4 Learning Tips to Better Support Talent Management

How to Make Learning Stick with new skills going into brain

If you are in charge of talent management at your organization, wouldn’t you welcome better, more effective ways of learning?

Learning is not just a matter of exposure to knowledge. We believe that the aim of learning is to change behaviors and improve individual or team performance.  Success is typically measured by the adoption of new skills and behaviors and the corresponding lift in performance such as increased revenue, decreased costs or increased productivity.  Done right, a learning solution is deployed as a change initiative for a team or group to help solve a specific and important business challenge.  To succeed, learning solutions must:

  • Be highly relevant to three key stakeholders compared to other strategic priorities: (1) The Business, (2) Leadership (including your boss and his peers), and (3) Your Target Audience. We call this 3×3 Relevance.
  • Create adoption by defining and focusing on the critical few skills and scenarios that matter most, ensuring targeted performance coaching and aligning related business processes.
  • Measure impact by correlating high and low skill adoption to your key performance metrics and providing individual coaching scorecards for participants and their manager.

Here are four helpful tips as you undertake to upgrade the knowledge and skills of your workforce as part of your talent management strategy. Learning is more effective when the learner is able to:

  1. Reflect and relate
    What really matters is how you use what you have learned. To understand something is to make connections between what you have learned in order to solve relevant problems. This takes time. Simply memorizing information or tactics does not, by itself, enhance your ability to use them. Think about them, reflect upon how the facts relate to one another and you will find ways to make sense of and access them for future use.
  1. Ask the experts
    Many of us tend to overestimate our skills. We swing the bat the same way as always because, in our own opinion, we are good hitters. But if you really want to learn and improve, you need to be a bit more humble and seek advice and coaching from those who are more skilled than you. An improvement in your at-bat stance and some guided practice could make a world of difference in your batting average. Be willing to ask the experts for help to raise your game.
  1. Mix it up
    Though you may have been told that you learn more effectively through your visual sense than your auditory sense, it is typically better to mix learning styles and adapt them to the material to be learned. If you are trying to learn a piano piece for instance, just reading the musical composition won’t do much. Listen to a recording and practice one hand at a time. Experts tell us to match the content to the process. As much as possible, adapt what you are trying to learn to the most appropriate visual, auditory or kinesthetic learning style.
  1. Do more than simply review the material
    Remember cramming for exams by simply rereading the text? Even if you skipped from one highlighted section to the other, this is basically a form of passive learning…and it is far less effective than more active learning. Try setting up your own series of quiz questions to really test your understanding. Ask what the author was trying to convey, why it is important, and how it relates to what else you have learned. The mental exercise of summarizing facts, drawing conclusions, and thinking through possible ramifications will help you truly absorb the knowledge and make it your own.

    Talent management includes everything you do to hire, retain, develop and reward the right players so they perform at their peak and are ready to take on more challenging roles and responsibilities as needed for the company’s future business success. Learning and development is critical to managing corporate talent well. Use the tips above to help your learners do it right.

    To learn more about improving talent development, download The #1 Reason Training Fails According to Executives.

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