Project Manager Boomer Consulting Inc.
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Empower Staff With Training & Learning Options

True, the pandemic has resulted in the halt of many in-person events, such as conferences, but Jacqueline Lombardo of Boomer Consulting argues now is not the time to stop offering additional training to employees. Here's why learning opportunities are still crucial to firm and individual success.

Nov 19th 2020
Project Manager Boomer Consulting Inc.
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The world is pushing pause on many things due to COVID, but now is not the time to push the pause button on training and learning opportunities. Over the past couple of months, businesses worldwide have had to postpone or cancel in-person programs such as conferences, trainings, team building activities and more. But think twice before shutting down or postponing workplace learning.

Change is happening at a rapid pace. Overnight, businesses had to close their doors and switch their employees from working onsite to at home. Companies had to revamp their business strategies, leverage technology and focus on employee well-being through a pandemic and social movements. So why are we not empowering employees and leading with learning? 

Thor Flosason, Senior Director of Global Learning & Development at Kellogg's, says,

"A strong culture of learning is our north star. It means that every employee has access to content to help them build new skills and the importance of learning is articulated through our values and cultural practices. It happens when leaders model learning, when managers recommend learning, and when learning is recognized and rewarded. Those things are even more important now as we learn how to operate in this new environment."

So how can you empower your employees to prioritize learning, care about their careers and increase the value of the firm?

Foster a Culture of Learning

A learning culture starts at the top. Everyone wants to say they have one, but it's easier said than done.

Here are tips for creating a learning culture in your firm.

  • Appoint a Champion: The CEO or Managing Partner needs to be the champion of learning at your organization.
  • Gather Input: Sit down with key stakeholders and managers (socially distanced or via video conferencing, of course!) to discuss the kinds of training needed in your firm and how they impact your overall business strategy.
  • Take Action: Develop a plan. Depending on your organization's size, this could be by person, department or level.
  • Invest Resources: Provide employees with the resources they need. You may leverage a learning platform like LinkedIn Learning or Udemy, internal or external training programs, certification programs and on-the-job training.
  • Hold People Accountable: Measure the impacts of your learning opportunities and compare them to industry benchmarks when available. Tie learning into your employee performance plans and compensation.

Invest in Technology Training

By supporting and investing in your employees' current and future careers, you create happier, more engaged employees and reduce turnover costs. While signing up for an online learning platform is fantastic, your investment can't stop there.  

With the move to a virtual environment, you need to invest in employees and ensure they're learning the new technologies needed to perform their jobs. For example, when we all had to become video conference experts overnight, did you provide training?

Technology is constantly evolving, and everyone isn't naturally tech-savvy. However, if you equip your team with the right technology and training, you can reduce reliance on tech support, improve productivity, avoid costly IT mistakes and help them adapt faster. It can also help you identify areas of opportunity for automation and process improvement!

Lean into Hard Topics

Without a doubt, 2020 has been a hard year for everyone. Not only have we changed how we work, but some people had to become full-time caregivers, teachers, stay-at-home parents and so much more. We've had to respond to COVID-19 and navigate social unrest in our communities. Stress and anxiety are at an all-time high, but individuals are more open to learning about these difficult topics than ever before.

Learning doesn't always have to mean chasing the next degree or certification. It can include opportunities to educate and empower employees to manage their well-being, be mindful and push for real change. By leaning into these topics, you allow your employees to challenge the status quo around topics such as mental health, diversity, equity and inclusion. This can lead to implementing strategies that help create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone on your team. It can also help bring about positive change in our communities.

This has been a year full of challenges and change. We've been forced to slow down or change course, rethink everything we know, and get outside of our comfort zones. But it has also been a year of opportunities and growth. We have a unique opportunity to challenge the status quo. When we lead with learning, empower our people to learn, and listen to their ideas, great things can happen when we come together!  

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