Unlocking Potential: Supporting Learners in the Workplace for Success

Supporting Learners in the Workplace

The modern workplace is changing and evolving. As companies take on new challenges, they must find ways to support their learners and unlock potential for success. But how? It all starts with a supportive learning environment.

It is an effective and productive way to develop talent and build a motivated, skilled, and qualified workforce. Adopting learning programs harnesses a range of benefits, from increased employee satisfaction to improved retention rates; also apprenticeship programs are a proven way to help individuals develop their careers while generating results for the business.

In this blog post, we've covered the key elements of creating a successful learning space, as well as how to identify and nurture the potential in your existing team. From providing feedback to offering resources and more, read on to explore more about unlocking the potential for success in the workplace today.

What is the Importance of Workplace Learning?

Organizations recognize the importance of workplace learning to support employee career development and maintain a competitive edge. Workplace learning can take many forms, from formal courses and training programs to informal methods such as mentorship and on-the-job learning.

Formal workplace learning initiatives can help employees develop new skills and knowledge in a structured way. These programs can be customized to the needs of the organization and the individual learner. They can also be delivered flexibly to fit around work commitments.

Informal workplace learning happens all the time, often without us realizing it. It includes asking a colleague for help with a task, observing others at work, or reading work-related materials. 

This type of learning is often more relevant to our day-to-day work than formal learning initiatives, as it is based on solving real problems and understanding the context in which we operate.

Both formal and informal workplace learning have their advantages and disadvantages. Formal workplace learning can be expensive and time-consuming to set up, while informal workplace learning is often unplanned and challenging to measure. However, both types of learning are essential for supporting employees in their career development journey.

Types of Workplace Learning

Many types of workplace learning can support employees in achieving success. Some common examples include:

  • On-the-job training
  • It allows employees to learn new skills and knowledge while performing their regular job duties.
  • Mentorship programs
  • It pairs more experienced employees with less experienced ones to provide guidance and support.
  • Online learning,
  • It can provide employees with flexible, self-paced learning opportunities
  • Shadowing or job rotation programs
  • It exposes employees to different roles within the company.

Each type of workplace learning has its own benefits, and the best way to determine which type is right for your employees is to assess their needs and objectives. 

However, no matter what type of workplace learning you choose, it's important to ensure that it is well planned and structured, and that it aligns with the company's overall business goals.

5 Key Strategies For Supporting Learners in the Workplace

Regarding supporting learners in the workplace, a few key strategies can make all the difference. First and foremost, creating a positive and supportive learning environment is crucial. 

It denotes establishing ground rules and expectations for behavior, providing adequate resources and support, and fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect. Let's check out some of the fundamental strategies. 

1. Assess Needs and Preferences

It's also crucial to tailor your approach to each learner. Some will benefit from more hands-on support, while others will prefer to be given more autonomy. Assessing each learner's needs and preferences is vital to ascertain they get the most out of their learning experience.

Remember that supporting learners is a two-way street. As much as you are there to offer to help them develop their skills, they should also feel like they are contributing positively to the workplace dynamic. 

Encouraging them to take on additional responsibilities, give feedback, and share their ideas will help them feel more invested in their development and make your job as a support person that much easier. 

2. Provide Tools and Resources 

When it comes to supporting new learners, various tools and resources are available to help them succeed. Following are a few of the many options that can be used to support learners in the workplace:

  • Training and development programs: Offering employee training and development programs is one way to support their learning and growth in the workplace. These programs can cover a variety of topics, from job-specific skills training to general professional development.
  • Performance management systems: You can adopt performance management systems to help employees set goals, track their progress, and receive feedback on their performance. These systems can also help identify areas where employees may need additional support or development.
  • Learning and development resources: There are a variety of learning and development resources available online and in libraries that can help employees improve their skills and knowledge. Some of these resources include books, articles, websites, online courses, and podcasts.

3. Autonomy to Block out Time

To support your apprentice, be sensitive to their additional workload and potential stress levels, and they may need help to organize their time.

  • You should gatekeeper their time and skills, so they can handle requests from around the business. Authorize them to block out time in their diary. Dedicate appropriate time to learning, workplace assignments, or preparation for tests. 
  • Managers should ensure that the team knows the extra support they may need to offer the new learner. There will be critical moments during their course when they feel stretched and under pressure. 

Their contribution to workplace tasks might change or be less focused than usual. Ensure to help them to avoid the frustrations of others by hosting an open and honest culture. 

4. Link with a Mentor

Linking the apprentice with a workplace mentor can allow employees to learn from more experienced colleagues. These programs can be formal or informal and can be tailored to attain the needs of individual employees.

  • It also helps them be motivated and engaged and depicts to them that you value their learning program. The mentor can be a manager, supervisor, or colleague who has already completed the program. 
  • To help keep new learners on track, a mentor can spend a particular period discussing their units and progress simultaneously and offer coaching and support.
  • Mentors can ensure your apprentice thrives in the workplace by sharing their knowledge and experiences, acting as a sounding board for ideas, providing guidance and feedback, and building an apprentice's confidence, independence, and self-belief. 

5. Show You value their Program

To ensure adequate training and management, it's helpful to understand the learner journey and off-the-job training requirements. Priorities within a business can change, but ensure to keep to any agreed appointments, meetings, and other commitments. 

  • Allowing the employee time for apprenticeship training shows that you value their training program.
  • Make the apprenticeship part of your appraisal, and discuss the apprenticeship at company progress reviews and one-to-ones. 
  • Ask them how they are doing and show interest in the answers they provide, ensuring it's not just a tick-box exercise. This way, you will engage with your employees to check their happiness and find out what additional support they might need. 

Having an apprentice on board can work wonders for your business. A staggering 78% of employers reported improved productivity after introducing an apprenticeship scheme. New learners are often eager to learn from you and your team and enthusiastic about the qualification they've chosen.

 

What are the Challenges of Supporting Learners in the Workplace?

Following are the key challenges of helping a learner in workplace:

1. Reluctant to Ask for Help

One of the challenges of supporting learners in the office is that they may be reluctant to ask for help or may feel that they are not capable of learning new things. Additionally, learners may feel like they are not being supported if they do not see results immediately. 

It is essential to be patient and understand that it takes time for learners to adjust to new concepts and skills. Additionally, workplace conditions can be challenging, and learners may need extra support to cope with these conditions.

2. Tight Schedule

Another challenge is ensuring they have the opportunity to learn new things. This can be difficult to do if learners are not given time to attend training sessions or if their work schedules do not allow them to take on new tasks. 

3. Navigate the Workplace's Expectations

Helping them navigate the workplace's expectations is another challenge. Additionally, they may need assistance in understanding how to complete their work tasks effectively and efficiently. In addition, learners may feel like they are not being supported if they do not regularly see their supervisors or managers. 

Also, it is essential to remember that everyone learns at a different pace. Some learners may require more support than others to be successful in the workplace. Being patient and understanding that each learner has unique needs is essential.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Supporting Learners in the Workplace

Often inevitable common mistakes arise when supporting learners in the work. Avoiding these mistakes will help create a more successful learning experience for employees.

  • One mistake is not providing adequate support. Employees need to feel supported in order to succeed. This means giving clear instructions, offering guidance when needed, and being available to answer questions.
  • Another mistake is not setting realistic expectations. Employees who are not given realistic goals may become frustrated and discouraged. Setting achievable goals and providing the necessary resources to help employees reach those goals is crucial.
  • Another mistake that can be made is not following up after training or development activities. It is important to check in with employees after they have completed a learning experience to observe how they are doing and if they need any additional support.

Final Thought

Unlocking potential and providing learners with the support they need in the workplace is key to success. Learning should be seen as an ongoing process, not something that happens once. By creating a culture of learning within our workplaces and supporting learners to reach their full potential, you can work towards ensuring better outcomes for both employers and employees alike. 

Investing in training and development opportunities will foster employee engagement, productivity, creativity, and collaboration, leading to increased business performance.


 


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