Possibly the most important thing that all the generations in the workplace want are learning and development. Per a recent Deloitte report on human capital trends, learning and development is the second-most important issue to senior executives. However, companies are falling behind in meeting their employees’ demands for more learning and career growth. The old learning and development tools such as learning management systems (LMS) are not today’s worker’s needs. According to the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends:
“The fastest-growing segment in HR technology spending is now the adoption of new employee learning systems. Companies are seriously looking at replacing their employee learning infrastructure and shopping for new tools at all levels of the learning technology stack.”
So, what should you do if your agency’s learning and development systems are not meeting your career development goals? Especially in today’s world where most technical skills have, on the average, a shelf life of five years. Check out these five steps to building your learning and development platform.
- Create a competencies tracker: Whether you want to advance in your current career or train for a new career, you need to understand the desired competencies for that career. If you want to be a project manager, you can consult the Project Management Institute’s competency framework for project managers. The framework details the skills and abilities you will need to succeed as a project manager. Almost every profession has a competency framework. If you cannot find a competency framework, examine job listings and position descriptions to create your competency framework.
Once you have the framework, break it down into knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA). Then, list each of the KSAs into a spreadsheet or similar document. Determine which KSAs you already have and which KSAs you need to acquire. That is your training plan.
- Join professional associations: Almost every profession has at least one professional organization. The professional organizations are great information sources on career competencies and often have the latest career-specific training. Every association requires membership dues which can be expensive; especially to someone just exploring possible careers. Instead, find a local chapter and attend a meeting. The chapter organizers welcome new potential members and will gladly answer questions you have about careers in that profession.
- Check out online learning resources: Of course, there are the many free videos on YouTube. However, be careful with the quality of the instruction. Other good resources are course sites such as Udemy, com, and Coursera. There are costs (ranging from $15 a course to monthly subscriptions around $25) and the quality varies, but I have found that the courses are better than most of the YouTube videos. Some courses come with certificates of completion and digital badges to showcase your newly-acquired skills.
- Use volunteering to develop and demonstrate new skills: There are plenty of volunteer organizations where you can practice new skills. You may want to learn new budgeting and spreadsheet skills. Run for Treasurer for a religious organization or nonprofit. You can work with the current treasurer to learn the new skills and then practice those skills while doing good for others. Taking on several volunteer leadership positions can also help you develop those highly-sought soft skills such as communication, negotiation, and leadership.
- Build a portfolio: You can build a portfolio using many online sites. The most popular are LinkedIn in which you can display career accomplishments and attach examples of work projects. I have sample presentations and articles with links to my certifications and completed online courses. Set up a portfolio on Behance to display your creative skills. Use GitHub to showcase your IT development skills. You can also build your portfolio site by renting website space with a reputable hosting company.
Even if your agency has the latest learning and development technologies, these five steps are still useful in enhancing your personal career development. To succeed in the future world of work, you need to constantly learn and develop new skills while refining your current skills.
Bill Brantley is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.