Written by Ashalia Maharajh
Learning strategies are in the midst of adjusting to the demands of business needs at a speed of a mile a minute. And whilst many training budgets have been cut (approximately 47% according to the our recent research), the need to meet training obligations from a Skills and BEE perspective is still a very clear requirement for every business no matter the size of the budget.
Here are my thoughts to optimise your learning strategy going into the last stretch of the training year:
#1 Stay even closer to business
Keep in closer conversation with the business to understand the changes in their needs for technical and soft skills. This has significantly changed across every industry as we whether the storm. So, what may reflect as an important need this month, may look drastically different in the next. Maintain conversations even remotely, to clearly understand your business's needs as they adapt and evolve.
Ensure you are not only looking at your data from your needs analysis deeply but also checking to see if it is still relevant and accurate. Learning is definitely the last thing on the minds of business heads, as they focus on sustainability, innovation and growth, however it is an enormous need going into the end of the year and more critically to maintain the growth of the business!
#2 Work with Trusted (and flexible) Providers
That being said, be sure to schedule training with trusted providers that can adjust to your needs and that of your business. This is especially true for technical courses or training sessions, where most are under a fair amount of stress and need a bit more time and support to process the learning. Trusted providers are able to remain flexible for your needs and also provide you with content that is relevant and teaching methods that create high levels of learning - not presentations of the information.
In a recent meeting with our facilitators, we have noticed how we have needed to stay close to the participants' learning journeys in each and every live call. This does a number of things, it helps us remain agile in the structure of the programmes and adjust where we need to. It also means that we are not only engaging with them to check in for understanding, but picking up on important cues so we can truly weave in the teachable moments. The learning is actually so much more richer and deeper than before! People are so keen to grow their Self Leadership capability through all of this and we need to do very little coaxing, even though many are faced with so many forms of stress and uncertainty. The beauty of real learning and growth!
#3 Hone in on Middle Management
With managers being inundated with their own personal journeys, that of their teams, restructured roles with increased workloads...many managers are finding their jobs particularly challenging. A wonderful concept to implement is that of Coaching Circles. Not a new concept by any means, but one that is seeing more results today than ever before.
Teach your managers basic coaching techniques to uplift their staff, and themselves too. How does this help? It lowers the L&D cost of hiring coaches for staff, increases trust and emotional well being of your people and also ticks your boxes SD and BEE by providing training with an accredited provider. WIN WIN WIN!
#4 Save your employer brand with the newbies
Don't forget about your Youth. I know at times like this it can be completely understandable to overlook the quiet new hires, who are unsure of the lay of the land as they find themselves in a new company, new job and working from home, so they are more hesitant to put their hands up if they need help. But neglecting to check in with these bright minds, can see a negative impact on your Employer Brand and decrease key company learnings, to name a few.
"Managers are busy, HR is flooded - Ash we wish we could, we just don't have the capacity right now." Absolutely! So here is a simple trick that works wonders
Provide dedicated 'buddies' (younger role models) that can check in on them and have catch ups to support them. You can also provide the 'buddies' with mentoring training if need be (see above "WIN WIN WIN" that applies here too!), to develop the young interns.You know the drill, you are not only developing your interns in professional behaviour and company specific know-how, you are also growing high performing young talent through this informal leadership role. AWESOME!
I have seen phenomenal growth in those interns that now have a few years of experience, that are able to share their experience, wisdom and guidance with the new recruits. The information transfer is also significantly higher as the source is closer in age and methods of teaching.
All in all, this year end is approaching and L&D needs are very real and mounting.
Keep your focus on your learning goals balanced with the agility your business and people need. Wishing you all the best as you navigate this year!
Sivuka is exceptionally experienced in L&D Strategy, Analytics and Design from Youth to your "Ready to Retires". Get in touch today to discuss your needs with us: email@example.com