Colleagues sitting around a table talking and looking at tablets

Most Talent Development (TD) professionals recognize that the bulk of their employees’ learning (90% in fact) will happen outside of formal training programs. While that does not mean conventional Learning & Development (L&D) initiatives should be abandoned, it does suggest that TD experts may need to evaluate their traditional strategies and find new ways to influence development across the organization.

To strengthen employee development, I invite you to consider six areas of focus to hone your approach:

  1. Integrate on-the-job learning into talent management processes.
  2. Train managers to identify stretch assignments.
  3. Coach all staff to give effective feedback.
  4. Identify bright spots within your organization.
  5. Utilize follow-on tools for each traditional teaching method you use.
  6. Celebrate discovery in action.

#1 – Integrate on-the-job learning into talent management processes.

You likely have several systems and programs already in place that you can use to reinforce knowledge building. Take some time to consider the employee experience and assess the formal HR or L&D mechanisms you have to identify opportunities to plug in resources, tips or practices that support ongoing growth.

Some avenues you may consider include onboarding programs, performance management as well as career pathing. For example, your onboarding program could incorporate elements of job shadowing. You might also add a section in your performance reviews dedicated to evaluating that year’s stretch assignments and determining new ones for the following six months.

#2 – Train managers to identify stretch assignments.

While reminders within your talent management processes can support growth, partnering directly with managers will help bring it to life. Empower team leaders to promote ongoing development by training them on how to spot projects that are ripe for learning and identify when their staff are ready to take them on.

Spend time with your managers to clarify what a stretch assignment might look like for their direct reports. You may consider providing them with templates or resources to better understand their people’s strengths, blind spots, what skills they want to build and potential career next steps. That way, when opportunities arise, your team leaders are equipped to recommend their employees.

#3 – Coach all staff to give effective feedback.

Feedback is essential to experiential development. When colleagues and leaders can share their insights and coach one another, individuals can gain clarity on where they are exceling and what they can improve on. Try empowering staff with the tools to provide constructive and positive input in a way that resonates with their coworkers.

You can offer training sessions or peer coaching opportunities to support feedback. Additionally, I recommend providing templates that employees can reference on-the-job with tips about giving input. If your teams have Emergenetics® Profiles, utilize our Attributes in Action guides on the Emergenetics+ portal or mobile app to tailor your insights based on how your colleagues prefer to think and behave. That way, you can feel more confident that your communication will resonate with their needs.

#4 – Identify bright spots within your organization.

It’s likely that there are some teams that stand out in your company in terms of their development. You may notice it by the growth they have demonstrated in their performance reviews or by identifying who is regularly tapped to join committees or cross-functional teams. Make time to sit down with those teams or individuals.

In your conversation, ask about their daily practices and how they make learning a regular part of their weeks. You can dig into specific actions they take – like scheduling time to read industry news or asking for feedback – as well as mindsets they bring to inform their approach. By leveraging their insights, you can identify best practices to share with other groups.

#5 – Utilize follow-on tools for each traditional teaching method you use.

Classroom and group training will continue to play an important role in the development process. And you can make the experience more meaningful by identifying follow-up items that staff can implement in their day-to-day work to put their knowledge into practice. By giving employees specific tools and triggers to apply their training, you can enhance understanding and maximize the return on investment on your programs.

For example, following a Meeting of the Minds or Team Dynamics for Small Groups workshop, we invite individuals to download the Emergenetics+ app and connect with their colleagues. We encourage them to use the app’s interaction recommendations any time they are connecting one-on-one with their coworker. They can also create a Saved Group of their team and reference it to improve brainstorming, strengthen problem solving and get tips to run a more effective, efficient meeting.

#6 – Celebrate discovery in action.

Individuals tend to replicate whatever behaviors you reward, so if you want your employees to make development part of their everyday life, find ways to recognize it. I recommend that you use both formal and informal celebration mechanisms.

As a few thought starters, consider how you can build growth celebrations into performance reviews and evaluations. You may encourage managers to call it out and celebrate it when they see team members coaching one another. You could also have company awards that honor people for their professional development each year.

While much of your staff’s learning may take place outside of classroom trainings, you can still play an important role in influencing their development. To get started, try applying just one of the six recommendations above. By investing time in helping your people grow in a variety of ways, you will amplify the success of each individual and your organization.

See how Emergenetics can strengthen your learning and development initiatives. Explore our Certification programs or fill out the form below to speak with one of our team members today.

Print This Post Print This Post