Belfast Telegraph

Learning and Development – New Year Resolutions!

Claire Brereton
Claire Brereton
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The New Year brings a chance to reflect, review and renew old habits formed, putting New Year’s resolutions into action.

These resolutions, however, need not be confined to healthy eating and exercise, but should also extend to the way we run our businesses. Learning and development (L&D), for example, is a fundamental aspect of attracting and retaining talent, and could be a focus area for you in 2022.

Here are some recommendations for L&D New Year’s resolutions to consider.

Review your learning culture

In an ideal world, learning should be an invisible part of the everyday flow of work.

So ask yourself, how are L&D initiatives viewed in your organisation? Are they a tick-box exercise to gain continuous professional development credits, or do your managers enthusiastically put their team members forward for programmes? Once you know where you stand, you can begin the journey to make changes like those suggested below.

Establish a learning ecosystem

In a traditional sense, learning is viewed as whatever senior leaders said it was, in terms of content placed in a Learning Management System (LMS) library, or classroom training courses scheduled for the year. The learner often has to log into a system separate to that of their normal tools or platforms, using login details they have long forgotten.

This is where the idea of building a learning ecosystem comes into play. Scattered resources should be grouped together, in familiar, single sign-on platforms, where social learning and collaboration is encouraged.

Provide a mix of learning initiatives

HowNow recently described in-person training as an “L&D comfort blanket,” and, as organisations plan for 2022, the temptation might be to move learning back to the physical classroom. Although this has many benefits, we mustn’t place the focus of the learning on the location. Rather, when discussing options, the importance must be placed on the application of the learning. Which learning environment would be best for the day-to-day application of new skills or knowledge? It could be face-to-face discussions, problem-solving on Microsoft Teams, personal reflection through an eLearn, or one-to-one coaching.

Give L&D a seat at the top table

In LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report, just over 60% of L&D professionals thought that their department had a seat at the executive table. For some, this may seem surprising, but I would argue that it’s not enough.

Direct, two-way communication between the overall decision-makers and L&D professionals improves the probability of strategic learning solutions that add value to business output, as well as to the development and careers of employees.

I believe that 2022 is the year that we must be more intentional with how we create learning experiences, whether it be through the learning culture, portfolio or strategic positioning. After all, it’s not a New Year’s resolution unless it’s difficult, but worthwhile!