In any given week, employees dedicate about 1% of their time to learning and development. I did the math, during the average 40-hour workweek only 24 minutes can be carved out for learning. Yet, learning and development consistently rank as top priorities for both employers and employees.
People want to learn; they want to take advantage of on-the-job training and continuous career development programs so they can be better performers and more skilled. But the workforce today is busy and distracted. When employees are pulled into new projects and asked to take on bigger workloads, learning and development gets put on the backburner. At some point in your career, I’d be willing to bet you had to forgo a learning opportunity, or were forced to complete a training course outside of traditional work hours, because you simply didn’t have enough time during the workday. It doesn’t have to be that way. Shifting your corporate mindset to embrace and celebrate learning at work is completely doable. Here are three simple tips managers can implement today to make more time for learning.
3 tips to make learning and development a priority:
- Make learning part of the job – Learners are overwhelmed. In fact, according to Bersin by Deloitte, 2/3 of knowledge workers complain that they don’t have time to do their jobs. If they don’t have the bandwidth to do their actual jobs, they certainly won’t have time for learning. This is why making learning part of the job is critical to user adoption and success. By dedicating specific hours to employee development, and making those hours a requirement of the job, learners will actually benefit from your programs. It alleviates employee’s fear that they are wasting precious time that could otherwise be dedicated to their real workload, and eliminates the stigma that learning should happen off hours. If managers embrace learning and make it part of the job, your teams will be more engaged and more productive, and of course, more knowledgeable and better equipped to do their jobs.
- Limit the interruptions – Workers are interrupted every five minutes, and ironically enough the interruptions are often attributed to work applications and collaboration tools. Go figure. By limiting the interruptions and forcing learners to focus solely on the task at hand, they will walk always with tangible lessons learned. I recently completed an interactive training course, and if I clicked off the module at any point during the session it would pause. It was impossible to multitask! As a result, I actually paid attention to the training because I wasn’t distracted by emails and desktop alerts throughout the session. This is just one example of the dozens of different ways you can limit the interruptions during training activities so that people can completely dedicate their attention to the lesson and walk away having gained more information and skills.
- Lead by example – If managers don’t take learning seriously, employees won’t either. It is critical that value and importance of taking time for learning is communicated from the top down. Executives and managers are responsible for creating and emphasizing the mind shift that learning isn’t a hassle, it’s an opportunity. Check out one of our new whitepapers, written by Ed Nathanson, founder of Red Pill Talent, titled “How L&D Solves Retention and Attrition.” In the whitepaper, Ed covers a lot of different approaches to help you shift your organizational culture from dreading learning to celebrating learning.
What do you think? Do you have more tips on how to help organizations embrace time spent on learning? Share your feedback below!