A common question I get asked by L&D managers is “How can L&D ensure employees are getting development, even when managers and employees are busy?”. In an earlier post, I covered 7 reasons employees stop their personal development when they get busy.
Watch the video below to see me introduce 3 ‘levers’ that L&D can ‘pull’ to help employees continue development, even when employees are busy (or read the article below for more information).
Looking at the question of “how do I ensure employees continue their development even when they’re busy”, here are 3 primary ‘levers’ we can ‘pull’ to address this…
1. Ensure development is a high priority for employees
So first there’s the ‘priority’ lever, which is essentially how we make sure that development is high up on the list of an employee’s priorities, so it’s not something that they’re willing to replace, and there’s a time and effort spent on it along with other activities. So we can ‘pull that lever’ by ensuring we development is a high priority for them.
2. Make development convenient for the employee
One of the other levers is convenience. This is where we make development resources really convenient for the employee, so that they either don’t have to give up a huge amount of time, or that we’re giving those development resources at times that are convenient to them, or in ways that are convenient to them that means that it’s easy for them to consume them.
For example, we might give a 15 minute course or video course on a particular topic that’s designed for them to consume with a cup of coffee. Or we might give a half an hour video that is provided in a way that makes it easy for them to download onto their laptop or an iPad, and as a result is designed for them to watch when they’re on their commute into work in the morning, or when they’re leaving in the evening.
Audiobooks are really good for this. In the sense that when you’re walking along – walking to the tube station, or walking to get a bus, or whatever – you can’t get a laptop out. So an audiobook is really good for that because employees can listen to that and learn whilst doing all the other things they need to do. So think about whether you can pull the ‘convenience’ lever to support development even when people are busy.
3. Utilize influence from leaders, managers, and others
The other lever that you can pull, is to leverage leaders, managers, and other influencers. However, this requires your leaders, managers, to be bought into the development that you’re providing. This lever doesn’t work if your leadership question the return on investment of your development resources. There are a few things you can do to address that, but you have to do that before you use this lever.
So, assuming that leadership are bought into the development you provide as being really high quality and really helpful, then what you can do is you can get them, to encourage employees to make time for development.
There’s a number of ways you can do this; both through informal communication, such as emails / presentations, or through formal ways too. For example, including targets in their objectives for particular courses that they’ve been on, or particular things that they’ve learned, or improvements in particular areas that they would expect to improve via development.
So as a result you can use leadership or management influence to make sure employees are getting that development, and are thinking about how they can develop and get better.
So those are three levers that you can pull to ensure that employees continue development even when they’re busy.
Make sure development is up their priority list, make it convenient so that they can make the time for it, and make sure leadership emphasise the importance as well.
To apply this in your organization, think about which lever you can pull, and whether for certain courses that you can use a combination of these.
If you’d like more information on how to ‘pull’ each of these levers, watch my next post/video which covers the first of these: “How to make development a high priority for busy employees“.