4 Steps to Creating a Learning and Development Plan for 2017


As we plan for 2017, it’s time to evaluate HR strategy for the coming year. It’s clear that if organizations want to retain talent, they will have to provide value to employees that extends beyond financial security.

Organizations can save themselves a lot in recruiting costs in 2017 by starting the new year with a robust learning and development plan in place.

1)Find out what has worked so far

Our first instinct when planning for the next year is to start coming up with new ideas. But before you try to change anything, make sure you understand what has been working and what can be improved upon. Don’t fall into the trap of jumping into something new before you first analyze your current strategy.

You know the old adage: “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it?” The same should apply to your learning and development plan. Resist the urge to start whiteboarding new solutions before you first take a step back and look at what you’ve been doing until now. It may not be necessary to reinvent the wheel and doing so may inadvertently cause problems where there were once solutions.

2) Get feedback from employees

While the heads of most organizations receive a lot of feedback from their leadership executives, it’s important they get feedback from employees at all levels of the organization. They must hear directly from those employees who are actually in the trenches with their boots on the ground, such as managers and other team members, to gain a thorough understanding of their specific needs.

3) Think beyond 2017

While planning for next year, remember to think even further ahead. Prepare for 2017 with an eye on 2018 as well. Organizations must begin training their people for the future Upgrade your employees’ knowledge and skill-set by giving them the time and resources to learn new technologies, stay current, and adapt. Not only will this save you from having to find many replacements in the years ahead (and recruiting costs), but it will also engender greater loyalty from your employees. They will see there is a future in remaining with you. While you should think beyond next year, don’t try to jump ahead five years into the future either. The market and technology changes too much for that to be productive, but make sure your training is aligned with where things will likely be in the next 2-3 years from now.

4) Find the Fun!

Don’t forget the fun! Training and professional development doesn’t have to be boring! Rather than force employees to learn in a dull, conventional classroom setting, use the latest technology, such as mobile, tablets, AR (augmented reality), and VR (virtual reality) to enhance the learning experience and keep them engaged. Some offices make scavenger hunts a mandatory exercise during onboarding. Why not use AR to create a Pokemon Go style game that will reinforce the material taught in the classroom? You can also have employees answer quizzes and surveys with their mobile devices and see answers show up on a big screen in real time. Incorporating cutting edge technology into the learning and development can go a long way toward surprising and delighting your employees, which will only encourage them to stick with you for the long haul.