In an earlier post, I covered 3 levers L&D can ‘pull’ to ensure employees are getting development, even when busy.
One way is to make development convenient for employees. To do this:
- Integrate learning resources into employees’ lives
- Encourage employees to put time aside for development
- Use a variety of methods for delivering learning
- Drip-feed learning over time
Watch the video below to find out how you can do the above (or read the article below for more information).
We can make development more convenient, more timely, and integrate into people’s ways of working so that they’re likely to continue in their development even when they’re busy.
1. Integrate learning resources into employees’ lives
One concept for doing this, which will be very familiar, is the concept of bite-sized learning. So rather than having to go on a two day course where they have to book time right out of their diary, instead we make it bite-sized so it’s easy for them to just pick it up, learn a little bit, and then do something else, and pick up another bit of learning later.
Often I see L&D make learning bite-sized by just making it really short. That’s quite effective because it makes it easy for them to consume, but actually you should probably think more about how to integrate it into people’s ways of working. In fact go further, rather than just into their ways of working, integrate it into their life.
So for example, you could put together something that’s only a 15 minute piece of content. Perhaps it’s a a five minute video, five minutes of something to read, and then a couple of questions that they should think about the answer to. That 15 minutes sounds a lot until you say it’s designed to be done on your coffee break. So for example, you could say, “Here’s a coffee break session. It’s only 15 minutes long. As a result you’ll learn a lot, and there’s barely anything out of your day.”
In your organisation, maybe people don’t tend to have lunch together. Maybe they tend to go out for lunch, or grab a sandwich, or eat at their desk, or whatever. As a result, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, maybe even an hour would be appropriate for something that people are going to learn on their lunches.
Some organisations go further and use ‘lunch and learns’, where they invite people during their lunch to come to a training room. They’ll be taught some concepts, there’ll be some kind of lunch provided, and they’ll do that during their lunch hour.
Now, that’s really effective, but actually it doesn’t have to be a big training event that you bring everyone to. You can make it video content, or presentation content, or whatever. It might even be a book, or an audiobook, that is eight hours long in terms of how long it will take to read/listen. You recommend that they read it, or listen to it, over the course of two weeks over their lunch breaks. By being clear about how you’re integrating it into their life, it makes it easier.
You don’t need to stop at lunch breaks and coffee breaks – there’s ‘dead time’ as well. So, for example, commuting. They walk, they might drive or be driven. Some will get on a train or a subway. These are all opportunities for learning as well.
Personally, if I’m on a train for a decent amount of time, I’ll get my laptop out and work. If I’m driving, I can’t get my laptop out. That’d be very, very dangerous. So instead I listen to audiobooks.
Audiobooks and podcasts are fantastic for travel/commute time. I can just listen in, and I’ll regularly get through a full book – probably eight to eleven hours’ worth of audiobook per week just through listening in the car and walking along.
(One podcast I listen to and recommend you subscribe to is Traininggzone’s monthly podcast.)
On the train, I personally work, but for many people that’s a good time for watching a video or some kind of other learning resource, which feels less like working than sitting at a laptop.
2. Encourage employees to put time aside for development
You can also get people to put time in their diary for time they can use for learning.
For example, you might say: “If you’re committed to developing in your career, making more sales / being the best product innovator then you’re going to need to read a book a week. You need to learn how the best people in the industry do this. As a result, we recommend you put aside ten minutes per day plus an hour on a Friday”.
So you can see that it isn’t just about saying “we’ve made it bite sized”. It’s about then being clear about how you expect people to integrate it into their life, and having separate time for development. If they can fit it around other activities, then despite they’re busy, they can still continue their development
3. Use a variety of methods for delivering learning
If you rely heavily on in-person training, this can sometimes be inconvenient for people that have got various meetings and so on. Finding the particular day that that works can be difficult.
As a result, you should think about e-learning (online training and exercises on a computer), and also just video resources and reading material. You might even suggest a book, a magazine, specific articles, or whatever.
4. Drip-feed learning over time
You can also learn from blogs and newsletter sites.
For example, I have a blog where you can find out information about how to inspire, and make greatness in your employees. It covers a lot on improving training attendance. But the key is that I encourage you to subscribe, and then you get regular information every week with information that’s going to help improve your success in your organisation.
Now, I’m not sending you full day-long pieces of content, I’m ‘drip-feeding’ it through a series of ‘bite-size’ pieces of content. This way they are not having to go and find resources, instead you make it available on a regular basis.
For example, if someone in sales is a bit snowed under, it’s really useful if an email comes from development with here’s top ten tips for increasing sales.
I wrote a post on how email automation can save L&D hours and deliver better support employees earlier this week.
So those are some really powerful ways of making it more convenient to continue development even when employees are busy. I hope you can apply those in your own organisation.
In the next video, I’ll cover another lever – how to utilize the influence of leaders and managers.
If you’ve got questions on how to do these, or comments on how you do it in your organisation, then let me know in the comments. I’d be really interested to hear from you, so thank you in advance.