Learning is more than just another classroom training
By Arne Van Raepenbusch
Many organizations have difficulties designing an efficient learning plan for their employees
There often is an employee within the HR department who has the task to plan trainings for the other employees, or who writes a learning plan for different profiles within the company based on their competences, or on the basis of the competences they are still lacking. The problem is that within the current IT landscape, it is very hard to assess which skills the company still needs, and which trainings need to be provided. This is the case because there is a large range of possibilities at the moment, and because more and more companies are working towards a specialization.
Even within big domains, there are subdivisions that are getting more and more refined, which means that you need more niche knowledge. Companies often feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities, and don’t succeed in creating a successful learning plan.
Traditionally, organizations rely on their own technical employees for technical trainings. These technical employees then need to assess which skills the team still misses, and they need to select and organize the right trainings to improve these skills. The problem is that these technical employees aren’t trained to develop learning trajectories, and they often have trouble selecting the right trainings that are in line with the organization’s vision and objectives.
Let me tell you how we tackle this problem at The Campus
To design a good learning plan, we need a few key components. First of all, we need a description of the current situation that your organization is in. During the first workshops, we assess which knowledge is already present in your organization. Which things are your employees good at? Where do we see room for improvement? By asking these questions, we are setting organizational objectives. A direction. This way, we know exactly where the organization wants to go.
Naturally, a learning plan does not only revolve around the organization. We work with people, and we want these people to be able to grow within the organization. Therefore, we will also engage a conversation with each employee to discuss their starting situation and their personal goals. Only when we put their personal goals together with the organizational goals, we can start developing a custom learning trajectory.
After this exercise, it is not only clear which trainings will create the most value for both the organization as well as its employees, but we also discover a few important focus points.
Sometimes, it is the case that the personal goals of an employee do not match the goals of the organization. That’s when we have a first indication that there is a gap between employee and employer. That is why it is important to provide your employees with enough context during the development of the learning plan, preferably by someone who is independent and has no connection with the organization.
The benefits of a technical coach
An employee will not be eager to tell another employee that his vision and personal goals differ from those from the organization. Hiring a personal coach can solve this problem: the coach maintains a neutral position and provides enough context while talking to the different stakeholders at a company.
The coach will guide the employees during their learning journey. It is the coach’s task to recognize if there are any employees who are having difficulties. He motivates and inspires them by emphasizing their personal goals and explaining then how they can achieve their goals throughout the trajectory. This way, employees will stay motivated and are able to complete the trajectory succesfully.
A good learning trajectory should always consist out of multiple components
Extensive learning trajectories in which every employee of the organization participates are not always the most ideal scenario. Taking the whole R&D team back to a classroom for a week can maybe be fun for a teambuilding, but is not very efficient for your employees’ growth. A custom learning plan for each employee where they can meet people with similar talents and interests during the workshops, have a much greater impact. For optimal self-development, your employees will need different forms of learning. Self-study or e-learning can help your employees to develop a basic skillset, after which they can follow an advanced or custom workshop or classroom training. A good learning trajectory should always consist out of multiple components in order to create more value for employees.