Shana Bosler
Director, Coaching,
Learning & Development
Emergenetics International

Your employees need to keep learning to stay engaged and be successful in these challenging and changing times. Since the onset of COVID-19, teams have had to regularly adapt their work, refocus their energies and develop different skills to support their company’s new direction.

On the one hand, the prospect of learning is exciting. In fact, providing opportunities for growth is one of the top two factors to keep staff happy and motivated at work. On the other hand, learning also takes up a precious resource: time. 61% of employees see time as a barrier to their development. Given that staff tend to put in additional hours when working from home, they may be feeling even more stretched thin with the work arrangements brought on by the pandemic.

While we know that development is important, it can be difficult to make time for it if managers don’t demonstrate that growth is a priority and can be weaved into a typical work week. To help your employees integrate learning into their flow of work, try implementing these nine practices.

One Simple Step for Managers: Ask staff to share a weekly learning with you.

We are constantly discovering new things and gaining important knowledge and skills – whether they are related to work, life or both! By calling attention to the learning and making it an expectation for development to be part of your week, your staff can start to see the ways they are growing and keep advancement at the forefront of their minds.

Start by asking staff to share a weekly learning in your one-on-one meetings, in an email or as a part of your regular team gatherings.

Eight Bonus Tips to Help Managers Integrate Learning into the Flow of Work

1. Set development goals with performance metrics.

Professional growth is good for individuals and organizations. Particularly in a time of dramatic change, it’s important that our team members continue to build new skills to stay engaged and support evolving business demands. As you set goals with your direct reports, make sure at least one focuses on a development objective.

2. Create learning lists with your team.

In every one of our fields, work is transforming. By gathering the perspectives of your entire group, you can build a list of topics or talents that they want to learn more about. Through lunch and learns, sharing articles or connecting with knowledgeable staff members in your company, you can help your staff chip away at relevant topics and encourage growth.

3. Lead the way.

Demonstrate that learning is a priority by walking the talk. Sign up for trainings and webinars or read relevant articles during working hours. Then, share the insights you glean from these experiences. By integrating learning into your day-to-day practices, you can encourage staff to do the same.

4. Carve out time for development on your team’s calendars.

Set a team norm to dedicate a certain amount of time to growth and block it off on your calendars. Identify relevant trainings for the whole group based on previous performance assessments as well as your staff’s learning list. You can also partner with your Learning & Development (L&D) team to come up with ideas for individuals or your entire staff.

If you’re interested in supporting your team with relevant trainings to maximize their dynamics, communication, collaboration and performance, I invite you to explore Emergenetics®’ workshops for teams.

5. Identify and share relevant newsletters.

While there are a lot of programs your team may use on a daily basis, email likely remains one of the most common. Encourage your employees to sign up for newsletters that you find useful and relevant for your industry, function or simply a topic that speaks to your staff’s growth goals.

6. Encourage cross-training and job shadowing.

With the changes brought on by the pandemic, we have increasingly seen companies employ smaller teams that wear many hats. That alone can necessitate a lot of on-the-job learning. You can make the process easier by pairing up employees on your team for dedicated cross-training time or working with other managers to see what your staff can learn from each other. You may also reach out to your L&D team to help facilitate these sessions.

7. Celebrate learning in action.

Recognize growth in your team and one-on-one meetings. The acknowledgements can be simple, such as sending a thank you note to a staff member for training their colleague on a new system, or more ambitious like hosting a virtual happy hour after your direct report passes an important exam. The point is to regularly acknowledge how your staff has grown and celebrate them for making learning a priority.

8. Actively partner with your Human Resources or L&D teams.

I have mentioned L&D a few times throughout the post, and they merit a specific shout out. Your Human Resources or L&D teams likely have a lot of content, activities, trainings or ideas to help your employees learn and grow. Be sure to reach out to these groups to see what offerings are readily accessible to support your staff.

The skills and talents we need to thrive in the future are rapidly evolving, so organizations need to make development more than a priority. It should be a standard part of your employees’ work week. By providing your staff with tools to integrate learning into their day-to-day, you can engage your team members and support their success.

Learn more about how Emergenetics can support the learning journeys of your team members. Click here to explore our introductory workshops or fill out the form below to speak with an Emergenetics team member today.