Get to Know Your Employees to Develop Personalized Learning
In our personal lives and our work lives, personalization is in, indifference is out. We’re living in a time when personalization rules. Netflix serves up the shows and movies the platform thinks we will like. Facebook shows users news and ads designed just for them. Our smart speakers can distinguish different voices. Google Maps can infer we are traveling home. And don’t forget Amazon’s personalized shopping suggestions based on what we have ordered in the past.
When it comes to learning strategy, we need to create a similar personalized learning experience for employees. They have it for their entertainment and shopping choices, why shouldn’t personalization follow them to learning and development options at work, too?
Employees Crave Personalized Learning
But to create the personalized learning experience employees want and that will drive performance, we have to do more than just offer a generic menu of dull training options. Organizations need to cater to each employee to offer a Netflix-like experience that shows employees personalized learning based on their learning habits. This means knowing your people’s challenges, preferences, career aspirations, and desire for learning to design a tailored learning experience.
The Big Question Employees Ask
When faced with yet another learning opportunity, our colleagues ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” It’s a valid question! Learning can no longer be a box to check or a rushed series of courses to satisfy some requirement. After all, my organization believes the learning experience is a strategy, not a product. So be clear from the start with your talent development strategies: Aim to align and design personalized learning experiences for your employees.
When we take steps to implement personalized learning, it sends a strong message to employees that your company understands:
- Daily roadblocks and challenges employees face
- Learning preferences for each person
- Career dreams
- Craving for learning that matters to each person
A Close Link Between Personalized Learning and Performance
Recent research by Brandon Hall Group shows a strong link exists between learning and performance. And it turns out that implementing personalized learning gives an enormous boost to high-performing organizations. These high-performing companies are onto something: They are more likely to offer personalized learning than other organizations.
The high-performing organizations said they agreed or strongly agreed that personalized learning improves the link between learning and performance for both the employee and the company. The research showed that when learning is personalized, it helps support employees in reaching their professional goals more efficiently and helping satisfy their need for continuous development.
How to Create Engaging Learning Experiences
How well do your managers know their employees? This is the first step toward designing personalized learning that shows employees the organization cares about their development as a person and an employee.
To understand employees better and what they want to learn and align it to their goals, managers should step into a coaching role. Regular one-to-one check-ins are key for this! At these valuable meetings, managers and employees can talk about learning and development aspirations, performance goals, and where they want to go next. Done correctly, one-to-ones can help connect the “why” behind learning activities.
The Role of Technology in Personalized Learning
Just like Amazon or Google Home, artificial intelligence (AI) drives modern talent development software. If your organization has invested in a talent platform, both managers and employees should add performance goals, course completions, and informal learning content sourced by the employee so the platform’s AI can make personalized learning recommendations. Use this system to adjust and align employee goals in pursuit of personalized employee learning experiences.
Think Like a Learning Designer
At this point, your managers now know their employees better. They know what their people want for the future, both within their job roles and career aspirations. Now, it’s time to think like a learning designer.
Personalized learning thrives on great, accessible content. So how do people seek out learning in your company? Remember that employees have given your managers goals, interests, and career dreams. Can they find the content they need quickly and painlessly? Consider your learning platform (if you have one): Finding content and registering for a class should be a breeze.
Take this knowledge to craft a better learning experience with tailored learning content. Analyze the courses, themes, and topics your colleagues search for in the content library. There is a treasure trove of data available if you look: Examine search terms, past completed microlearning sessions, classes, and user-generated content. Keep feeding your platform’s AI algorithm. When you do, you’ll tap into a whole new world of resulting predictive analytics and adaptive learning.
Using learning tech to bolster personalized learning matters because you want employees to feel valued and supported when they log in to your learning platform. No employee who desires to be a manager wants to find a messy list of leadership options staring at them. Instead, they would be delighted to discover one or two specific leadership training courses geared to their personal preferences.
Boost the Employee Experience with Personalized Learning
Personalized learning is one of those L&D secrets we don’t promote enough. When we create personalized learning experiences, our organizations engage learners and drive business outcomes. By tailoring our learning opportunities to our actual learners, we tap into the magic of employee engagement. So, today, plan to help your employees discover their “why” behind learning and then align it to their performance goals. When we personalize learning, everyone succeeds.
As Saba’s vice president of People and Learning, Mary Stanton is an HR leader with nearly 20 years of experience in building and developing high-performing teams. She enthusiastically collaborates with colleagues to develop and implement new strategies and organizational structure to drive increased productivity and efficiencies. Stanton earned her Juris Doctorate (JD) at Santa Clara University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in Economics at College of the Holy Cross. She is a member of the California State Bar. She also is certified in 360-Degree Feedback for Managers and Executives and is a Myers-Brigg (MBTI) Certified Facilitator. Past leadership includes positions at EMC, Siebel Systems (an Oracle company), and PeopleSoft.