People leaders are influencing more decisions in the C-suite than ever, but without the proper support, HR burnout is real. HR teams are constantly navigating decisions around return to work policies, focusing more resources on the mental wellbeing of employees and fighting the Great Resignation. And that’s all on top of their daily work responsibilities and balancing their own self care.
One of the major areas of change within employee experience is the evolution of learning and development strategies that better align with hybrid workstyles. Employees want to be part of organizations that value learning and development in order to grow professionally and personally in their careers. But how do companies do this well? Here’s what people leaders anticipate for 2022:
People leaders are looking to establish learning and development best practices
Employees prefer live learning to pre-recorded content. Live learning is more engaging, and it offers an opportunity to build connections with their colleagues, particularly colleagues in different departments.
Kirsten Flores, Engagement Manager at FightCamp said, “I think companies in general have done a great job at making the transition to remote work, whether that’s Zoom or video calls and I think that has translated to learning and development workshops as well. I find now that live, virtual workshops can be just as impactful compared to classes that are held in person.”
No matter the format of the learning, people ops leaders have the challenge of ensuring that all employees have access to the same opportunities. “People ops leaders will need to think about ways to improve communications so that everyone can hear about learning and development opportunities, no matter where they are working from,” shared Shelby Bascom, People Ops Manager at Jellyfish.
On top of ensuring that all employees have access to the same learning and development opportunities, there’s always the question around engagement, as well as building community. Shelby added, “Community has, and will always be, a part of the learning and development experience for employees. It’s going to be a challenge to think about how to foster community in a remote/hybrid work environment.”
The pandemic forced people ops leaders to define their workplace learning cultures and ask themselves what employees really need. “As people ops leaders, we need to go out and ask employees what they truly want and pay attention to their responses and honor them. We have a responsibility to our employees so we need to understand what matters to people when it comes to learning and development,” explained Adrienne Barnard, Senior Vice President of People Operations and Experience at Mainstay.
“People ops leaders are thinking about ways to survey and collect data on what employees want to learn so that they can create programming and opportunities to meet their needs,” said Kirsten.
Shelby also shared insights on what has been working at Jellyfish: “We have been using a tool called Lattice to measure and survey what employees want to get out of their learning and development, which we will continue to use in 2022.” Meanwhile, Meghan Hoopes, People Operations Lead at DocuSign, provided a similar perspective, “Our analytics team at DocuSign supports the people ops function with creating surveys to measure what employees want. Then, together, we dive into the answers and put together information to present directly to our executive leadership team.”
So, what do employees actually want to learn? Learning and development doesn’t have to encompass just the skills needed to get to the next level in an employee’s role. Learning and development can and should support employee growth from both the personal and professional perspectives.
For example, many employees want to learn how to better collaborate with one another, Some want to learn how to communicate more effectively or take better care for their overall wellness, while others want to learn parenting tips or gain a better understanding of technology trends such as cryptocurrency.
Learning and development can take various forms, and employees want to be able to tap into unique learning from their desks whether at home or in an office setting.
People leaders should incorporate learning and development best practices into the employee experience
Business leaders are realizing the importance of integrating learning into their employees’ everyday work. People ops leaders are incorporating strategies around learning and development into their 2022 employee experience planning.
For some people ops leaders, that means investing in their own learning and development. “I personally hope to take more manager training so that I can understand how to develop as a people manager. I want to invest in my own development in 2022 so I can learn to be a better manager to my team but also encourage them to invest in their own learning and development as well,” shared Meghan.
Other leaders are thinking about how to pivot their professional development methods to create more opportunities to learn internally from other employees. Shelby shared her thoughts on development at Jellyfish. “At Jellyfish, we want to stay away from performance reviews, because we want to focus on how our employees want to learn and grow. We plan to center conversations around professional development through ways employees can mentor each other and shadow one other — or even have the opportunity to collaborate on projects together.”
People ops leaders need to invest in learning and development so that employees can be satisfied, develop and grow within their roles, and stay with their respective organizations to combat the Great Resignation — and they need to learn how to do it right, relatively quickly. “If you don’t get culture right within your organization, you will fail everywhere else,” expressed Adrienne.
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