Learning happens all the time whether or not you are fully aware of it. Are you a person who forgets to save your work on your computer on a regular basis? If a power failure occurs and you loose some data, do you learn anything? If you say to yourself, “I must remember to save more often”, you have done some learning. This type of learning is called incidental learning; you have learned without really thinking about it or meaning to. On the other hand, intentional learning happens when you engage in activities with an attitude of “what can I learn from this?” Employee development requires you to approach everyday activity with the intention of learning from what is going on around you.

Components of a successful employee learning experience

Based on adult learning principles, here is a checklist for a successful employee learning experience

  • The goals of the employee training or development program are clear
  • The employees are involved in determining the knowledge, skills and abilities to be learned
  • The employees are participating in activities during the learning process
  • The work experiences and knowledge that employees bring to each learning situation are used as a resource
  • A practical and problem-centered approach based on real examples is used
  • New material is connected to the employee’s past learning and work experience
  • The employees are given an opportunity to reinforce what they learn by practicing
  • The learning environment is informal, safe and supportive
  • The individual employee is shown respect
  • The learning opportunity promotes positive self-esteem

Who is responsible for employee training and development?

Employee training is the responsibility of the organization. Employee development is a shared responsibility of management and the individual employee. The responsibility of management is to provide the right resources and an environment that supports the growth and development needs of the individual employee.

For employee training and development to be successful, management should

  • Provide a well-crafted job description – it is the foundation upon which employee training and development activities are built
  • Provide training required by employees to meet the basic competencies for the job. This is usually the supervisor’s responsibility
  • Develop a good understanding of the knowledge, skills and abilities that the organization will need in the future. What are the long-term goals of the organization and what are the implications of these goals for employee development? Share this knowledge with staff
  • Look for learning opportunities in every-day activity. Was there an incident with a client that everyone could learn from? Is there a new government report with implications for the organization?
  • Explain the employee development process and encourage staff to develop individual development plans
  • Support staff when they identify learning activities that make them an asset to your organization both now and in the future

For employee development to be a success, the individual employee should:

  • Look for learning opportunities in everyday activities
  • Identify goals and activities for development and prepare an individual development plan

The individual development planning process

An individual development plan is prepared by the employee in partnership with his or her supervisor. The plan is based upon the needs of the employee, the position and the organization. A good individual development plan will be interesting, achievable, practical and realistic. It is implemented with the approval of the employee’s supervisor.

Taken from hrcouncil.ca