Designing an L&D offering that both attracts candidates and retains existing talent
These days, employees consider learning and development (L&D) an important part of their rewards and benefits package. The current economic and social conditions mean it’s a candidate’s market, and many organisations are turning their focus towards keeping and growing their talented people. In short, with the skills shortage rendering vacant positions difficult to fill, L&D has become a powerful retention lever for businesses.
As a result, we at Let’s Talk Talent (LTT) have seen many organisations increase their yearly L&D budget. But designing an attractive L&D package isn’t just about purchasing additional courses and seeing what sticks.
Employees now expect to learn in a way that fits their learning style, their career goals and their schedule. As Jo Taylor, MD at LTT says: “It’s about resources, not courses.”
This is why our client Harper Collins UK (HCUK) asked LTT to help them revamp their learning and development strategy and create a culture of continuous learning.
Here’s how we managed it.
In this article:
- Creating a modern learning and development package for staff
- Reviewing the business’s L&D strategy
- Identifying L&D objectives
- Implementing a modern L&D blended approach
- Applying marketing principles to the L&D strategy
- Tracking the success of the L&D materials
- Keeping a learning & development strategy alive
The challenge: creating a modern learning and development package for staff
“This revamp wasn’t born out of negative feedback. We were out-of-date and we wanted to do better by our people,” said John Athanasiou, Director of People at HarperCollins UK, and this was music to our ears.
The organisation was keen to make its L&D strategy more relevant and increase its effectiveness. Whilst quite comprehensive, the business’s offering was geared towards face-to-face courses and utilised external trainers. This structure tended to favour employees based in the London head office, while the rest of the staff throughout the UK had limited options.
Training events were also time-consuming and delivered over several days, which discouraged time-poor employees, and didn’t encourage staff to take responsibility for their own development as they had to first obtain permission from their manager before signing on.
So the big question was, how could LTT come in and help HCUK’s talent unlock their full potential?
Reviewing the business’s learning and development strategy
As usual when approaching any organisational issue, we started with an audit of the business and its employees’ needs.
Depending on the type of project, this phase can range from a few onboarding sessions to an in-depth review of every touchpoint that forms part of the employee experience. Here, we proceeded with an initial workshop to clearly define objectives and find collaborative ways to work together with our client’s HR team.
We then conducted a thorough review of HCUK’s L&D resources and training content, and sent out a company-wide employee survey to understand more about people’s learning preferences.
Identifying the business’s learning and development objectives
Following the above discovery phase, three key areas of focus were identified:
- We needed to make it easier for staff to proactively seek out development opportunities that matched their skillset, interests, and career ambitions, thus giving them the opportunity to take charge of their own career progression.
- We should allow people to decide how and when they prefer to learn, and make it easier to integrate learning into a typically busy workload.
- We needed to widen access to training to the company’s geographically diverse talent pool.
Implementing a modern blended L&D approach
The only way to reach the above objectives was to design a modern, blended L&D offering that would combine face-to-face delivery with curated online content. Something we called the HCUK iDevelop Academy.
The platform needed to support several resource types and formats, which is why we decided to use Looop as a technology partner fairly early on.
Utilising an out-of-the-box solution would facilitate the initial setup of the Academy, reduce ongoing operating and maintenance costs as well as provide HCUK’s people with fun and innovative new features on a regular basis. The HR team would also get the benefit of user activity data.
We quickly realised that migrating content onto an online platform was only the beginning.
The new Academy needed to generate staff attraction, help grow and retain current employees, and position HCUK as a great place to work. To do this, we needed to determine which types of content would work best, and generate engagement and an appetite for learning.
We quickly established that user-generated content was both popular and effective, so we collaborated with a wide range of in-house talent to produce fun, dynamic, and relevant learning materials.
The content featured everyone from the CEO to editorial directors, agents and authors, and came in all shapes and sizes, including webinars, podcasts, video series, blogs, and other courses. All of which were built mobile-first, allowing employees to absorb bite-sized information and to learn on the go.
Applying marketing principles to promote an L&D strategy
In order to generate a true culture shift, we needed to ensure everything we did had HCUK’s employees in mind.
We therefore used marketing principles to create a compelling push campaign strategy that would generate a buzz about the new L&D platform, as well as continued interest after the initial launch phase. Once the iDevelop Academy was launched, we regularly promoted new resources and alerted staff each time new functionalities were added to their learning hub.
Tracking the success of the L&D materials
Creating and launching the iDevelop Academy was only the beginning. Together with the HCUK HR team, we wanted to continually improve both the content featured, and the way it was delivered.
Our chosen technology platform allowed us to do just that by providing an abundance of data, which was then used to flag low attendance courses, drop out points, or negative feedback. The content hosted is still optimised on a regular basis and the library of resources is kept fresh and relevant by a dedicated team.
This continuous feedback loop also led to the recent creation of new learning pathways, including a ‘wellbeing hub’ as well as an ‘equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) hub’.
A focus on continuous learning
HCUK’s iDevelop Academy is still going strong and is one of LTT’s longest-standing projects. We are extremely proud to have helped transform learning from a mandatory one-off task to a stimulating, engaging learning environment for the people of HarperCollins UK.
And the results speak for themselves, with a recommendation rate above 90% from users, and a 50% reduction in the L&D cost per head for the organisation. What’s more, over 80% of the business has engaged with the platform since its launch.
What made this initiative so successful?
“Client commitment,” says Jo, without hesitation. “We worked like partners in crime. Our client trusted the process, and allowed us to innovate and experiment, so we could find the perfect formula.”
A dedication to continuous improvement was also crucial. Whilst building the platform was a huge step, keeping it alive was just as important.
If you would like to discuss an audit of your L&D approach, do not hesitate to book a call with us. Alternatively, feel free to download our free L&D whitepaper or to visit our Learning and Development Strategy services page for some additional material.
Related Learning & Development resources that you might find useful:
- Your recipe for a successful L&D Strategy [Free Whitepaper]
- How to use virtual coaching as part of your L&D kitbag [Blog Post]
- How L&D Can Improve Your Employee Experience [Blog Post]
- What is L&D? And why is it important? [Blog Post]
- The 27 best online L&D tools [Blog Post]
- What is L&D? [YouTube]
- Make the most of Learning at Work Week [Blog Post]
- Why Learning at Work Week should be top of your L&D priority list [Blog Post]
- 10 ways to modernise your Learning and Development strategy for the modern workforce [Blog Post]