Learning Throughout the Employee Lifecycle: Our People and the People Team

Learning and Development doesn’t just play a role in the journey of the employee. It also shapes how the People team and company learn and improve the People Experience.  While a new joiner is learning the processes and tools Learnerbly uses, our People team is absorbing feedback and learnings to improve those processes, tools, and […]

Learning and Development doesn’t just play a role in the journey of the employee. It also shapes how the People team and company learn and improve the People Experience. 

While a new joiner is learning the processes and tools Learnerbly uses, our People team is absorbing feedback and learnings to improve those processes, tools, and onboarding in general.  

Here’s a breakdown of the part L&D plays at every stage of the employee lifecycle and how we do things at Learnerbly. We’ll be looking at: 

  1. Talent Attraction
  2. Recruitment
  3. Onboarding
  4. Performance
  5. Growth and Development
  6. Engagement
  7. Separation

In case you wanted a quick overview, here’s what the employee experience looks like from a distance and even incorporates recognition and progression.

Source: https://www.joobeeyeow.com/post/employee-experience-how-to-walk-in-your-employees-shoes

1.Talent Attraction 

Deloitte research found that the engagement rates at companies with a strong learning culture are 30-50% higher than those who don’t have one. At Learnerbly, we have a strong focus on L&D (it would be strange if we didn’t!), so we make sure candidates understand what we offer. This helps them make informed decisions on whether we’re likely to be a good fit for them – and hopefully make us a more attractive option.

Provide insight 

Companies can create learning resources for candidates thinking about joining their company.

At Learnerbly, we have a public employee guide. This tells potential candidates about the company, how we work, and the learning opportunities available.

For example, in that guide we discuss the use of agile methodology and the OKR framework, allowing talent to get a glimpse of our work and expectations. 

An excellent way to tell potential candidates about your company culture is to host webinars and publish articles. We regularly publish L&D articles (like this one!) and other relevant topics that help applicants understand our people initiatives and culture. 

We use our website, LinkedIn, and leading people publications to spread this message.

From a People team perspective, we’re also relying on insights of applicants and observing what is going on elsewhere in the talent attraction space to see if there is a way for the process to be improved. 

2. Recruitment and Interviewing

We can only employ one candidate for each role, but we focus on making the process enriching for every candidate regardless of the outcome.  

Provide Feedback and Resources for Unsuccessful Candidates

We share learning resources for unsuccessful candidates to support them in their search, including a page to help them prepare for future interviews.

This makes sure that their time interviewing with us was constructive and helpful. While we may not be able to give them the job, we can help them in their ongoing search and be part of their learning journey. 

Encourage Two-Way Learning During Interviews

During interviews, you can plan short feedback loops.

For example, the interviewer could rate the candidate’s ability to answer a key question, while the interviewee could comment on the quality of the questions. 

An interview (and applying for a job in general) is a two-way street. The candidate is assessing if the company is the right fit for them too. 

The interviewer should provide the candidate with the opportunity to ask questions.

This allows them to learn more about the company and gives them a chance to try out their interviewing skills!

Ensure Everyone Involved in Hiring Learns

Everyone involved in recruitment must understand how the process makes candidates feel.

For example, is it too intimidating? Too informal? Did interviewers ask unexpected questions?

Ask successful and unsuccessful candidates for feedback on the recruitment process. Give this information to your hiring team so that they can improve.

Diversity, equality, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) should deliberately be at the heart of the recruitment process, because privilege defines performance and because we all have biases.

Managers also need to learn how to give good, empathetic, and legal feedback to unsuccessful candidates – support them where you can. 

3. Onboarding

A new starter’s first few weeks are the perfect time to prove just how great working for your business is. Part of the process is giving them time to learn about the company and their role.  

Help New Employees to Help Themselves

It’s important to give new starters a way to autonomously navigate the information and tools needed to do their job successfully.

Alongside providing resources, managers need to have processes in place to ensure employees get up to speed. 

Your L&D team should prepare upfront learning content and account for learning time that each new employee in each role needs to go through.

One size does not fit all, so the team should also take time to discuss L&D needs with each individual and provide them with unique development resources.

Have more regular one-to-one sessions with new starters, try to understand what they are finding difficult and how you can improve onboarding.

At Learnerbly, we encourage feedback from new joiners at any point but we also conduct a survey at the end of their onboarding to learn how we can improve the process and find out if they were supported in the right ways. 

4. Performance

Performance is an ongoing iterative cycle. 

We consistently learn how to set goals and plan from there, thinking about what could have gone better. The more we do it and learn, the more we develop our strategic implementation capabilities.

People teams can set up systems to ensure that everyone gets the most out of this cycle.

Develop an Iterative Methodology

Companies can develop iterative methodologies to help employees improve their performance.

In these methodologies, L&D is the process and performance is the outcome. 

Managers can apply this to two-week sprint cycles. At the end of each sprint, teams can look at what went well and not so well, then test out a new approach during the next sprint.

At Learnerbly, we conduct growth experiments every two weeks to look for ways to improve our processes.

Manage Knowledge

Knowledge management and knowledge retention are enormous L&D challenges across all businesses. 

By putting processes in place to ensure that knowledge is recorded and made accessible to all employees, you help your people become more effective.

Recognise Progress

It’s essential to recognise increases in performance through praise, salary increases, job progression, or other channels.

Rewarding people’s efforts has a multiplier effect on their performance by making employees more likely to invest additional time in L&D, thus further improving their performance.

Let Managers Make Mistakes

Managers aren’t infallible and also need to learn. One of the best ways to do this is by allowing them to make mistakes. 

Create safe coaching environments in which managers have the space to get the conversations wrong without the fear of repercussions or ridicule. This could include roundtables where they role-play at being employees and managers, providing feedback to each other, and a coaching approach to People Partnering.

Build (and Teach) a Performance Framework

A performance framework outlines the systems, expectations, and resources that will help your people to do their jobs better. 

Begin with your strategy. You should prioritise your performance goals and set a plan.

Then think about the training methods which you could use in that process. These could include coaching, feedback, difficult conversations, and more.

It will be hard for employees to improve if they don’t understand how the company judges performance.

So it’s essential to provide employees and managers with training on how your performance framework works and what you expect of them.

5. Growth and Development

Growth and development have a similar dynamic to performance. 

While performance is how L&D impacts business outcomes over the short term, growth and development is about how it impacts an individual’s professional development in the long term.

Provide Safe Spaces

People need safe spaces to reflect on their development and discuss it with their manager or the People team. 

Some people may feel uncomfortable having these conversations. Having a safe space allows them to discuss areas where they want to improve.

Use a Learning Platform

You can help your people grow and develop using a learning platform. At Learnerbly, our people can access thousands of learning resources from hundreds of providers. 

They’re in control of their learning, allowing them to select their areas of interest and preferred methods. 

People can work through resources at their own pace and choose how they progress through them.

This gives People teams confidence that everyone’s L&D needs are being met while providing oversight on what’s being accessed. 

6. Engagement

Engagement overlaps with all of the stages of the employee lifecycle but is so crucial that it deserves to have a dedicated section.

Use Engagement Surveys

Engagement surveys allow you to understand how happy people are at your company.

When you publish an engagement survey, don’t just say to employees, “it matters because your input will shape our work.”

Instead, you should say: 

“We know you trust us to take action on your input, and we owe you accountability. At each company-wide meeting, we will share information about the previous survey in the following format:
– We listened

– You said

– We do (or don’t do and explain why)”

You can use your results as a baseline. From here, you can set aims and design a plan to achieve them.

We regularly gauge our employees’ opinions on their experience working at Learnerbly. This allows them to shape their experience of working here.

Taking everyone’s opinion into account and acting upon it keeps people motivated and empowered.

Engaging with everyone in your team in this way also helps spark innovation and creates a sense of belonging.

Engagement also helps companies understand what areas they need to improve in. For example, the People team can use anonymous feedback surveys to inform improvements to their process and there are many tools to aid in anonymity and data collection.

Create Psychological Safety

Psychological safety — feeling comfortable to take risks without feeling insecure or embarrassed — is vital to creating successful teams. 

Project Aristotle, a research program undertaken by Google, showed that psychological safety is a top characteristic of successful teams and underpins other areas, such as dependability and feeling like their work has meaning.

Psychological safety is an integral part of L&D. That’s because to learn effectively, people need to feel comfortable enough to ask questions (even questions that may seem silly), make mistakes, and suggest ideas.

If your people are not comfortable, then they won’t speak up when it matters. This fear will stunt their professional development.

This article provides guidance on how to implement psychological safety in the learning culture at your organisation.

7. Separation

Eventually, an employee will leave your company. Even this stage is an excellent opportunity for Learning and Development.

Offboarding matters as much as onboarding. People should be offered the chance to stay in touch with your business and should leave feeling valued.

You should always ask an offboarded employee what your company could do better.

Challenge Organisational Design

Someone leaving an organisation is an opportunity to assess its structure. 

Should you hire a direct replacement? Would the position be better served by multiple other roles? Should it be moved to a different department?

Stay in Touch With Leavers

Maintaining good relations with leavers offers several L&D opportunities. 

For example, you could organise an alumni group — perhaps on Facebook or LinkedIn — where former employees can share professional experiences and stay in touch.

You may find that you get boomerang employees — people that leave your company, only to return at a later date. 

These can be a great source of L&D as they will have the in-depth knowledge required to compare your business against the others that they have worked with.

Conclusion

There are a wealth of L&D opportunities for businesses, People teams and employees at every stage of the employee lifecycle. 

People teams can make their companies better places to work by understanding these opportunities and knowing how to use them.

This will add value to people’s lives, enable the business to  improve and ultimately increase both employee retention and morale.