Rethinking the Learner-Centric Model in the Workplace

Employee development provides a fundamental solution to every employer’s major concern – a sustainable workforce. That’s why big companies cheerfully spend tens of billions of dollars yearly to provide modest employee training, even without harvesting up to one-third of the intended result. The problem is: the corporate system is constantly evolving and little is being done to comply with the entire change with respect to employees’ behavior. A learner-centric model in the workplace is playing a huge role in trailing a befitting employee training system. But that’s not all an office should provide to effectively promote employee development.

The emergence of varied employee training options has led to a wider choice of management by human resource chiefs in employee development and advancement procedures. These preferences have not only provided a path to improve employee engagement and management strategies but have grossly reshaped recruitment insights by leading campaigns for fresh talent hunt over experienced candidates.

Employee development-focused culture, which deploys the learner-centric model, critically integrates the employees’ interest with the company’s goal for effective synergy that seamlessly drives productivity. It aims at developing employee autonomy and independence by allowing them to be responsible for their development path by providing supportive systems and imparting them with the basic knowledge and rudiments on how to acquire specific skill necessary for credible performance in their respective roles. The learner-centric model focuses on practices that activate independent problem-solving and consistent learning regardless of the employees’ hierarchy and level of experience.

The Importance of learner-centric model in the workplace

A development model that allows the employees to play a major role in the course of their training promotes their confidence and the viability of their engagement. When the method of development is flexible, the employees can practice or train at their best moments, leveraging the right learning pace and method of information assimilation. Employees are also challenged to commit more because they are able to find areas to focus on and to easily evaluate their performance based on job requirements and the provided support system. Enhanced creativity, improved productivity, and efficient resources management are other benefits of learner-centered employee development policy.

Learner-centric model in the workplace aims at employee progressivism. And because the learning practice requires the employee’s critical role in creating meaning from every experience and new information, recruitment managers are tasked with bringing in candidates whose learning potentials in the various sectors cover the organizations training provisions. Training models and supportive systems could be broad or back a  gamut.

Annual employee training budget for big companies is over $13 billion, according to a report by Training Magazine. But most of them fail to reflect the qualitative training intended by the investors. Some of the new training and development techniques developed to get employees thinking outside the box include:

  • The use of fun-filled training techniques
  • Providing robust mediums of employee collaboration on projects
  • Flexible training techniques that allow employees to train at their time and pace
  • Encouraging employees to switch roles at some point
  • Sharing success stories of customers

Regardless of a company’s role in providing learner-centered training techniques, most employees do not embrace the advancement opportunity. Employee training resources can only be ineffective if employees believe that their companies prioritize creativity over productivity. A recent survey by marketing agency BKV (now DRUM) revealed that 80% of the US and UK employees feel their workplaces are more concerned about productivity. Hence, employees’ concept of training must be re-engineered to encourage their full participation and willingness to be productive. And this can be achieved by improving employee development support systems.

Methods to improve employee development support system

Create regular learning opportunities

For employees to develop professionally, consistent training and education are important. Some workers may feel reluctant to make use of these training opportunities. However, when the opportunities become regular, most employees especially millennial workers will surely utilize them. Hence, there is a need to ensure that regular company-funded training and workshops are made available to the employees.

Aside from the opportunities provided by the company, regular information on other opportunities outside the company (in the wider industry) should be made available. Let your employees see training opportunities (both within and out the company) regularly, that can only help them to develop more interest.

Show them you are interested in their development

Beyond what training represents to the company, employees appreciate when the interest becomes more personal to the senior management. HRs should endeavor to find means of communicating their personal interest to the employees. This can be achieved in spending quality time in a one-on-one meeting to interact with them. Find out their career aspirations; learn about their expectations and also their frustrations. This way, they feel you value them and have a personal interest in their career advancement. There will surely be an increased level of loyalty and productivity when this happens.

As regarding the company, give a personal hand to your staff on how to navigate professionally through the company. Support them to build their future at the organization. And regularly communicate clear opportunities for career advancement to them. This will cause them to get more engaged and empowered.

Establish mentoring teams

Mentoring teams most times do bridge the gap between the top management and the employees when training is concerned. With an effective mentoring program established by the company, the staff interest in learning can be increased. Through this program, senior employees are afforded the opportunity to pass-on valuable insights and professional guidance to junior colleagues. They also benefit from the junior staff in terms of fresh perspectives and technological know-how. It will be a smart move to establish a mentoring program as a means of supporting employee development. This is because it works both for the employees’ advancement and the company’s overall growth.

Try internal role rotation

Nothing awakens the mind more than new challenges. For workers, the new challenges can only come through job rotation. When employees’ daily routine is spiced up with internal job rotation, they naturally thrive. Your staff should be encouraged to take up roles in different positions related to theirs. As they do that, they acquire more personal skills and also have a better understanding of the company. Also, as they learn and improve, they develop a more informed, motivated and well-rounded team of workers for the company.

Support work-life balance

While working hard is important for career growth, there is a need for an emphasis on the importance of maintaining a balanced life. The fact remains that activities outside work can affect the development interest level of your employees. Hence, there is a need to ensure that every employee does maximize their efficiency and time to enable them to carry out other activities outside of work. To assist them in this, flexible policies that afford staff time for rest and vacations can be deployed to improve employee development.

Balance brings freshness and eliminates avoidable stress from employees. It gives employees time to do office work, carries out outside-work activities and also utilizes available professional training opportunities. Surely, a balanced work-life increases staff morale and interest.

Give appraisals

Employees can be so much engaged in work that they rarely realize the impact of their effort to the organization. An appraisal is a necessary part of work. Assumptions should not be made that they are already aware of the value of their contribution to the company. When appraisals are done, employees are informed of the impact of their contributions to the growth of the company and better appraise themselves. The reminder adds a fresh sense of value and purpose to their role. It breeds in them the motivation and encouragement to increase efforts and sacrifices. For organizations that contributions result to career growth, employees will develop a new interest to build their career through an increased contribution and responsibility.

Let them climb the Leadership ladder

Every organization should have a designed plan that allows their leaders to grow internally. Rather than seeking new hands to take up a vacant role, already existing employees can be groomed to take up such a role. Giving employees such opportunity to ascend the organization’s leadership ladder means a lot to them. It shows that beyond being interested in their professional development, you are also interested in seeing them grow into leaders. When this message is sent, an employee put interest and effort to ensure they merit the next leadership role they take up in the firm. They can on their own seek to learn new skills and knowledge which they consider important for growth. This is certainly helpful to the productivity of every company.

A fundamental factor in employee development is the supporting system which must be designed to promote the employees’ interest in development. Funding employee training by increasing educational resources will not be effective if the supporting systems are not in place. Rethinking the learner-centric model in the workplace must be focused on convincing the employees that their development comes first.

Diana Coker
Diana Coker is a staff writer at The HR Digest, based in New York. She also reports for brands like Technowize. Diana covers HR news, corporate culture, employee benefits, compensation, and leadership. She loves writing HR success stories of individuals who inspire the world. She’s keen on political science and entertains her readers by covering usual workplace tactics.

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