Some organizations struggle with talent development. They find it difficult to balance “what’s good for the organization” and “what will engage the employee”. Organizations need certain skills to execute their strategies, and satisfied employees are a prerequisite to successful organizations.
- Blend carefully. Using face-to-face programs can be good for employee engagement, but it’s easy to extend, enhance or embed your online components. There’s no need to replace all of your face to face training experiences with online ones. One way to balance in-person and elearning training is to use blended coaching techniques. Provide some online content that is self-directed, then have a coach observe the ‘real life’ application of the lesson objectives to provide feedback. Or develop some really interesting elearning scenarios to explore/share.
- Use technology to develop relationships, not just exchange content. Rather than focusing on the online world simply as a platform for distributing courses and content, think about the ways you can use it to connect people, inside your organization and beyond.
An organization I work with is using online platforms to increase employees' understanding of the cultures around the world. Each region develops a “what it’s like here” elearning course that they share with their peers. This helps each employee understand more about their global co-workers and breaks down some of the barriers around language and culture.
Open your eyes to the ways you can leverage tech tools to build connections.
- Outline the focus of development and give employees a range of ways to learn those skills. This may really appeal to self-motivated employees (but be careful - it may also create stress for some employees who would prefer a more directed option). Perhaps it’s an organization-wide initiative to improve a broad skill set or an individualized program for heightening potential. Either way, you can let go of the prescriptive nature of many organizational programs and let employees decide how they want to learn/develop.
- Ask employees how they’d prefer to learn, and allow them to act on their suggestions. This indicates a real partnership. Some may choose to use social media for their learning, others may want to develop a coffee/chat group with peers. Still others may make their own blend. Give them control and keep the lines of communication open.
- Task employees with a project of designing, developing or managing a talent development program. One organization I know relies heavily on the cohort model of making decisions and implementing development plans. They draw someone at random from their group to manage/coordinate the focus for each meeting.