As the skill shortage gap continues to grow, employers are constantly looking for ways to increase skills and keep the business competitive. Employee-led learning is one way employers are moving towards closing the gap. As most of us know, people do not all learn the same. Age is a factor, and with up to five generations in the workplace, the ‘one size fits all’ approach just doesn’t work.
What is employee-led learning?
Employee-led learning is described as an employee taking charge of their own personal and professional development, within company regulations. When employees are responsible for their own growth they feel empowered. Riia O’Donnell states in ‘Employee-led learning: Allowing workers to stray from the beaten path’, “For learners, the need to keep pace with change in a personalized way is driving the shift. The idea is that employees are often in the best position to know what they need to perform and address the needs of their customers.” With this type of learning, employers or learning and development teams will still need to keep track of how much and who is doing the learning. They also must make sure the content employees are learning is beneficial for business needs as well as employees.
How does a company implement this type of learning?
There are many software companies available that are conforming to this newer way of learning and adjusting their products to fit the need. One thing required is on-demand training. A way for employees to utilize the training at their pace and track their progress. A second is allowing for comments and feedback. The L & D team should be tracking progress as well, then follow up with employees as they reach predetermined points to have these conversations. A third is offering multiple ways of receiving the training. For example, power points, videos with quizzes, or in person trainings with co-workers. The last suggestion is to create a culture of learning from a new hire to the CEO.
Annika Willers tells us in ‘Employee-Led Learning – On our way to Modern Workplace Learning and Empowerment’, “While this might sound as if employees’ needs are put on top of the company’s requirements, supporters of this style actually have a mutual benefit in mind. Companies improve their workforce quality, time-to-market and competitive value by having employees set goals to achieve just this.” Implementing this newer style of learning is allowing companies to close that skill gap a little, retain employees longer, and keep business moving forward and competitive.
Shelly Wallace Johnson, aPHR