How to build a learning and development culture into an operational business
We need only catch a television screen or scroll through social media to detect that the security industry is changing, by virtue of the evolving risk environment we are now operating in.
As the industry changes, it stands to reason that we need to adapt our approach and none more so than when it comes to learning and the development of the workforce.
The media with which we learn and access information have also changed, dictating a shift in the way in which training interventions are designed and implemented – so how might we bring an updated approach to training, into a continually evolving and operationally driven industry?
The key is through engagement, at every level of the business.
Learning and development approach
Demonstrating understanding of the business and the climate in which training needs to be facilitated is crucial to the credibility of the learning and development approach. This requires real clarity of expectation from the business as to what is expected from any one individual and paints a picture of what success looks like.
My introduction of a competency-based approach has helped to clearly articulate what success looks like for all employees in our business. This has fed through to an emphasis on performance development rather than performance management, enabling the workforce to regularly review and understand their contribution. Crucially, this means talking about careers, not just jobs, for our people.
Making training’s impact commercial and viable for all employees, but in particular the developers of people in your business, ensures the buy-in of all key stakeholders and ensures the relevance of the approach, content and implementation method. By emphasising ‘hard skills’ and their direct correlation to business success, managers can effectively set the tone for adoption of new skills and commitment to personal development.
There are practical considerations also. For highly operational, often remote working employees, any learning and development initiatives need to be built around a flexible, little and often approach, with a focus on the embedding and transition of skills from the classroom (be it literal or virtual) to the workplace. Consideration should then be given to how this can be measured, again encouraging a blended approach to this assessment.
Using blended learning solutions or approaches that revolve around the role an individual does and include facilitator-led content where it’s most valuable, works well, especially when complemented by online learning modules that enable the development of a remote and 24/7 workforce.
Rewards and recognition
Reward and fulfilment are an important part of the chemistry for successful development programmes also; incentives can be very effective but need to be authentic, supportive and realistic, ensuring the focus remains on achievement rather than encouragement to adopt new skills.
Recognition through industry relevant and objective qualifications, such as Securitas’ City & Guilds Accredited Training Academy, provides this level of engagement and motivation, ensuring that a development focussed approach is apparent throughout all levels of the business. What more compelling learning outcome could a business need?
Head of Learning and Development