-building. Here are a few aspects to consider:

Personalized Learning Courses: Every learner is unique, with their own set of skills, knowledge, and learning styles. The program should offer personalized learning courses that cater to individual needs and preferences.

Collaborative Learning: Learning is often more effective when it’s collaborative. Opportunities for group work, discussions, and peer feedback can lead to deeper understanding and improved problem-solving skills.

Real-World Applications: Theoretical knowledge is important, but the real value lies in its application. Look for programs that emphasize real-world applications and provide opportunities for experiential learning.

Innovation and Creativity: The program should not only impart knowledge but also foster creativity and innovation. This could be through project-based learning or creative assignments.

Mentorship and Guidance: Having access to mentors or coaches who can provide guidance, share their experiences, and offer feedback can significantly enhance the learning experience.

Lifelong Learning: In an environment where things can change in the blink of an eye, continuous learning is much needed. The program should instill a culture of lifelong learning, encouraging learners to continuously update their skills and knowledge.

Emotional and Social Learning: Learning is not just about acquiring knowledge or skills. It’s also about personal growth and social interaction. The program should support emotional and social learning, helping learners to develop empathy, resilience, and social skills.

Career Advancement: The program should support career goals. This could be through offering industry-recognized certifications, providing networking opportunities, or offering career counseling and job placement services.

Embrace Value Enhancement With isolved For Employee and Company Growth

Fostering a culture of advancement starts by nurturing continuous learning and producing high-performing teams. isolved, an award-winning HCM platform, serves as a driving force for empowering and unifying your workplace’s strengths. This platform empowers your workplace to:

  • Customize micro-learning pathways to elevate individual competencies
  • Use surveys to help showcase accomplishments and foster an encouraging environment. 
  • Enhance operational efficiency by leveraging existing strengths and refining areas that need enhancement
  • Detail progress to demonstrate returns for the employees and organizational mission

Remember, the most effective learning and development programs are those that offer a full learning experience, understanding the different needs and preferences of employees. They should not only equip your employees with the necessary skills and knowledge but also inspire them to continue learning and growing throughout their lives.

Platinum Group is proud to offer isolved People Cloud, an award-winning, all-in-one HCM system. Explore the features of isolved yourself and find out how it can become the cornerstone in fostering the culture of continuous growth and empowerment you have been looking for.

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Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy

Michael is the founder of Platinum Group. His passion is in helping businesses to simplify their employee management and accounting processes.