When you think of a workplace that has a focus on continuous improvement, you’re likely visualising a company that has a strong and nimble leadership group, a solid grasp on their people and processes, experience on how to effectively manage change and/or a company that is broadly considered both innovative and a desirable place to work.
Whilst this nirvana might read more like the exception rather than rule, if we peel back the layers of what is driving this desirable position, it is having an effective skill set within the people powering the organisation that drives success. Understanding this can help make a very clear connection between L&D and continuous improvement. Through understanding at a very core level what skill sets will best enable the organisational outcomes you desire, it becomes quickly apparent how L&D is a core enabler of continuous improvement.
This skill development may be incremental and the derived benefits may seem minute at first but it is the consistent push for individual progression that propels businesses towards shared success. To put it simply: Continuous L&D = Continuous improvement
What is continuous improvement in the workplace?
Workplaces that emphasise career progression for all individual team members often have a competitive edge in the ever-growing world of business. The ability to advance individuals sets the foundations for businesses to collectively raise the bar and continuously prosper. Businesses that support individuals skill development in leadership, teamwork, communication and anything else in between, are continuously improving and successfully aligning their employees to optimise the seamless transfer of new skills into the workplace. As this continues to happen, the workplace becomes incrementally better and better equipped over time to overcome challenges and find the route for success, thanks to a broader and deeper range of skills that can be leveraged.
The Shared Benefits of L&D for Organizations and Individuals
While the top-line benefits of L&D are immense and often celebrated publically from a business performance perspective, the underlying advantages may be even more desirable. From improved employee morale, to heightened value generation, the investment of L&D is well worth it. In fact, 92% of employees stated that a well-planned training program had a favourable impact on their level of engagement at work (Axonify). These benefits are not limited to the individual. Both business and learner gain:
Improved job performances
Business process optimisation
Enhanced problem-solving capabilities
Top talent seeking an environment of constant improvement
Why Organisations Want a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Organisations that are continuously looking to develop their employees skills demonstrate a level of commitment to staying ahead in their competitive market. On an individual level, employees of these organisations feel their professional careers are being nurtured as they are encouraged to improve their skills. On an organisational level, those that promote skill development through L&D are likely to draw in and retain higher performing talent.
Cultivating a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Set business objectives
The overarching goal of workplace learning, and employee development is to equip your team with the skills and knowledge necessary to help your business excel. By clarifying what your business objectives are early on, you are setting a clear path on what skills will be needed, how you will develop them, and using this to guide all learning initiatives.
Allocate resources and time
Workplace L&D will take a lot of investment for both organisation and employees. While monetary budgeting is necessary, the strategic planning of time allocation, securing employee buy-in, and availability of tech is essential.
Ensure content availability
Employees want to engage in quality and effective learning, so ensuring that it is accessible is the key to continuous improvement. Giving employees the option to select when and what they learn (in the confines of their roles) will motivate and heighten willingness to engage with the learning process.
Provide user-friendly training
Offering learning that removes barriers to entry is essential to fostering a continuous learning environment. The easier it is for learners to access and work through the content, the more likely it is they return to the learning. eLearning is an excellent option to ensure that learning is easy to access and flexible enough to integrate into a busy work schedule.
While microlearnings benefits are immense, for employee development, it becomes one of the more effective ways to learn. Honing in on single skills and stacking short modules over a longitudinal period of time will create the consistently needed that helps employees develop these desired skills.
How eLearning drives continuous improvement
By now, it should be obvious that to continuously improve as a business and reach your desired goals it’s essential that you invest in L&D for your employees. However, just because learning is in place and employees are engaging with it does not mean your organisation is now rooted in ongoing improvements nor are skills being translated to the workplace. Rather, it is essential that you continuously look into what it is your individual employees are learning and improve it where possible. Whether that be through carefully considering learner feedback, tracking KPIs, looking at interaction levels, or assessments. Distinguishing between what is working and what isn’t will undoubtedly lead to higher skill retention and an overall great learning experience. Motivating them to continue down the road of development and eventually, create a workplace culture that surrounds continuous improvement.
More specifically, through quality eLearning employees are able to continually improve in a number of factors including, but not limited to:
Immediate application of learned skills in day-to-day tasks
Providing personalised content that meets specific individual and organisational goals
Encourages proactive and self-directed skill development that can be carried into daily work
Engaging and interactive content builds retention skills
Opportunities for collaborative projects, facilitating knowledge sharing and collective achievements