Don’t skimp on individual contributors

by L&D27 Oct 2016
Just as learning leaders are strategic about how they invest in manager and high-potential leadership development, they should be intentional about where and how they bring in individual contributors, reports Chief Learning Officer.

Terry Barton, director of system-wide staff development at the University of California, said that while managers need all the resources, tools and support they can get, we mustn’t forget about the individual contributor.

“A lot of organisations say that, and while individual contributors have opportunities to lead on a project or in their daily work, they’re not really a leader,” she said.

“So, they get left out of the training. They get functional training to do their job, but they’re left out of the professional development piece.”

According to a Chief Learning Officer 2016 Learning Investments Survey, 47.6% of respondents reported that their organisation’s learning and development spend increased this year compared to 2015 – and learning leaders see that upward trend continuing.

More than 50% of learning executives report their company will increase learning and development spend in 2017.

That seems hopeful, but the reality of limited resources has to be considered when deciding who gets what learning and development and how much.

As a learning leader, Barton said it’s crucial that she provide managers with tools and resources to help them effectively juggle their responsibilities. One of those tools and resources is to provide that same information to their teams to help employees take a more active role.

“When I’ve done that, that’s when I’ve seen that things have been successful,” she said.

“You gain that traction faster. You’ve got people moving in a similar direction with a similar language. It’s another piece of organizational language that helps them navigate better together.”