24 Oct Roundtable: The New Employee Learning Imperative
TimelyText was fortunate to join members of the American Society of Quality’s Raleigh Chapter at PharmEng Technology last week for a roundtable discussion focused on ‘The new employee learning imperative’.
Quality professionals across several industries shared insight and observations on how learning & development programs are — and in some cases, aren’t — meeting the needs of employees in our new post-pandemic environment.
The meaning of ‘accessibility’ has certainly expanded, and it’s important for L&D to hit the mark on every aspect.
Inspired by our roundtable conversation, a few points on learning accessibility and why it matters for companies and workers:
Adapting L&D to the Hybrid Work Environment
Traditional in-person training sessions, which were the norm for so long, are no longer sufficient as the ONLY option. Companies must embrace digital and remote learning solutions to keep their workforce engaged and growing.
If you’ve got the resources to turn that into an interactive eLearning, great! If not, it could be as simple as creating a quality recording of an instructor-led session, and making that video available in a library of trainings.
Meeting Employee Expectations
Employees today expect more from their employers when it comes to learning and development. In a competitive job market, where talent is highly sought after, offering robust L&D programs can be a crucial differentiator.
There’s been a shift in priorities among the American workforce, and employees are now seeking more than just a paycheck (there’s data to back it up, too!) They want to work for companies who truly value them as humans, invest in their happiness and success, and allow them to grow.
At the least, employees are demanding the training to be successful in their current roles. Companies that invest in a comprehensive L&D program that sets up employees for future career and personal success — even elsewhere — will reap the benefits.
Enhancing Employee Retention
Building on the previous point, learning and development programs play a pivotal role in employee retention. When employees feel that their employers are invested in their growth and well-being, they are more likely to stay with the company.
Beyond the massive cost of onboarding new employees, there’s also the human cost of losing good people and talented employees. Great teams and positive culture aren’t built overnight, and one key departure can have devastating effects on both.
A small investment in your current team can help you avoid a much bigger cost — literally and figuratively — down the road.
Inclusive Learning for All
Another essential aspect of adapting L&D to the hybrid work environment is ensuring that learning opportunities are available to all employees, from entry-level workers to executives.
L&D programs should be inclusive and accessible to everyone, regardless of their job level or location. By doing so, companies create a culture of continuous learning that benefits both employees and the organization as a whole.
Reconsider the Format
Particularly in pharma, there’s a tendency to rely on a pile of SOPs and the ‘read and understand’ method, which tasks employees with reading through a stack of boring documents and checking a box that they ‘understand’ the information.
Would you trust a commercial pilot to ‘read and understand’ when learning to fly a 757? How about your physician?
There have never been more ways to share information; audio, video, graphics and hands-on experience are all more beneficial and engaging than words on white paper. There are definitely times you should hire a technical writer and create a library of documents, but more often, there are better ways to present a topic.
Beyond that: does a stack of documents with no quiz or reinforcement scream ‘THIS IS IMPORTANT!’ to your employees? You can’t expect them to engage with your learning resources if you didn’t either.
Is it Accessible?
Your company could hire an instructional designer to churn out 100 eLearning modules tomorrow, but what good are they if employees don’t know how and where to find them?
In developing any good L&D program, it’s important to invest dollars and effort into a quality LMS that employees can easily navigate, and one that allows them access the content they need whenever, wherever.
Even if your program is technically sound, it’s important that you promote a culture of learning and incentives and/or accountability for doing so.
A few thoughts for decision-makers and companies to consider in adapting their L&D programs to best serve their people:
Embrace Technology: Utilize digital platforms, e-learning modules, and video conferencing tools to deliver training and development content to remote and in-office employees alike.
Flexible Learning: Offer a variety of learning formats, including self-paced online courses, webinars, and microlearning modules to accommodate diverse learning preferences.
Personalized Learning Paths: Tailor L&D programs to individual employee needs and career goals, allowing them to chart their growth within the organization.
Measure Impact: Regularly assess the effectiveness of L&D initiatives through feedback, surveys, and performance metrics, adjusting programs as necessary.
Adapting learning and development programs to the hybrid environment is not just a necessity at this point, but also a strategic advantage.
As we continue to navigate the evolving landscape of work, companies that invest in modern, inclusive, and accessible L&D programs will be better equipped to thrive in this new era.
TimelyText has employed and placed hundreds of instructional designers, technical writers and corporate communication professionals in North Carolina since 2003. Whether you’re looking for an expert to join your team for just a few months or someone to stick around permanently, we’ve got the perfect fit. Submit a contact form or reach us directly at email@example.com to discuss how we can help.