I recently read that 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn (statistic from LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report).  I am guessing your initial response to that was “yeah, but I don’t have the money for that”.  Here’s the good news, you can accomplish helping your employees learn without spending ANYTHING…..and, in a way that will make your business better.  Wait, what? Yes, you heard me correctly.


Here’s the thing.  When someone talks about learning a new skill, what is the first thing you think of?  Training. Most people think they need to go to training or send someone to training to learn and grow.  This simply isn’t true. Training is one way, but not the only way and not the best way.  Pardon me while I geek out about learning & development models.  In the 1980’s researchers from the Center for Creative Leadership determined the most effective ways individuals learn.  The model that is still implemented today. It is the 70-20-10 model.  

  • Only 10% of learning comes from formal learning opportunities.  This includes attending training programs, completing college courses or online courses.   
  • Another 20% of learning comes from mentoring and coaching.  This includes researching best practices, working with a mentor, learning from other individuals.
  • The final 70% (that’s a lot) is through on-the-job experience.  This is the actually learning and developing a new skill ON THE JOB.

So, you can achieve 90% of learning and development for your employees without spending a dime through on-the-job experience and mentoring and coaching.

The KEYS to Making This Work

There are a two things you need to keep in mind for this to be effective.  

Connect the Dots

You need to help connect the dots.  Here’s what I mean: you need to be clear with your employee that the on-the-job experience is directly helping them to learn and develop.  I worked with one manager who did a great job of providing on the opportunities and was NOT good at connecting the dots. His employees were just frustrated that they were getting more work — so this drove the opposite impact of what he was intending.  The best way to connect the dots is to have a conversation with your employee connecting where they want to grow and develop with the opportunities you have within your business.

Be Flexible

When talking to small businesses, I often hear these responses “but I need that person to be doing their current job” or “but I don’t have a new job to put them into”.  Growth and development is not about ROLES, it’s about SKILLS. An employee can do their current role while learning a new skill. You don’t need to put them in a new position or job (or give them more money) to take on a new responsibility or skill.  As a small business, you have the flexibility to move the pieces around, you may just need to be a bit creative about what that looks like.

To learn more about how connect the dots with employees and implement creative ways to develop employees, contact Kristen or Erin directly today.  We would love to connect with you!   

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