Individualised approach to talent development

Employees who have gained professional recognition and were formally recognised as high potential employees are usually very busy. It is natural – the more they put into their work, the better the results. There is a dark side, however. Talented and engaged employees always lack time. Their plans are more ambitious, they just have to work more – and they put more hours, working in office and at home. Also, formal recognition of a high potential status has another consequence – increased responsibility. Many formally recognised high potential employees admit they feel pressure and are afraid not to meet the expectations. This forms a vicious circle and employees have no time to think about their own development.

HR managers can help and offer resources as well as a detailed and individualised development plan for all high potential employees.

How to support high potential employees in their development?

Employees are often not very fond of learning not because they have no time, or they don’t want and like to learn. One of the main reasons is that they don’t see the clear plan what and why they should learn. What advantages they would get if they finish this specific course? How new skills and knowledge acquired would impact their careers?

These doubts can be resolved with an individual learning path. This allows to finetune learning and make it more relevant as it would take into account current skillset of each employee. So the learning system should provide the following:

  • allow to set individualised learning goals,
  • customise learning path based on identified gaps in current and desired skillset,
  • allow to set a learning period optimal for a learning pace for each employee
  • calculate a convenient learning calendar that allows to distribute and re-distribute the learning evenly over the learning period,
  • daily activities should be offered based on: 1) individualised learning path, 2) individualised learning pace 3) amount of learning material.

Setting individualised learning goals

Learning should have a goal, otherwise it just waste of resources: learners would lose focus and meaning if they don’t understand why they learn something. Clearly identified learning goals help to identify priorities in learning and work as base for measuring effectiveness later. They also help to maintain enthusiasm required to finish the course.

Learning is often part of career development and learning goals should be connected to professional goals. It might be preparing for a new role as well as increasing authority in the existing role.

Learning process and learning system it supports should help employees choose and set individualised learning goals

How to construct an individualised learning path

Individualised learning path should define a learning sequence for the period.

Learning path in employee development systems is often set and couldn’t be changed as it is defined by target competency profile and entry testing results.

For a learning path to be constructed, the following groups of competencies are used:

  • target competency profile: target competency profile is set by the HR manager in employee development system and reflects company priorities of the company – what competencies should be acquired first,
  • results of entry tests: results of entry test define level of knowledge of each competency group.

Employee development system will use the algorithm to identify the first learning module to present to the user: it will usually be the module on which a maximum gap between a priority set in the target competency profile and knowledge level demonstrated in the test.

Setting learning period

People are different and they require different amount of time to acquire the same information. Some employees just need to have a quick look at the text to absorb new information. Others require additional efforts. We can increase effectiveness of learning and lower pressure by defining optimum learning period.

As our solution is Software-as-a-Service and we charge companies on a yearly basis we can’t always set an optimum learning pace and learning period.

Calculating learning calendar

They say that “plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”. Planning allow to make learning continuous and analyse progress in achieving business goals.

In most cased to calculate learning calendar we take the same data as when setting learning period – target competencies profile and entry test results. Learning material is allocated equally over all learning period and forms daily tasks for each user. If daily tasks haven’t been finished, the system re-calculates the learning load. It allows to mitigate the increased pressure if the user fails to finish learning tasks for a few days.

One of the important features of the learning calendar is that it not only shows planned daily learning tasks, but also completed tasks.

In SNAPSIM™ , users can’t learn new materials on weekends, although they have an option to catch up with the learning material they should practice. It is made by design, as users should be able to manage their time and have a healthy work-life balance.

Calculating daily tasks

Daily tasks widgets visually hint users what tasks they should complete. Tasks widgets should:

  • classified by types of tasks,
  • show how many tasks should a user complete,
  • show progress in completion of daily tasks,
  • show progress in achievement of set learning goals,
  • allow to start, stop and resume all daily tasks.

How does this strategy help HR managers and L&D professionals?

  • First, they get a clear answer on a question “what and how should our employees learn?” It allows HR professionals save their time and efforts. The system identifies knowledge and skill gaps, sets priorities and forms a learning plan.
  • Second, the learning function becomes more effective as it becomes more customisable and adapts to abilities and requirements of each employee.

How does this strategy help employees?

  • First, employees can plan their more meaningfully. They see their learning path and they understand the results their efforts would bring. Employees also see a clear roadmap and what efforts are required for specific period of time.
  • Second, they earn a habit of learning. We are “slaves of habits”. If employees would spend on learning 10-15 minutes every working day for 3-4 months, it becomes a habit which fuel acquisition of skills and knowledge in new areas.
  • Third, employees see their progress in achieving learning goals real-time. They feel they are in control – they see progress on microlevel in their daily tasks as well as from a “helicopter view” – in their individualised learning calendars.