“Companies that transform their learning and development organizations are not only able to accelerate skills development but also can dramatically improve employee engagement and retention—one of the biggest challenges cited by this year’s respondents.”- Deloitte University Press’s Human Capital Trends 2015 Survey
In 2015, McLean & company trends survey, Learning & Development topped the list of project spending.
On average, top organizations spend up to 25% of their revenue on Learning & Development (L&D) campaigns.
It is extremely clear that organizations should focus on L&D. Workshops, training sessions, and other programs in one or the other form are vital for a growing organization.
Learning and development activities help in acquiring new skills, sharpening existing ones, performing better, boosting teamwork, and finding new leaders in the face of the changing technologies.
L&D, when done correctly, can deeply impact an organization’s productivity, helping improve employee performance and thereby moving north toward the company goals.
Benefits of having an L&D program in an organization
1. For new hires
Learning and development programs are especially important for a new recruit. It should be conducted by existing employees from relevant teams. This process helps in quick onboarding of the candidate with respect to understanding the work. It also brings in a sense of inclusion and speeds up the workflow.
2. Tackle shortcomings
Every individual has “areas of improvement” and L&D programs help to overcome these. An ongoing L&D program helps identify where employees need to put in more effort. With the detailed report, gaps could be mended. Addressing these shortcomings also helps improve employee performance by amplifying employees’ skills.
3. Become self-driven and more productive
Employees who have been part of learning and development campaign tend to perform better and are more result oriented if given directional training to enhance their productivity. Learning and development go a long way in improving employees’ existing skills and acquainting them with new technologies. This brings a sense of independence, and they are driven to understand new skills.
Despite all the benefits of L&D, many organizations struggle to convince their employees to take up these programs. “People inherently do not like taking tests or being assessed unless there is a reward attached to it.”
Unless individuals are self-driven and moderately competitive, they do not take up learning and development drives very sportingly. Though companies try to attach rewards to these initiatives to lure them, this, in our experience, is not a great motivator for employees to take a test over a weekend or during work hours!
Since we aim to make digital assessments a part of the learning programs in the future, at this point, we should aim at making employees more accepting of tests and the idea behind them.
Organizations which have been using L&D effectively
- CyberCoder – Through Associate Recruiter Incubator Program, Cybercoders takes highly driven, educated, and competitive employees and teach them to use technology across various marketplaces.
What you can do – Like many other major organizations, start an incubator program for employees who want to excel. Many companies also collaborate with third-party incubators to facilitate learning and development.
- AT&T – AT&T in collaboration with Georgia Tech and Udacity developed Online Master of Science in Computer Science degree and launched several fast-paced and nano degrees offering across web development, data analytics, and technology entrepreneurship.
What you can do – Companies across the globe in collaboration with top universities are providing diploma and degrees to their employees. A tie-up with one such university for executive courses which could be a full-time or evening course. Such courses bring a sense of confidence and trust among employees for the company.
- Amazon -Amazon conducts an intensive month-long training before an employee is hired on skills which they would be using for their role. A ‘virtual contact center’ enables employees to work from home. Amazon prepays 95% of the fees for any specific course taken.
What you can do – Collaborate with one of many online course providers. Create a role-specific course which can help candidates have a better understanding of the work they are expected to do. Ensure it is industry-friendly and helpful in the future.
So, how do other organizations scale their learning and development campaigns and make it a success?
Here are a few pointers to help:
5 points to help your organizations in Learning & Development
Choose Learning Ambassadors (LAs)
- Consider nominating LAs.
- Should be at the same level of seniority as the employees who will be taking these tests
- Must be top scorers/champs
- Will act as catalysts for driving it top-down and communicating the pulse of employees from each team
- Consider nominating LAs.
Note: From a psychological perspective, this cannot be driven by HR or business/tech leaders because this creates a barrier in the minds of new learners and a sense of trust might not prevail.
Correct and strategic broadcasting
- These initiatives take quite some time to gain momentum if only an organic method of adoption is used; to counter this, it is advised to broadcast the drives on organization communication channels, create groups, pages
- Can also be broadcast on big screens in common areas like cafeterias, reception, conference rooms, etc.
Make it an event-based participation rather than individual participation
- Organizations implement event-oriented drives rather than individual-oriented drives when it comes to employees at an executive level.
- It has been observed that this boosts the visibility of any initiative especially if it is test-based.
- This creates a buzz around helping employees get familiar with new concepts and, also, the perspective is spread by word-of-mouth. For example, a TGIF campaign can be launched for developers where they participate in activity halls and coding bays together. Scores of this campaign can be tied to their main score sheets as usual.
Top scorers to be recognized
- Employees who score top marks in each test or event should be recognized on a public visibility platform or forum.
- Recognition emails should be sent from top leaders like VPs, CXOs, etc. This boosts the morale and the participation spirit of employees radically over and above getting a fantastic learning score on their appraisal sheet.
How organizations are using HackerEarth for Learning & Development programs?
In a recent learning and development campaign, a Fortune 500 organization decided to use HackerEarth as a platform to make it a success. The organization, using the features of the platform, gamified the entire campaign by introducing a multi-player coding test.
The campaign was divided into 4 levels, where each team had to compete with all others on various types of problem statements.
Each problem statement when solved gave a clue to the next stage.
With features support like 35+ programming languages, multilingual support of 4+ spoken languages, plagiarism test, and auto-evaluation, HackerEarth technical recruitment software helps in automating the entire process involved in learning and development.
The dependency on manual intervention reduced, giving participants the freedom to be working in a familiar environment. The detailed report feature on HackerEarth’s technical recruitment software helped the management access on-the-go information of the progress of each candidate.
The campaign was a major success due to its gamified version and more than 74% of the employees participated with interest. This is one of many successful L&D campaigns run by top Fortune 500 companies who use HackerEarth software for training and development.
These are a few suggestions to help you give this initiative a good degree of reinforcement. I understand there may be a need to further review and discuss each of these internally. But a quick call with the HackerEarth team would help you understand the product better and how best to use it.