Skills development in the digital age has become more important than ever as organizations need to evolve for the future of work. To help your organization get more out of its employee training programs, you need to create content that helps to enable your entire workforce. That means providing current employees with the knowledge and skills they need in order to thrive as business models evolve, while also being able to jump-start the next generation of professionals to help you drive your digital transformation.
That all sounds great, doesn’t it? So how do you do it?
How do you take your organizational expertise and transfer it to younger workers and new hires? How do you create learning paths that meet employees where they are now and guide them to where they want and need to be?
We had the opportunity to talk with Mary Bollash, Engineering Learning and Development Officer at Carrier, about the strategy that her team deployed to create a modern, motivating, and intuitive employee training program.
1. Define Expectations and Learning Objectives
Learning objectives are the foundation of any successful learning program. They’re the benchmark for building content, and they’re a guide and encouragement for learners. Mary says that you need to “define what you expect from your learners so you have a target and can help them get there.”
When framing out your learning objectives, making sure they truly match what you’re asking your learners to do is vital. Consider questions such as:
- How are you defining your proficiency levels?
- How will you measure or assess the learner?
- What does the learner need to know to attain proficiency?
- What skills does the learner need to practice?
- What kind of on-the-job opportunities should this person have?
A Level 1, for example, may have the introductory knowledge they need to do the job, but they still require supervision and support. A Level 2 may still be working on building their competencies but can work mostly on their own. As someone works through the higher levels—Level 3, Level 4, and beyond—they can continue to work interpedently and master increasingly complex knowledge and skills.
Starting with the basics and clearly laying out learning objectives before measuring, assessing, and encouraging accountability with them can help you set up your organization and its learners for success.
2. Make Training Relevant
Relevant learning equals effective learning. If you don’t have that connection between the content you’re offering and your learners, you can jeopardize the enthusiasm needed to drive effective training programs. Mary says that her team’s mission when building out learning activities is to “connect work to learning and learning to work.”
The learning that your organization is offering needs to allow and help your learners process and retain information. Micro-learning, or teaching in smaller segments, is one approach you can use to improve knowledge transfer and give learners more time to grasp new concepts.
You also have to make sure your learners have safe places to learn and grow professionally. That means thinking critically about the types of skills you want people to develop and choosing assessments and activities to match. If, for example, you want someone to be able to develop software, multiple-choice quizzes alone aren’t going to cut it.
At the end of the day, it’s about understanding who your learner is and making learning relevant to them. Mary explains, “It has to be what they need, when they need it, and it has to solve their problems right then and there.”
3. Be Willing to Flex Employee Training Programs
As the world becomes more digital and training continues to shift online, many organizations are being challenges to come up with comprehensive solutions for skills development. Mary’s advice for teams looking to kick-start their digital transformation is to be willing to flex. This can allow you to handle unexpected challenges and adapt to new circumstances.
“You’re never going to see 100% of people working the way they did before COVID,” Mary observes. “We’re going to have to get sharper and better about what we do in our virtual world and how we connect it to work.”
We also have to balance when people do have to connect in person, when they can learn virtually, and when we combine both. “I’m not saying we’ll only do virtual forever,” Mary says. “That’s not the right answer either.” Again, it comes back to understanding the learning objectives and what they require. We also need to be ready to leverage emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, to help us fill gaps and try new approaches.
“Be willing to challenge your own assumptions,” Mary suggests. “Find multiple tools that work for you to get what you need. I’m not a big fan of a one-tool-fits-all kind of solution.”
By being flexible and demonstrating a willingness to shift with the digital transformation, your team can create a modern, performance-oriented learning and development program.
Watch It Now: Catalyst for Upskilling Your Workforce
There’s an art and a science to engaging adult learners in meaningful learning experiences. What actions can enterprise leaders take to proactively solve the skills gap and upskill their workforce. In this webinar, Mary Bollash from Carrier discusses how you can help:
- Motivate your learners by providing more value with your learning programs
- Take your content and build more powerful and engaging learning experiences
- Make activities that can accelerate knowledge transfer and boost knowledge retention
- Set up a learning program that’s intuitive for your learners
Get these and more tips from Mary to help you create a strategy to modernize your organization’s learning and development.