Personalization is everywhere. Automated emails use our first names, advertisements pop up on social media based on our search history and our music playlists are tailored to our listening behaviors. Organizations are taking note as they start to apply customization beyond marketing and sales tactics and into their learning and development initiatives.
Moving away from the “one size fits all” approach, Human Resources is shifting its focus to consider individual needs, wishes and capabilities. Forbes recently published an article on seven learning and development trends to adopt in 2019, which recommends that organizations switch from content-oriented training to a learner-centric model to increase the effectiveness of their programs.
When you consider the potential impact of customization in training, it’s no wonder why professionals in the field are encouraging this method. There are numerous benefits of adopting personalization including the:
- Promotion of skills progression By adapting the learning path to an employee’s experience, current role and interests, individuals can absorb the content in a sequence that makes sense for them.
- Retention of top talent According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 93 percent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career. By focusing on what and how employees want to learn, engagement and retention are likely to increase.
- Minimization of the skills gap With the everchanging skills needed in the workplace today, customization can play an integral role in helping employees gain the necessary talents for future success.
- Support of continuous learning and a growth mindset Personalization provides an opportunity to offer ongoing learning experiences based on trending topics and interests.
There are several investments companies can make to drive a learner-centric development model, including high-tech systems powered by artificial intelligence. However, many organizations are not quite ready or able to make those investments. Even without cutting-edge technology, companies can still take a customized approach to learning and development, and I recommend two primary avenues:
- Creating tailored individual plans to support your employees’ needs
- Building larger corporate programs that engage all learning preferences
Developing Personalized Learning & Development Plans
I invite you to start by considering the individual needs of your staff. SHRM outlines a few questions to get started:
- How does the employee learn? Do they prefer interactive activities or listening to a lecture? Are they a visual or auditory learner?
- What is the employee’s learning speed? Do they like short snippets of information or a more intensive half- or full-day training session?
- What does the employee want to learn? What are the person’s interests and long-term development goals?
- What have others responded to? Research best practices and review what has worked for employees with similar styles in the past.
I would also add a fifth question:
- What is the employee’s Emergenetics® Profile? When you understand how an individual prefers to think and behave, you can further customize their training programs in a way that speaks to their learning needs.
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can begin to craft individual training and development plans that will help each employee achieve their objectives in an engaging way, and with regular check-ins you can understand what topics may need to be revisited or accelerated.
Creating Large-Scale Programs to Engage All Learners
The Emergenetics Attributes can also support personalization for broader corporate training initiatives. By speaking to the needs of each one, you can support a learner-centric approach by incorporating all styles in your content.
For example, consider how each of the Attributes typically likes to learn and then brainstorm ways to include those preferences in your training.
- Analytical: Learns through mental analysis, so offer opportunities to dive into and interpret the data
- Structural: Appreciates hands-on learning, so allow learners to practice their new skills
- Social: Learns through people, so include topic-related stories and an explanation of how the information relates to others
- Conceptual: Appreciates learning through experimenting, so provide opportunities to imagine or brainstorm
- Expressiveness: Build in time for individual reflection (first-third), while also encouraging partner work to talk through concepts (third-third)
- Assertiveness: Offer post-work to allow for individuals to expand their learning at a steady (first-third) or driving (third-third) pace
- Flexibility: Stick to the agenda (first-third) while allowing for change within some of the activities (third-third)
When you deliver a program that honors each Attribute, you can improve your odds for content retention, while also ensuring that you connect to each learning style.
Developing a high-quality training and development experience for employees is a top priority for companies today. You can easily enhance your offerings by staying up on trends and to listening to the needs of your employees. Personalizing their individual experiences will further their development, support engagement and cultivate success for your organization.
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