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What Does an Effective Learning and Development Strategy Really Look Like?

It’s time to adapt your way of thinking and embrace the future of L&D. Learning and Development needs to move with the people and the times. I have had many years of on-the-ground experience in hotel operations, management development and building authentic client relationships. Through my four years working with Summit, I have come to see the significant shift in the role of L&D, specifically over the last two years. 

How L&D Has Evolved 

As tragic as the pandemic has been, it has shaken the tree of learning and development, and allowed all the dead branches and leaves to fall off. To ensure that L&D continued without the classroom, we had to transform our way of thinking, as well as our approach, or we would either become irrelevant, or inaccessible. Through creative problem solving, we have been able to find opportunities. Learning still needed to grow during the pandemic. Infact, it became a whole lot more essential, as companies have been forced to unlearn and relearn new methods and strategies to not only thrive, but survive. Through this process, old, traditional and tired concepts fell off to make way for fresh ideas. This allowed businesses and their employees to unlearn ineffective strategies and encouraged them to move out of their comfort zones to explore creative thinking. 

To put this into perspective – the recent devastating floods that KZN have been fighting has forced us to think differently. Unpredictable weather that has been showing new dimensions will require architects and constructors to think differently so that they are prepared for the next challenge. This might mean refining and reinforcing buildings to become more sturdy, or possibly upgrading the capacity of drain pipes. New challenges are forcing us out of what we knew worked, and into a new era of thinking.

Change is inevitable and ongoing. Too many businesses are reactive to change, instead of proactive in preparation.

Benefits of a Successful L&D Strategy

Retains A-grade employees

A company built by employees who are just there for their paycheck, will unlikely see significant growth, especially when times are tough and your business requires loyal and driven employees. Learning and Development strategies are what’s going to keep your A-grade employees with your company. Employees want to learn, especially those who have a desire to make a positive impact in their job position. Providing opportunities for growth is going to attract quality talent and will allow you to place employees in the right positions where they will make the most impact. 

Contributes to a stronger brand

Effective skills development results in better performance, which equals better brand awareness. This becomes a positive cycle where brand awareness and your reputation will attract A-grade employees who are eager to learn and grow with you. People desire to be associated with brands who are well-established and known, including potential customers. 

Builds a united culture

Your company’s culture should be embedded in your L&D strategy. Skills development promotes a united culture of learning where all employees share a vision. Take my history in the International Hotel School for instance. If a hotel actively encourages employees on all levels to engage with learning, room attendants to executives will have a rich understanding of the company and their individual parts to play in moving the hotel in the same direction. 

Key Components of a Successful L&D Strategy

Know your employees

It’s important to consistently assess your employees’ performance. Measure their capacity and where they are thriving so that you can place them in the most beneficial position for your company. This might mean reskilling as you could have talent who have the core skills for a position that they might not have the technical skills for yet. Look for opportunities to make the best use of your employees.

Use technology to teach technology

Employees need to become familiar with the current technology, and the best method of teaching digital skills is through technology itself. Online learning allows staff to access lessons across multiple devices and when it won’t interrupt their work-flow. This makes learning scalable and flexible, where you can guarantee all your employees are receiving the same quality of content and delivery, and that you don’t have to compromise business productivity. 

Encourage critical thinking

It’s important to have a L&D strategy that allows employees to practise self-motivation. Effective learning stems from desired learning. If your team isn’t interested in developing their careers, you won’t see growth. Create an environment that encourages critical thinking and makes employees responsible for problem solving throughout their day-to-day. 

Lastly, poor planning is one of the most common reasons I’ve seen businesses’ learning and development strategies fail. You need to have a clear structure of how and when you are going to roll out your strategy. When are you going to do assessments, when are you going to look at staff moderation and when will you do declarations of competence? Once you know this, you can work back the rest of your plan-of-action. 

Our team here at Summit want to make this process and your goals as easy and achievable as possible. If you don’t even know what your goals are yet, we know what questions to ask in order to discover them. Get in touch with us today to start the conversation!

About the Author

Nathi Ndlovu

My name is Nathi Ndlovu and I am excited to be part of Summit. I come from a Hospitality background from waiter to General Manager of different hotels and lodges. 

It has always been my passion to train and develop individuals in the organisation. Every lodge or hotel I managed – I left a mark of development. That excites me. 

All my hospitality studies have been with The International Hotel school, having acquired Diploma in Hospitality Management and CHA by the American Hotels and Lodging Institute. 

Further to my hospitality qualifications. I have studied and obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Educational Management and Leadership.

My role at summit includes:

  • Build and maintain relationships with clients and other learning partners.
  • Responsible for Senior facilitators in all regions 
  • Ensure that learning continues to the benefit of the learner and the host employers.
  • Compiles and sends monthly reports to clients