I've been in talent development for the past two years and up-skilling an organization is no easy feat. Even if your organization can find the budget, getting employees to commit to learning and development can be harder than organizing and delivering the content. 

Although building awareness and lobbying for a budget is tough enough, talent development professionals must also face a couple of more pressing challenges according to 200 executives surveyed in LinkedIn's most recent Workplace Learning Report. 

When asked "What do you think are the top challenges for the talent development team?", these were the two concerns that rose to the top: 

1. Getting employees to make the time for development. 

When days are already packed full of conflicting priorities, adding another seemingly less important task of learning and development is wishful thinking for most.

When employees feel pressured to keep up with an increasing workload, development goals often find themselves on the back burner. When faced with the choice of staying on top of work deadlines or learning, most employees see the decision to work as the lesser of two evils-- unless managers get involved. 

To encourage employees to prioritize their development, managers have to make a conscious effort and stress the importance of learning. If not, employees will continue to see development opportunities as disruptions that are not critical to their progress. 

In my experience, the leaders who made learning a priority by adding development to employee goals, pursing team-based development opportunities, and enlisting the help of their talent development department to create custom learning plans saw the most progress. 

Without their manager's support, employees will never make the time to grow-- and, it's time well spent. In addition to acquiring skills essential to their effectiveness, LinkedIn found that 94 percent of employees would stay at their company longer if it provided career development. 

2. Employee growth mindset. 

Inspiring a growth mindset was made popular by Google. Through its manager research, Google found that leaders who possessed a growth mindset were disproportionately more effective than their peers. 

A growth mindset, a term coined by Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University, is the simple belief that intelligence and talent can be cultivated over time. Or in other words, life is a learning process. 

I know, it doesn't sound like a huge revelation. However, Google found that simply believing you can evolve makes you more eager to learn, challenge yourself, and experiment-- which eventually boosts potential and performance.

Establishing a growth mindset requires managers to acknowledge and embrace imperfections, view challenges as opportunities, and value the process over the end result. In a world where mistakes are often scrutinized and mocked, this is no easy task. 

If organizations want to realize the benefits of learning and development, then they'll have to encourage employees to devote time to learning and view failure in a different light. 

Published on: Nov 28, 2018
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