Guest Writer Louisa from Find Courses chats about how having a Leanring and Development strategy will foster a culture of innovation in the workplace…
“Investing in a strong and creative L&D strategy is the surest way to foster a culture of innovation in the workplace, by creating agile structures that promote safe spaces where trust and idea sharing can thrive.
Here are a few choice L&D initiatives to boost innovations featured in findcourses.com’s 2019 L&D Report, which includes interviews with L&D professionals from companies like Bayer, EY and Bonobos, who share their different strategies to push innovation in their companies.
CREATE SAFE SPACES TO FORGE TRUST AND IDEA SHARING
Innovation needs a safe space to thrive, where employees can take risks without fear of repercussions, and this is a top priority at Bonobos, where Tiffany Poppa is the Director of Employee Experience.
“Focusing on strengths creates trust; it creates a safe space to try something and possibly fail, have a conversation about it, and move forward” says Poppa about the Bonobos work culture, which prioritizes the nurture of individual strengths over developing hard skills.
“Our strengths-based approach has effectively fostered a culture of collaboration and open communication because it celebrates the individual.”
The Bonobos experience establishes a connection between forging trust and an innovative workplace, but it’s essential to create programs that focus on open communication and idea sharing if innovation is to thrive.
Dani Chang, Training Manager at CyberCoders, explains how their Associate Recruiter Incubator Program is an attempt at this. He describes how it has greatly contributed to “a culture of idea-sharing and cohesiveness” at CyberCoders and has resulted in “all prior generations of Associate Recruiters coming together to foster a culture of support and innovation.”
BUILD AGILE STRUCTURES
The nature of organizations is one of constant change, which is why flexible L&D programs should also be a priority when developing a culture of innovation.
This is the focus of Wyndham’s corporate academy, Destination U, which incorporates the need for adaptability in their L&D strategy without compromising quality due to the size of their workforce, which amounts to 25,000 employees in 110 countries.
EY’s Audit Academy is another L&D institution that’s designed to be nimble by tailoring their training programs to the individualized present needs of their employees.
“That personalization can come either from our professionals accessing required content at the right time for them, or from choosing specific content relevant for their role and the clients they’re working on,” says Martin Hayter, Global Assurance Learning Leader for EY.
Agile L&D programs that make learning more effective and efficient can be the key in managing the ever-changing nature of corporations.
EXPERIMENT AND RECALIBRATE
Taking risks and innovation go hand in hand, and the results grant many companies their competitive edge.
This is true for pharmaceutical giant Bayer where pushing the limits is the rule, as is made evident by Karen Bicking, Head of US Learning & Talent Development at Bayer, who in 2018 led an action learning program that focused on leadership, which had immediate results.
“We took some leaders and they delivered some work on some projects that were outside of their normal space,” Bicking explains.
“They gained experience beyond their regular role and gained exposure to senior leaders. We’ve seen a great outcome from that with a number of them being promoted already even though the program has just concluded.”
But risk taking can be perilous, which is why Bayer has established measures to constantly re-examine and recalibrate their programs. This is at the core of all world-leading innovation initiatives and is what sets companies like Bayer apart.
MAKE THE CONNECTION
The connection between L&D and innovation is not always evident, and so it falls to L&D departments to make it so by devising learning-based activities where innovation is the goal.
These might include a speaker series with innovators in your industry, a course on design thinking, or hack-a-thons where employees can retreat from daily duties and focus on improving their organization.
According to findcourses.co.uk’s 2019 L&D Report, investing in talent development is directly linked to employee satisfaction and retention rates, which makes these initiatives even more crucial because they are a proven way to better employee welfare by making learning more engaging and even fun.”
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