There is a great deal of emphasis placed on onboarding and initial training programmes to get new starters up to speed in their new role. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that the opportunity for learning and development comes to an end once these new employees are deemed sufficiently trained for the role they are filling.
Consequently, career growth opportunities are scarce, and employees must simply rely on getting a promotion or taking on more job responsibilities in their current role.
Indeed, the type of career growth opportunities that many employees covet today include learning and development programmes that explore more than just the skills required of them in their current role. It’s not uncommon to find that employers often tend to steer clear of promoting this because of the fear that the staff they are training will subsequently just take their new-found skills to another employer. But this is both out-dated and short-sighted. If job retention is your concern, it’s highly likely that not providing growth opportunities will be more damaging as employees will look elsewhere if they’re not being given the chance to grow beyond their existing role.
Listen to your employees
The best place to start when considering growth opportunities for your employees is to have an open discussion with them. Take the time to understand what your employee’s career goals are and use this feedback to build a personalised learning plan. Doing this not only ensures your employees feel like they have a voice but also makes it easier for you to create the best lessons/content for courses.
Try organising a quarterly ‘career goals’ meeting or host an open discussion group with those in the same job role or department. Similarly, you could use the social features in your LMS to facilitate an open discussion forum page. Take note of what is mentioned or frequently asked for and again, use this to mould your learning and development programmes.
Using the full functionalities of a performance management platform such as Totara’s Perform (part of Totara’s powerful e-learning platform) enables you to monitor the performance and development needs of learners. This is a great platform to use when working with your employees on their career growth. You can keep track of their goals as discussed, assign them unique or role-based tasks, monitor their progression and use this platform for their evaluation. Bolstering your LMS in this way ensures you both have clear insight into how they are developing, where they are excelling and where they need more help before moving forward in their role.
Readily available content
Thanks to the visibility that comes with using an LMS, employees no longer need to rely on their employers to allocate career growth opportunities. As long as your LMS has a library of readily available content and learning programmes, employees can self-enrol on to their desired courses.
Self-directed learning takes the pressure off both the employee and employer as there are fewer expectations. Giving your employees the freedom to choose the skills they want to learn allows them to explore career paths they may not have otherwise considered. Using LMS report functions, you can monitor what courses your learners have enrolled themselves in and how well they are progressing. Use this data to recognise employees who you think would be a good fit for new job roles that align with their completed learning programmes.
Identifying skill gaps
Having readily available content isn’t just useful for those wishing to expand beyond their current career path, it’s also instrumental in helping those maintain the skills needed in their current role. If an employee wishes to progress to a more senior position in their chosen field, then it’s essential they are well equipped with the necessary skills.
If skill gaps haven’t been identified naturally, you can use quizzes or tests to see where improvements are needed. These are easy to create using your LMS and you can then use the reporting data to identify where further training is required and suggest a learning plan for them accordingly.
Building a personalised learning path
Personalising learning plans for individual employees is one of the most effective ways to create career growth opportunities whilst ensuring their training is in line with your business learning and development goals.
Achieving this is not as time consuming as it needs to be with the use of automations in your LMS. A learning plan can be assigned right from the start of their employment in your business or learners can be added to a plan at any time. Automations take a number of variables into account such as job role, skill level, or courses completed to automatically assign a learner onto the relevant learning path, based on the rules created by the administrator.
With an LMS such as Totara Learn, employees can use their customised dashboard to see courses they have been enrolled on but also add their own if they choose (and are allowed to by LMS admin!). Once learning has been completed, a new course or learning pathway can be automatically assigned to them. Try assigning a refresher course a few months down the line. You can use the reporting data from this to evaluate whether they are ready to take on new responsibilities and progress further in their role.
The impact of new technology
The fast-paced nature of technology development has transformed the ‘working world’ in many ways and, this is having a significant impact on today’s job opportunities. On one hand, technology has created a huge number of roles, particularly digital workplace roles. On the other hand, technological advancements have meant some jobs have become redundant or resulted in fewer available positions. For example, the rise in the number of self-service checkouts in supermarkets requires fewer staff working on tills.
As a result of the effect technology is having on the working world, many people have had to adapt accordingly to ensure their career has longevity. Some may have decided to reskill and follow a different career path, or some might have realised it is necessary to expand their skill set to meet the revised skill requirements within their current role. This is worth keeping in mind as an employer as it could easily lead to job resignations if you don’t satisfy an employee’s need for skill expansion.
Ensure your staff have reason to stay within your organisation by creating opportunities for them to learn the new ‘in demand’ skills. Take the time to find out what is required of the roles that have been transformed by reliance on new technology and create training programmes to help them develop these new skills.
This will not only benefit your employee but also your business as you’ll undoubtedly need someone with these skills in the long run.
The next step
The key takeaway here is that the successful implementation of career opportunities relies on a symbiotic relationship between employee and employer. Employees need to be heard whilst also being given the chance to grow and develop by their employer. In the end, the business benefits from having employees with a wider range of skills and a desire to stay in their employment.
Employee career growth is at the heart of a good LMS. Not only does it host the content, be it internal or external, that provides the necessary learning resources, but the data and the dashboards that you have at your fingertips gives your managers the best information to manage progress and performance. And when the LMS is integrated with HR, collaboration, and performance management tools, it becomes a very powerful e-learning platform. Investing in your employees will not only improve their skills but, as their performance grows, so does your business.
Take note of all the functionalities you require to achieve your new learning and development strategy and if your current system doesn’t deliver on these, reach out to one of our experts today for a no nonsense, no obligation conversation. As a Totara Platinum Alliance Partner and Moodle expert, we design and deliver high quality e-learning solutions for leading UK businesses and organisations, building lasting relationships so that they can realise the full potential of their learning and development projects.