3 Important Learning Tactics to Integrate into Your Talent Management Mix

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Jenna Bowman

Jenna Bowman has over 4 years of Talent Development experience, a Masters in Organizational Leadership and Learning, and a…

While there are many factors to consider when creating a unique talent management program for an organization, there are three main tactics that can help individualize development while meeting the strategic objectives and goals of the overall organization.

With the right tactics, companies can empower their employees to be self-directed in their growth, provide unique opportunities based on individual learning styles and align employee development to personal and company-wide goals.  

Here are three important learning tactics your organization can consider implementing: 

1. Competencies 
Competencies are the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are required of a person in order to be successful in their careers. They are the drivers of organizational behavior and high performance and help set clear objectives for learning. Establishing and communicating the competencies required for each job and level in an organization is essential for the organization to meet its strategic and operational goals.  

Organizations should consider how the competencies required of each person and job role in an organization can either be a.) unique to the position or b.) the same across the organization. All competencies, however, must have clear alignment to the organization’s mission, vision, goals, and values. This will set the tone in the workplace and pinpoint the specific behaviors that are valued.  

It is important for organizations to measure and assess each individual competency at all levels. Managers should work with direct reports to provide actionable steps for competencies that need improvement. Additionally, managers should focus on strong competencies to see how employees can utilize those strengths in the workplace. 

Tip: Consider gathering input to see which competencies resonate with employees and which behavioral descriptions may need to be modified. Also consider aligning competencies with training to incentivize employee adoption.  

2. Blended Learning
Many organizations are launching pragmatic learning strategies to reach the diverse needs of employees with varying levels of experiences and learning styles. Blended learning techniques provide individualized opportunities, forms, and approaches to help employees learn and grow. These different learning methods include in-person training, web-based content, and self-directed content. Blended learning is becoming a popular method because it provides employees with autonomy, flexibility, and control over how and where they learn.  

When launching a blended learning program, it is important for organizations to get an understanding of the needs of their organization and align the programs to those needs and the overall goals. Companies should consider the different ways in which people learn (i.e., visual and/or experientially, etc.), and incorporate those approaches into the learning methods. Additionally, companies should consider using different methods to share information, including virtually, in-person, or through games and activities. Learning is more effective and new behaviors are more likely to cement when different learning styles are considered.  

Tip: Interview a wide variety of employees at various levels to discover where they may have development gaps, what they would like to learn, their time constraints, and what method of learning works best for them. Look for themes at each level and curate content in the form that best suits their needs. Include specific topics that are the most important to them. When employees have a direct say in what they are learning and how, their commitment to learning increases. Continue this process on a yearly basis to keep content fresh. 

3. Non-linear Learning Paths
While blended learning is focused on the method by which a person learns something, non-linear learning paths show the many directions a person can advance within an organization. The idea is that people do not always learn or grow in a perfect step-by-step fashion. Therefore, an employee’s path should be adjusted to suit their specific needs and how they hope to progress within their organization.   

Non-linear paths conform to the employee by building on the experience they already have, allowing them to complete the path in the order in which they choose, and grow in many directions within the organization – even if that direction is lateral. Non-linear paths are flexible, adaptable, experiential and more customized to the specific learner and to their short/long term goals. In this way, individuals have more autonomy over their organizational growth and can advance in ways that are suited to their interests and strengths 

Tips for setting up non-linear learning paths: 

  • Work with leaders of the organization to learn how people progress at the organization, what competencies need to be displayed to measure that success, and how those competencies are rewarded.
  • Get an understanding of where the gaps are for employees in meeting their goals and use those gaps as a guide for program creation.
  • Gather and analyze what every employee should be able to demonstrate at a baseline level.
  • Interview employees at all levels in the organization to get a sense of what people would like to learn on their path to succeeding through the organization.
  • Audit resources and materials the organization already has in order to re-use or build upon existing content.

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