5 New Year’s Resolutions For L&D Pros (And How to Accomplish Them)

January 9, 2017

The most common challenges learning and development professionals face, and best practices to overcoming them.

The New Year is one of the best times for learning and development professionals. Employees are generally more open than ever to learning, giving L&D a great opportunity to make new inroads.

So what will you do with that opportunity?

Well, it comes down to your goal. To help, we listed out five common goals – i.e. New Year's resolutions – L&D professionals have, and an action plan on how to accomplish each one in 2017.

1. Get more people to use your learning and development program.

Probably the most common goal we hear from L&D pros is that they just want more people to use their learning programs. It makes sense, as L&D can only help people if people are engaged in what they're doing.

There are few ways to do this. You can try pull methods – marketing your program, giving recognition for learning champions, etc. Or you can do what some companies do and require all employees to set learning goals as part of their performance metrics, which results in the vast majority of your employees engaged in your learning program.

The best solution? It varies from company to company, but combining the two – having employees set learning goals while also actively marketing your learning program – generally leads to the best results.

2. Earn a “seat at the table” with the C-suite.

One common complaint we hear from L&D pros is that they rarely meet with the C-suite, or the C-suite isn’t as invested in L&D as L&D teams would like. Again, there’s a few ways to solve this.

First off, the C-suite is most interested in the outcomes your program is achieving. So, tracking and reporting on these six metrics will be a surefire way to get the attention of executives.

Additionally, you need to establish yourself as a strategic partner whenever delivering a training solution, instead of just acting as order-taker for the department head you are serving. L+D Guru Britt Andreatta gives clear direction on how to ensure that happens.

3. Make every manager at your company a great one.

A lot of training is focused on making managers more effective, and for good reason. A great manager will get the most out of their team and serve as a talent magnet, whereas a bad manager will have the exact opposite effect.

Most companies provide some sort of new manager training, so it’s more about making that as strong as possible. A good example to copy is LinkedIn’s own manager training program, which has been proven to increase manager effectiveness. 

4. Onboard employees faster and more effectively.

Another area of focus of L&D pros is onboarding employees quickly, so they can start contributing right away. We have an entire ebook dedicated to this exact issue, but the big key here – get people learning right away, so they remain engaged learners throughout their tenure with your company.

5. Increase retention – and tie it to learning.

The ultimate goal of any L&D program is to keep employees engaged and to get the absolute most of them. This is becoming increasingly more important, as millennials in particular are especially concerned about advancing their career, and learning can play a big part in retaining them.

So how do you accomplish this goal? Really, by leveraging the wisdom in the past four points. If you engage employees early with learning and keep them engaged, ensure they have great managers and have compelling metrics to see where you need to iterate and what's working, you will invariably increase the engagement and retention rate of your people.

And that’s a huge win.