Maximize Learning and Development Programs in the Workforce: Summertime Strategies for Business Success
How you can seize the summer and empower employees for future growth.
During the summer, many companies function with skeleton teams as many employees take PTO. With team members in and out of the office, there is not much need for a large employee training initiative. However, the silver lining of more people out of the office is the opportunity for leadership to evaluate and refine learning and development programs for the fall. HR can also pursue creative strategies during the summer so learning and development continue throughout the year.
These strategies not only support employees, but they also keep businesses competitive. According to the LinkedIn 2023 Workplace Learning Report, skill sets for jobs have shifted by about 25% in the past eight years, with the number expected to reach 50% by 2027. It is no surprise almost nine in 10 learning and development professionals told LinkedIn that proactively building employees’ skills will assist in navigating the future of work. Leaders can be proactive in their business by introducing remote learning options and a learning partner program, pursuing leader development and planning ahead during the summer months.
Offer remote options
During the summer, employees may take advantage of flexible scheduling arrangements to work remotely. As a result, in-person learning and development programs may attract lower attendance and see diminished impact. To ensure employees still have access to learning and development opportunities, businesses can offer remote options.
A variety of free and paid resources for learning exists online, but whatever learning platform businesses choose to use, the most important step is to educate employees about their options. Communicate with employees throughout the summer and encourage them to set goals for learning and development with their managers. The summertime slowdown can give employees opportunities to gain needed skills, which can help them hit the ground running once business picks up in the fall.
Consider a learning partner program
Businesses have long recognized the benefits of “buddy system” programs at work to help new employees learn from a more experienced colleague. The “buddy system” approach has similar benefits from a learning and development perspective, allowing employees to learn from and motivate one another during the summer months.
Learning partner programs can be highly flexible with summer schedules. Because the focus is on exchanging information between only two employees, partners can find times which work for them. Each learning partner is free to focus on a subject relevant to their own job duties but gains the benefits of their partner’s knowledge.
Focus on leader development
The summer is often the slowest time of the year, allowing managers and leaders the opportunity to focus on their own development. Businesses should not let the opportunity go to waste. In a reflection of the need for leader development across the board, approximately 90% of respondents to the Deloitte 2023 Global Human Capital Trends agreed leadership capabilities are important to their organization’s success, but only 23% thought their leaders capable of managing their organization in unpredictable times.
That makes summer an essential time to focus on leader development. Whether internal or external, leadership development programs will leverage slower months for maximum gain. While managers need a chance to rest, too, learning itself can help leaders to revitalize, relax and resharpen their skills ahead of busy season.
READ: Mastering Leadership — Top Tips for New Business Owners to Empower and Guide Their Teams for Success
Prepare for the fall
As much opportunity exists to elevate learning and development during the summer slowdown, leaders should recognize the biggest gains are fall through spring, when employees are more present. Summer is optimal for planning and for redeveloping training materials, especially if businesses expect new hires or interns to join their team in the fall.
Leaders can use the summer to review training programs, survey employees on their effectiveness and think holistically about skills gaps in their workforce. When critical employees are out for summer PTO, managers may also become aware of areas where their teams need additional training. They can then perfect training materials to close these skills gaps in the fall.
Learning and development is an essential element of business success. Remote learning options, learning partner programs, leader development and preparation for the fall are the most effective summer strategies for learning success. By using the summer strategically, leaders can ensure their employees have the skills they need to succeed.
Niki Jorgensen is a Managing Director of Client Implementation with Insperity, a leading provider of human resources offering the most comprehensive suite of scalable HR solutions available in the marketplace. For more information about Insperity, call 800-465-3800 or visit www.insperity.com.