Start 2022 off right by supporting the learning and development of your leaders in Quarter 1.
Take the first few months of 2022 to invest in strategic leadership development initiatives. When you build a strong learning strategy that supports social, experiential, and impactful development opportunities in Q1, you can count on it to pay out for the following nine months and beyond. Here are five reasons to prioritize learning and development in Q1 this year:
5 Reasons To Prioritize Learning & Development In Quarter 1 This Year
1. Your team is ready to improve themselves — and the business
Every January, people sign up for gym memberships, join self improvement courses, and say they’re finally going to learn a new language. People are energized during the New Year to improve themselves. Unfortunately, much of that motivation is lost after only about a month. Your employees might be highly motivated at the start of the year to build new habits and make an impact, but it’s up to your organization to ensure they don’t fall prey to the sharp downturn in motivation that comes in February.
Elongate this highly motivated period by prioritizing L&D in your budget and making it easy to access leadership and training programs. This extra focus in the first three months of the year will benefit the careers of your employees and support the goals of your business long into the future. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to support your team’s natural self improvement energy and set the year up for success.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Make it easy! Your leaders know how important it is to start the year off well, so don’t make it too complicated for them to improve their skills and build positive habits. Ensure they know what leadership programs your company provides. Offer to nominate them for appropriate opportunities.
2. What you accomplish in Q1 sets the tone for the rest of the year
It’s often said that how you spend your birthday determines the kind of year you will have. It can be helpful to apply this same thinking to your business. Every January, you have the opportunity to assess your priorities and recommit to your values and organizational mission. Support your team in identifying what they will need to improve upon if they want to meet their goals for the year.
Gretchen Rubin describes a strategy called “The Clean Slate,” which recognizes big changes (like a new year) as an opportunity to increase your chances of creating habits that will actually last. Returning to work in a new year is the perfect opportunity to create those positive habits. Help your employees by figuring out the most important habits to build and give them the tools to achieve it.
KEY TAKEAWAY: You only have so much time that the new year remains a true “Clean Slate.” Don’t try to take on too much or learn a whole new way of working. Rather, empower your leaders to collaboratively identify the biggest impact in closing skill gaps with the most manageable investment.
3. People are looking for new jobs that will help them grow.
It’s no news to anyone that competition for talent is fierce. Especially as the Great Resignation (Great Reshuffle, Great Reset, or Great Refresh, depending on who you ask) continues to cause instability in employment trends. The importance of investing in the great talent you already have is only rising.
Job searches and posts typically spike in January. People have likely just spent quality time with their families and done some introspection about what is important to them. They might also be reflecting on the growth (or lack of growth) they achieved in their careers over the past year. If they don’t feel there’s much more they can accomplish within your organization, they may start looking for change. Don’t lose your best talent because you’re too busy to invest in their growth.
KEY TAKEAWAY: A lot of people feel the itch for something new when the calendar starts over. Save your best talent by finding ways for them to stretch in their current roles. Make this a win-win by giving them the training and development to effectively deliver for their own and the organization’s goals.
4. You probably just hired new people. Don’t forget about your tenured employees in the process.
At some organizations, especially small or under-resourced companies, it can be hard to focus on leadership development and training for your top performers and pinch hitters when you have a lot of new and potentially overwhelmed new hires.
This Q1, focus on learning experiences that serve the double purpose of teaching your new employees and helping recenter your existing employees. It’s a fine line to walk between giving attention to your high-need, low-impact employees and your low-need, high-impact employees. But, if you’re going to develop a winning talent strategy, you have to walk it.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Leverage social learning and mentorship programs or find other ways to include your top performers in high visibility opportunities that support the training of new hires. This involvement will build a strong culture, improve people skills, and show that you are invested in the growth of your whole organization.
5. Prioritizing learning and development in Quarter 1 will help your remote workforce build bonds and a strong culture
Culture has an outsized impact on organizational success. You need to take a proactive role in reinforcing the cultural attributes you desire within the workplace. Otherwise, you run the risk of undermining your goals before you even start working to achieve them. This is especially true as workforces become more remote. An unhealthy culture is a major risk factor for low productivity, poor performance, and high employee attrition.
Leadership development programs are hubs that create culture maximizers in your organization. Research shows that key indicators of a strong culture are strong leadership, collaboration, communication, and learning and development. Don’t put off investing in programs that support these attributes until later in the year when it will be harder to pull away from key revenue-driving initiatives.
KEY TAKEAWAY: While there is a place in every learning strategy for one-off training and online courses, a strong culture needs social and experiential learning. This will encourage the demonstration and understanding of company culture.