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How to implement a Learning and Development strategy

Surely the biggest commitment in implementing a L&D strategy has to be time. The difficulty in implementing a L&D strategy, apart from lack of funds, has to come down to trust. Employees may feel very threatened by the process of developing the L&D strategy so time will need to be invested in explaining the purpose and benefits for both the organization and the individuals. In order to deal with employees feeling threatened, the process has to be consultative and inclusive as much as possible. If employees are part of the whole process, hopefully they will understand it and start to direct it themselves.

    • The place to start is with a company-wide strategic plan ie the business plan. What are the organisational goals?
    • From the plan, individuals within the organization should have their goals defined. In some SMEs the infrastructure in the organization will be lacking. Job descriptions might even be non-existent. This is an essential step in the development of the L&D strategy; ensure everyone has a job description. Not just in terms of what they are currently doing but include what they should be doing.
    • Assess individuals’ performance against the job description. This can be a difficult process for employees who feel threatened. However, the benefits of training should be emphasized. The aim should be to harness in house talent to cross train employees and share skills. Everybody should have something to offer to somebody else
    • Develop individuals’ training plans.

The individual training plan could include:

    • Soft skills (customer service, communication skills, telephone skills.
    • Professional skills (learn about a new manufacturing technology, IT system.
    • Identify learning options for each employee and then have a company-wide perspective on how best to deliver the training.
    • Implement the training.
    • Evaluate the training.
    • Let people use the new training they’ve had.

It’s really simple and straight forward when listed. However, there are any number of reasons not to implement a L&D Strategy including:

    • Thinking it’s a load of old rubbish.
    • Lack of money
    • Lack of time
    • Lack of skills to implement it

The best way to address the reasons not to implement a L&D strategy is to identify why successful companies are still bothering to implement one.

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