The key to an effective learning and development strategy is to involve your people as much as possible in every stage of the process. Sharing in each other's development is the perfect way to create better care and understanding. Organisations are grown from relationships, after all. Just as managers need to be aware of their responsibility to help people develop, so individuals should know how important they are when it comes to identifying development needs – as well as giving feedback on how well it's working.
Have a chat with your team where you run through the wide variety of learning and support activities that make up what development means. Ask them about their preferred route for learning, and encourage them to spot and share development needs on an ongoing basis. Approach it from the other side. You can give your team concrete examples of how development is improving the organisation and helping it meet its vision and objectives, to demonstrate why it’s important for each of them.
Why not share your cost benefit analysis data with them too? It builds morale and enthusiasm if you’re open and honest, plus the team will see how much you value investing in them. Finally, encourage people to get as involved as possible in delivering inductions.
There's no better way to cement an understanding of how things work in an organisation – and to meet their new peers.
As a starting point, you may find it useful to draw a mindmap of the key activities involved in developing people. This can help your team visualise the scope and potential of training in your organisation. After that, think about writing your own development policy. By sharing this policy with your people and “walking the talk”, it shows you’re serious about developing them.
Once you’ve created a development policy, make sure your people know about it and understand how it affects them. It’s not just about carving out time for your team to think specifically about developing people. Get everyone involved across the board, from sharing thoughts on how development feeds into achieving your vision as an organisation, to conducting staff surveys on how people development could influence your culture and communication. Performance reviews are also an opportunity to consider any past learning activities and to plan new ones.