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Effective organizational learning and development

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A member of HRPAB once interviewed an applicant for a vacancy. The candidate was a stellar
employee, having completed his first degree and exhibited a great work ethic in a renowned
organization, so his interviewers inquired as to why he wished to leave his current employment.
His response: “I just want to grow”.
Long gone are the days of transactional form of human resource management with an implicit
expectation that employees will simply work in exchange for a salary. This is the time for
holistic and strategic human resource (HR) management, which requires employers to provide a
paycheck and also to invest in their staff and thereby fulfilling the organization’s goals and
objectives. Today, we will consider a highly desired investment option: learning and
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, learning and development (L&D)
refers to a variety of formal and informal activities that impart knowledge to employees, provide
them with job competencies, and help to improve their job performance.
Examples of L&D initiatives include workshops, on-the job training, executive coaching,
mentorship programmes and simulation exercises among many others. L&D is a beneficial
function of performance management within any progressive organization.
When done right, strategically aligned L&D initiatives ensure that all staff members are
equipped with the knowledge, skills, aptitudes and competencies (KSACs) required to fulfil the
organization’s mission, vision, core values and strategic goals and objectives.
Further, when equitably administered, L&D initiatives create a motivated and engaged
workforce. According to the consulting giant, Gallup Inc., staff engagement is propelled when
employers encourage staff development, speak to staff about their progress and provide
opportunities for growth and development.
Evidently, L&D should be a staple of today’s workplace; so how can we incorporate L&D
initiatives in our work lives? We are happy to share a few recommendations here.
As a starter, consider your company’s mission, vision, core values and organizational strategic
plan to ascertain its overall purpose, aspirations and priorities; then let these principles guide
you. For instance, if excellence is one of your core values, then emphasize high quality work in
all development activities and reward your staff for producing excellent outputs.
Believe it or not, there is a science to creating appealing, effective and relevant L&D
programmes for adults. Therefore, we recommend that employers learn the principles of adult
learning and incorporate these tenets accordingly. (It may sound daunting but just Google “The
Principles of Adult Learning” and have a read).
One principle is that adults tend to be experiential learners who learn best, not by being told what
to do but by applying principles and processes to what they and their colleagues have

experienced. It is on this premise that organizations may provide mentorship programmes for the
sharing of experiences between an experienced practitioner and a new hire.
Additionally, invest in training your staff during their onboarding. Identify the KSACs required
to optimally perform in their new roles and take a proactive approach in guiding them. Not only
will this boost engagement by providing clarity to your new hire, but it will allow organizations
to engender their desired culture from an employee’s commencement.
Finally, utilize your performance appraisals for performance improvement. At the end of every
performance appraisal cycle, identify your high achievers and place them on a leadership
development programme, as suitable. See where some employees may be struggling and deliver
an appropriate L&D programme to aid in their growth and development.
Why not invest in the growth of your staff members? Rest assured that you will reap dividends
for your company and your staff.
The Human Resource Professionals of Antigua and Barbuda (HRPAB) is a registered non-
profit, professional association dedicated to the advancement of the HR profession for
national development. We began informally in 2009 and legally registered in 2011.
HRPAB’s growing membership represents private and public organisations as well as
independent consultants specializing in one or more areas of human resource management
and development. Membership is offered for three categories: professional, non-
professional, and honorary. You may contact us via email at hrpro.ab@gmail.com or on
Facebook and Instagram @HRPro268.

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