Strategy | The continuous development conundrum

The continuous development conundrum

What drives your approach to continuous development? For some companies, it’s an integral part of legislative compliance specific to their industry or function. Ensuring all staff have the up-to-date knowledge and skills required for their roles is embedded into how the business operates.

For other companies, continuous development approaches are designed to enhance loyalty, nurture talent and future-proof the business. Whichever approach underpins your thinking, getting it right is key.

Keeping on top of continuous development can be labour intensive

Staying abreast of learning and development needs for an entire workforce is hard work for HR managers and L&D leads, especially if doing so involves complex manual systems, endless files, and spreadsheets that have grown more detailed over time. It’s an ongoing process: as new legislation comes into force or industry bodies issue new directives, continuous development approaches must be updated and rolled out. And the personal perspective must be taken into account too as individual employee career aspirations and learning needs are ref.

All of this means that keeping on top of everything is a significant practical challenge from an administrative perspective. Use of functionally rich HR software tools specifically designed to manage learning and development tasks can make a real difference, not only to the amount of time spent but also in providing a more strategic view of continuous development across the business. This level of management insight is often either impossible to achieve, or hugely time-consuming without software support.

Getting it wrong has repercussions

If your sector is one where employee skills and experience must by law be kept current and relevant – e.g. professional services or health and social care – then you will be familiar with the learning compliance burden of proof. You must be able to show that learning is always conducted or refreshed in a timely manner to secure ongoing compliance – and a system with in-built alerts could make all the difference. Don’t forget the downsides for getting it wrong are hard to ignore: fines and/or prosecution, loss of revenue, damage to brand or reputation, even safety issues or loss of life.

Doing it well provides significant advantages

Upping your game on continuous development is one way to push HR up the value chain. Aside from tightening up processes to ensure compliance, a strategic learning and skills development programme will help you unlock further potential from your human capital. Improved skills and standards helps people to do their jobs more effectively. But more than that – an investment in individual learning demonstrates that employees are valued and can improve engagement as well as performance and loyalty.

How to get ahead

If you want to move forward from ‘just about managing learning and development requirements’ to a more cohesive approach, then investing in HR software with learning and development functionality could be the answer. By reducing the heavy administrative burden and offering sleek tools, accurate and accessible information and strategic insight, software facilitates more timely and informed decisions as well as obviously keeping track of who has completed what, logging aspirations and planning ahead.

Food for thought

Let’s go back to the original question: what drives your approach to continuous development? Compliance or enhancement? Perhaps making the practicalities easier to manage offers you the chance to address both more effectively?

If you would like to know more about using HR and training software to support and enhance the continuous development of your employees, then talk to Access. Our HR and learning and development specialists will be delighted to hear from you.



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