We all know that professional development is important.
We need to maintain our credentials.
We need to develop our skills.
Yet it never fails: team members are scrambling at the end of the year to meet their professional development goals.
Research has revealed that corporate learning is an explosive industry, but one of the biggest challenges to achieving professional development goals is time. The question is, how do we overcome this barrier and promote learning and development in our organizations?
Our first inclination is to send staff to face-to-face training. Expensive. Time-consuming. Week long. Offsite. Training.
“While face-to-face training is effective and has its place, it does not solve the dilemma of time when it comes to fitting training into our schedules. To address this challenge, we need to think out-of-the-box.”
Below are five simple strategies to develop your staff as an alternative to face-to-face training:
- Mentoring. Mentoring affords your senior team members creative ways to teach and influence mentees. One of the key benefits to mentoring is that you can customize the mentoring arrangement. The options are endless and can be flexible when you are in a time crunch.
- Start a book club. This is a perfect opportunity for self-study and collaboration. I experienced this with one of my managers, and it was extremely effective. When we came together for team meetings, we took 15 minutes of the meeting to discuss the book and key takeaways. Today, this option is even more efficient because you can listen to audiobooks during your commute or during a workout.
- Join webinars together. Don’t underestimate the value of social learning. Groups are often willing to engage and learn more together than they might do alone. There’s something to be said for collaborative learning. You can engage in question-and-answer sessions to evaluate what everyone learned and gain different perspectives.
- Lunch and learn. You’ve got to eat, right? Why not capitalize on your lunch hour to eat and train your team? You don’t have to break the bank to host lunch and learn. You could offer something as simple as sweet treats like cupcakes or gummy bears (my favorite) instead of a full lunch. Consider spending time during lunch to listen to a webinar, using this time to host your book club, or discussing current projects with your team. Get creative!
- Digital learning programs. The most valuable factor in using digital learning programs is portability. Consider purchasing online learning programs, especially for the most requested skills. If your team members can pick up a couple of training modules on their smartphone or tablet while waiting at the airport or at the doctor’s office, that’s a win. Convenience is integral to fitting training into a tight schedule.
As a leader, all these strategies are great, but you might be saying, “Isn’t the individual responsible for requesting the time and making the time for professional development?”
Sure, if the environment supports time off and places a high value on professional growth.
There’s a popular business joke regarding developing staff:
CFO asks CEO: What happens if we spend money training our people and then they leave?
CEO: What happens if we don’t and they stay?
As the leader, you are responsible for the efficiency of your team and developing your staff so that they continue adding value to your organization.
That means, in part, you also bear part of the responsibility for their growth.
What kind of learning environment are you building for your team to learn and grow in?
If we know time is one of the biggest reasons why employees are not partaking in more development opportunities, why don’t we, as leaders, make it a little easier?
Consider implementing one of the strategies I shared with you and see what that does for your learning culture. If you need help, let’s connect!
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” John F. Kennedy
About the Author
Crystal Richards is the Principal and Owner of MindsparQ™. She has trained over 2,000 business professionals to meet their goals of project management and agile excellence by achieving the PMP® and PMI-ACP® credentials and furthering their educational pursuits in the field. Over the last 15 years, she has helped start-ups, healthcare organizations, non-profits, and government agencies improve their project results--and still like her for setting them straight.