Boost staff learning and development for stronger growth

Boost staff learning and development for stronger growth

Upskill staff to keep them engaged and on track during times of change

CEOs are paying extra attention to staff learning and development to ensure workers refresh their skills and stay motivated. Skills are the lifeblood for businesses, says the Institute of Directors’ spokesperson. “Ensuring staff development doesn't fall by the wayside has been one of the big challenges during this pandemic.” 

How do workers learn?

According to the 70-20-10 Model for Learning and Development, this is how we learn:

  • 70% from job-related experiences
  • 20% from interactions with others
  • 10% from formal educational events

70% is experiential, face-to-face contact at work, 20% is social or peer-to-peer learning, mentoring, feedback and relationships with colleagues, while the remaining 10% is formal learning through things like training sessions. 

The 70-20-10 model means that business leaders have to find different ways to train staff optimally. Read on for our advice and examples from business leaders on how to prioritise learning and development. 

Get new starters up to speed

Common challenges for new team members are onboarding new platforms, understanding new ways of working and making inroads with colleagues. The ‘70’ portion of the 70-20-10 model means new starters need face-to-face contact to learn on the job – use the office to train new staff and introduce them to colleagues.

This is important for service-led companies. Under the Doormat, a short-term and holiday rental company based at The Light Bulb in Wandsworth, has adopted this approach. Kate Liberty, head of growth, says, “We have a new team member joining next week, we will be doing all training sessions in person, so that they can understand and get a feel of our team culture. It’s hard to feel part of a team you’ve never met.”

Frequent catch-ups with colleagues and managers, alongside digital learning tools, can help. Dave Barnett is managing director at media agency, December19, based at Clerkenwell Workshops. He says, “Courses are fine but overhearing conversations day-to-day and being able to chat and ask questions is important too. If you’ve got a problem you need to solve, speak to your team to flesh it out.”


Above: Dave Barnett (right), managing director of December19 with co-founder Dan Pimm (left) at their office in Clerkenwell Workshops

Keep upskilling existing staff

Long-term staff find it easier to work from home, but still need to learn and stay motivated. Sign them up to online training plans that address their specific needs, but – as per the ‘20’ element of the 70-20-10 model – include an element of social or peer-to-peer learning. Make training sessions inclusive. Under the Doormat encouraged some employees to research “dark tourism”, like a Jack the Ripper tour, and present their findings to the team. Kate says, “This encourages people to go out and learn, and bring that knowledge back to the team.”

Ahead of a busy period like a two-week sprint, round up the team to present the project objectives, weed out any potential red flags and resolve them. Meet after the project to assess staff performance, and see what they could improve. This helps employees to keep learning from each project.

Dave at December19 recommends businesses operating part-time in the office plan their time wisely. He says, “Arrange for teams to be in on the same day so it’s a day of discussion and problem solving, rather than more head-down work and endless rounds of Zoom calls.” December19 has carved out a space in its office with a white board so that staff can post ideas and flesh them out.

Listen to what staff need

Regular communication is key – with long-term employees and new starters alike – to fulfil the remaining ‘10’ part of the 70-20-10 learning model. December19 has a 12-week “check-in” process where its business leaders have a 10-minute chat with every member of staff. He says, “You can identify maybe somewhere they need upskilling and find the right training course or whatever support they need.”

This can come in many forms. Leanne Spencer is the co-founder of health and wellbeing consultancy, Bodyshot Performance, based at Parkhall Business Centre in Dulwich. She teaches companies that for employees to learn well and develop their potential, they need to be physically and mentally well.

Capt Above: Leanne Spencer, co-founder of health and wellbeing consultancy Bodyshot Performance 

Her advice for business leaders is to educate employees on the importance of things like sleep, mental health, resilience, immunity and energy. She says, “Introduce ideas like movement snacking, such as taking a phone call on a walk to the local park instead of sitting down at a desk, to keep up energy levels.”

Business leaders that prioritise learning and development opportunities will benefit from happier, healthier employees that are more engaged at work. Find out more about how to successfully apply the 70-20-10 Model for Learning and Development in your business, to ensure you are offering staff the right tools and training.

Are you a business owner or a director of an established small business with 1 - 20 employees looking to improve, change and grow your business? Find out how to drive your business to the next level with our half-day virtual masterclass, in partnership with Engineering Business Growth. Sign up here. For further advice and up-to-date resources on how to navigate your business through COVID-19 and beyond, head to our content hub

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20 January 2023 | Marketing
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