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Create a learning plan for employees

Create a Learning Plan for Employees

Copyright (c) 2009 Pat Brill

Today’s business environment is based on ‘knowledge’ and creating a learning culture is critical for the continued growth of a business. What does that mean in managing employees – you have to promote learning for yourself and your employees.

Companies that support continuous learning are usually successful because training affects the bottom line of a business.

Since there is a shortage of talent with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet business demands, why not take your internal talent and grow them. Compensation is important but if you follow employee surveys, you will find that ‘learning’ is critical to an employee’s satisfaction and to the overall retention within a company.

Manager’s first reaction to providing training is that the employee will then move on to another company. We know that long-term loyalty is not offered by employee or employer, so the goal is to maintain higher retention levels for the effectiveness of the business. Training is one tool that works.

Employees respond favorably to employers who provide advance training. Just make sure that the training can be applied to your specific business. Guide your employees in their training efforts by informing them of the business goals so they can make suitable educational choices.

The ‘x’ and ‘y’ generations expect to be challenged and look for opportunities to develop their careers through new projects, promotions and access to formal learning benefits. Employees want the certificates and advanced degrees and are willing to do the work and consider training a required benefit to working at a company. They recognize that advance education is critical to their future employment.

==>What needs to be done?

**Create for each employee a ‘learning’ plan based on his or her current roles as well as their career growth within the organization.

**If you don’t have the budget to provide a tuition-reimbursement program to your employees, spend time brainstorming on how to create your company’s ‘learning’ culture.

Here are some ideas that you can start your brainstorming with:

==>Internal Learning

**Business knowledge – create a training that presents the business basics so each employee can understand how their responsibilities support the business.

**Career paths – yearly review of the employee’s career growth within the company.

**In-House Training – subject matter experts can share their expertise to build and enhance the depth of industry knowledge within the company.

**Library – build the company library by creating a book allowance. You can allocate a certain amount for each employee to spend each year for business-related reading materials. They would have to put in a ‘book request’ with justification. You reimburse the employee for the book and then add it to the company library. This way you encourage your employees to build their industry knowledge as well as add to the library so others can increase their knowledge.

**Mentoring – this is a classic program that is part of succession as well as management training programs where you partner strong performers with more senior management to learn the ‘ropes’ of the business.

**Stretch projects – provide employees with ‘stretch’ opportunities with project or leadership work.

**Subscriptions – bring in appropriate business related magazines or journals for the continuous growth of employees.

**Training Manuals – create appropriate learning manuals for specific procedures within the organization.

**New Employee Training Programs – this is critical in the success of an employee. Even if you are a small company, have a program in place that successfully integrates the new employee into the work environment.

==>External Learning

**Formal educational resources – colleges and universities

**Professional organizations offer specific classes on industry information

**Business organizations – For example, American Management Association

**E-learning training on specific topics

**Online degree programs are providing advanced degrees to meet the demands of time and information intensive environments.

==>Note:

If there is a performance-related issue, sending someone out to a training session may or may not be the answer. What is critical in creating a ‘learning’ plan is that the training matches the individual. Performance-based issues can be attributed to a lack of knowledge, interest or an inability to perform the essential functions of the job. So use your training efforts and dollars wisely.

==>Final Thought

Make learning and development part of your conversations with your staff. Even if your employees are non-exempt, encourage them to take on more challenges, to increase the quality of their work and to learn something new.

Continuous learning keeps the employee fresh and interested in their performance. Otherwise, they become stale in their work and performance becomes ‘average’ or ‘mediocre.’ Every employee influences the bottom line.

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