Key steps to creating an effective Learning and Development plan | theHRD – The HR Director Magazine

Posted: October 6, 2020 at 9:53 pm


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It is a truism that people are the heart of any business and vital for its success. Given this it is essential to have a learning and development plan for your teams and to review your processes on a regular basis. This will ensure that you have, and continue to have a motivated and well-trained workforce, focussed on achieving your organisations strategic goals.

Empowering your people to achieve their full potential and engaging them in the plan can have a hugely positive impact on both the business and your staff. It can also help you attract, recruit, and develop the skilled workers you need by enabling you to:

A Learning and Development plan should be designed to inspire,develop,and ultimately help your peoplegrow in competence and confidence. Businesses and teams with the best players thrive and outperform the competition.

There are six steps to developing a coherent, practical and effective Learning and Development plan:

Step 1: Create clear career pathways

To create clear career pathways, you will first need to identify the role profiles that exist within your business. You will need to determine the purpose of the role, the hierarchy of authority, reporting lines and career progression routes.

For example, the purpose of a sales team is to generate sales, grow the business and retain existing customer relationships and within the sales teams there will be different job roles:

Career pathways should also show how to achieve progression and promotion. For example, how do you move from Sales Representative to Sales Manager? The written pathway should include what skills are needed and how you obtain them through upskilling and undertaking additional roles and responsibilities under supervision and mentorship.

Step 2: Define Roles and Responsibilities

Defining clear roles and responsibilities provides your business with the vital advantages necessary for continual growth. If people are clear about what they need to do, it makes it easier for them to do it, this enables increased internal control, improved process management and enhances operational performance.

To develop an effective Learning and Development plan, you should evaluate your existing roles and responsibilities defined in your job descriptions to ensure that they are reflective of what you need people to do. If not, the knowledge and behaviours criteria you set will not deliver the skills required to fulfil the role. The most efficient and effective way of achieving this is to set up a small working group with key operational people at different levels and across a variety of job roles.

Step 3: Define the Knowledge & Behavioursrequired

It is important that the new job descriptionsclearly definethe knowledge requirement to successfully undertake the role. When defining the knowledge levels required for each role, remember that knowledge can be gained through experience or education. Not everyone is required to be experts in everything, but base line awareness is often desirable.

Whilst knowledge is vital, you must also identify the attitude and behaviours that will fit within your organisational culture and are aligned to your Vision, Mission and Values. Because how you do something is more likely to deliver good customer service that just what you do.

Asking your staff to be part of this process will ensure that all angles are covered. Together with a training gap analysis you will be able to highlight specific skill gaps within your business. From there, you can prioritise your employees training needs. When discussing this with your team, you should consider a variety of core skills including:

Values & Behaviours Values are just behaviours you want people to live by, giving them direction on how to achieve your mission. They should be specific and descriptive in the way you want people to act or treat people

Health, Safety& Environment Businesses have a moral and legal obligation to manage this well, and people need to be aware of how you are protecting them and their environment and what they should do to help

Quality The standard of the products or services you deliver has a direct link to your customer service and brand loyalty, people should know the effects of poor quality and be given the skills to deliver your standards

Performance & Time Management Efficiency and punctuality are critical to a successful business and people should know how to prioritise and make the most of their time

Commercial Focus Everyone in a business can affect your profitability, from general awareness of business costs and the use of company resources, to cost saving and revenue generation

Leadership & Management Line managers or supervisors have a massive influence on the team dynamics and performance. It is important to understanding how to motivate and manage you staff, this is often overlooked when people are promoted from time served

Strategic Thinking This is aimed at the senior management in your team, and focussed on performance reviews and planning for success. This type of thinking will help you achieve your Vision.

Step 4: Choose the right Training

Having identified the knowledge and behaviours required to fulfil each role, you can now look to select the appropriate training.

Training is the act of teaching people the required skills or behaviours, and can be delivered in a variety of ways including:

A good Learning and Development plan gives people the opportunity to complete different types of training, not simply to assist in the competency of their role, but to inspire them to achieve their career goals, to broaden their knowledge and to widen their skills base.

To select the right training, you will need use the job descriptions to identify the learning outcomes needed to fulfil the role. Finding a course that meets these needs, in the delivery method that best suits your business, can often be difficult and can require thinking outside the box.

Remember a recognised training course or a theoretical qualification may not deliver the competence levels you are looking for and often blended learning delivers the best results. Where you have a training need for a member of staff and you cannot find the course approach your training provider and ask them if they can work with your business to design, deliver and complete a bespoke training.

Step 5: Build on Skills & Experience

Just because people attend a training course does not mean that they are competent in those skills. Skills are defined as the ability to do something well, and this is developed over time.

You should encourage your teams to put their knowledge into practice in order to develop their skills, whilst being observed, supported and mentored by their line manager.

Within the job profiles, you should determine the skills and experience levels required for each role.

Step 6: Monitoring the Learning & Development Journey

Whilst it is important to track statistical performance against the learning and development plan, knowing that 95% of your people have completed a required course, is not the only measure you should be focussed on.

Everyones learning and development journey will be different, and it is important that you remain flexible and inclusive in your plans. You need to have a system for understanding their journey and monitoring their development. APersonal Development Review(PDR)can provide a framework for employees to have open and regular conversations with theirline managerabout their performance, including reviewing their competency, personal development and career goal:

A PDR should include:

Competency Review

The employees level of competency will be determined within set criteria in line with their roles and responsibilities and the companys competency framework.

Development Review

During your development review the employee and line manager will discuss the employees development needs for the year ahead and how the line manager is able to support the employees development. For example, what training courses will the employee require to better their knowledge and experience within their role.

Career Goals

The employee and line manager will discuss the employees career goals and future aspirations. The line manager will encourage the employee to outline their short term and long-term goals and establish actions required to achieve them.

By creating, maintaining and monitoring a structured Learning and Development plan HR can identify the training needed to drive your organisation forward. By following and monitoring the plan and its outcomes you can ensure your staff are getting what they need, and you have the best possible team to facilitate ongoing growth.

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Key steps to creating an effective Learning and Development plan | theHRD - The HR Director Magazine

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October 6th, 2020 at 9:53 pm