Management & leadership, Personal development

How to build a Learning and Development Plan

Here are some things you should consider before creating an Organisational Learning and Development Plan.

The staff within your organisation are important, and the success of an organisation totally depends on them, and their ability to do their jobs. The responsibility of supporting staff to do their jobs does not start and end with the induction period but continues throughout a person’s time with an organisation.

The purpose of learning and development is to develop your staff’s knowledge and skills. This ensures as the organisation grows and the environment changes, staff can meet challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. Here are some things you should consider before you get started…

Don’t wait for a crisis

Successful organisations do not wait until a crisis appears, in order to develop staff. Instead, they understand that through learning and development they are equipping their staff with what they need in order to do their job today, but also moving forward into the future.  As our organisation grows and the environment in which we operate changes, staff feel able to not only meet those challenges but to also take advantage of opportunities that may present themselves.

A way that an organisation may approach learning and development within their organisation is with a learning and development plan.

This plan can be broken down into three parts:

  1. What areas do you want to develop staff in?
  2. How do you want to develop staff?
  3. Over what time period do you want to do this?

What areas do you want to develop staff in?

When putting together your learning and development plan, you will need to establish the areas you want to develop staff in. For your plan to be most effective, the areas you chose to develop staff in should align with the strategy of your organisation, and fill any skills gaps that might prevent you from achieving it.

It is important that your learning and development plan works not only to support staff right now but also in the future. You should look at what your organisation needs now, but also what it might need in 3 or 5 years time, factoring in any potential changes in plan, different areas of work that could develop, and what things might look like when you’re part-way through your current strategy.

In order for everyone within the organisation to support and take part in the plan, everyone must have an understanding of how this will support what they currently do now and help them to grow to what may be needed in the future. And this needs to be understood across all levels of the organisation, and incorporate learning and development from a practical level to a more strategic level.

Ensure that you involve key managers in communicating and gathering, the information you need to include and inform the learning and development plan. Using your performance management system (annual appraisals), training analysis and feedback from 1-1s will help to identify skills gaps and needs, especially if there are any specific training needs you be aware of.

How do you want to develop staff?

There are very many different ways in which staff can be developed, for example:

  • Acting in absence – Work Shadowing
  • Face-to-face training – Live online training
  • Online pre-recorded videos – Ted talks
  • Podcasts – Books
  • Conferences – Panel discussions
  • Lectures – Coaching
  • Mentoring – Peer review groups

The options an organisation chooses will vary and may incorporate a few different ways of delivery, understanding individual learning styles and learning needs will help when making this decision. This is also where the use of appraisals, regular 1-1 and the involvement of managers is important, managers know their staff.

An effective monitoring and feedback system will also need to be implemented, having measurement tools in place, will let you know if things are working and how. This can be through staff surveys or if someone goes on a course how does that work into their key performance monitoring indicators and conversations they may have in their 1-1’s.

Over what time period do you want to do this?

For many organisations, the learning and development plan will be an annual plan, but it really depends on your individual organisation and the organisational strategy. You may prefer to have a plan that happens over a 3-5 year period, which you review on an annual basis, but is implemented and monitored by your learning and development team throughout the whole period.

If you’d like to learn more about building a positive work-life culture in your organisation, join us at our upcoming conference, Developing and Elevating your Staff, happening on Wednesday 26 October.