Workplace Learning and Development: What Can it Do for You?
For long-standing and new employees alike, there is always room for growth and progress. Being open to the implementation of learning and growing in the workplace is of huge benefit to your business, your employees’ careers and their personal growth.
Growing personally, while growing organisationally
At Cloudreach, one of our core values is promoting personal growth.
This is because we see our people as our internal customers and want to treat them as such. Our belief is that if we do everything we can for our people, they will do everything they can for our customers. That lays a solid foundation for a successful business and a prosperous work life.
Because of this, learning and development, better known as "L&D", is an important business function for us. On a high level, the purpose of L&D is to improve both individual and organisational performance, by developing the capabilities of the employees.
Why everyone wins
A main focus of L&D is developing high potential employees and growing future leaders. By following this approach, a company offers great career opportunities and makes it possible to retain top talent by constantly offering them new opportunities and challenges.
For us at Cloudreach, this sounds like a win/win situation: both parties benefit from L&D.
We spend considerable time attracting top talent to Cloudreach and, once people join us, we don’t want them to leave!
A survey completed by skillsoft shows that many employees simply wish to learn, and to keep learning, throughout their career. As many as 40% of employees questioned for this survey were heavily influenced by training opportunities during their job hunt.
Similarly, this article in the Economic Times states that L&D increases efficiency, employee satisfaction and the individual employee’s ability to be self driven.
This research seems to emphasise how important and central L&D is to a company that wishes to develop and have happy employees: both sound good, right?
A new era of L&D
Today, L&D not only helps your workforce face the challenges they have here and now, but is also a way of preparing employees for any future challenges they might face. By detecting potential skill gaps and reinforcing organisational values, you can problem solve more proactively.
That aspect of L&D is very important to us here at Cloudreach, being a fast-growth company focused on looking ahead, foreseeing and trying to adapt to the future landscape for both the Cloud and our employees.
In a recent article, Jane Hart (a workplace Learning Advisor) encourages leaders to rethink L&D as something going on every day in the workplace. Hart believes that the L&D mindset should be focused towards recognising that most workplace learning happens as a natural part of actually working.
She also underlines that all kinds of workplace learning should be embraced and, lastly, but perhaps most importantly for Cloudreach (keeping our rapid growth in mind) that it is important to understand that a workplace is an ever changing place, which constantly faces new challenges and opportunities.
Speaking of the future, L&D is, as most fields in our modern world, evolving. It is becoming more and more common to use e-learning and blended learning as teaching techniques.
Creating a learning culture
It is not always enough for L&D to provide basic training for new employees, and at Cloudreach we strive to create a more developed learning culture.
And what do we mean by learning culture? We believe a learning culture should involve a great deal of internal knowledge sharing. One example of our learning culture here at Cloudreach is our Techie Teas which, believe me, is much more than just techies having tea!
According to an Employee Outlook survey completed by YouGov in 2015, the most effective form of L&D has been proved to be on-the-job learning, learning from peers, work-shadowing and coaching. We’ve certainly found that to be true.
In order to take advantage of this, we have our own mentor programme. This programme is not only an advantage for the mentee, who obviously benefits a lot from getting first hand knowledge and experience from an experienced colleague. It also benefits the mentor, as it helps them develop their management and practical skills, ensuring that they fully understand the information and values that they are paying forward. Think back to when you went to school, and had to explain a solution of a maths problem to a classmate. Paying your knowledge forward reinforces your own understanding.
It is a kind of learning by teaching experience, where both the mentor and mentee gets something valuable from the exercise. Furthermore, the mentees often decide to become mentors themselves, which without a doubt creates a very positive pay-it-forward culture.
This mentor/mentee programme also supports one of our internal cloudy principles: "Respect the individual and individuality". By pairing two individuals and having them benefit from each other's knowledge and experience, without forcing them through a specific curriculum, you put the responsibility for learning in the hands of the workforce, which engages and enables them more than a strict and controlled learning schedule.
L&D in the workplace will help employees grow as people, while making them better at their jobs, all while making your workplace a better and more effective place to work.