Wednesday 7 July 2021 9:00 am Avado Talk

Embed learning into your work to discover its true value

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If you are trying to recruit and keep the best talent – and who isn’t – opportunities for professional growth and a culture of continuous learning are very appealing.

They can set you apart from other organisations as an employer and investing in employee knowledge can lead to significant returns.

One of the best approaches to learning is to weave it into your organisation and into each person’s everyday work. There are lots of ways you can make that happen in a meaningful way, from educating your leaders to making space for apprenticeships.

Embedded learning means that employees learn while they work. This kind of learning keeps people motivated and engaged while they’re gathering new knowledge, which will help them gain a deeper understanding of what they’re learning.

Workshops, bootcamps and apprenticeships are all great examples, with the latter – which we focus on here – offering the most hands-on approach.

Embedded learning and apprenticeships

Through an apprenticeship, employees can continue contributing to their team while they grow their skillset.

Avado has supported Angelika Martyna, a people manager at McDonald’s, to achieve her Level 3 HR Support apprenticeship. She has gone on to demonstrate her commitment to learning by progressing onto a Level 5 HR Consultant apprenticeship.

“From my perspective as an employer, I wanted to invest in deepening the HR talent and capability within my organisation and to retain the very best talent over the long term,” says Richard Forte of McDonald’s Fortress Operations, where Angelika is undertaking her studies.

“CIPD [Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development] apprenticeships have helped provide a career development pathway for my organisation’s people management team,” Forte continues.

“Angelika has worked incredibly hard, balancing her apprenticeship studies with the dynamic demands of work during turbulent times. She has grown in confidence to lead more challenging cases, to demonstrate her flair for innovation and increasingly provide HR advice and counsel to her peers.”

‘Desirable skillsets are no longer “hard” skills’

If your organisation is looking to hire an apprentice or upskill your existing workforce, it is important to know exactly how to use the Apprenticeship Levy.

It is also important to ensure that managers are focused on embedded learning – leaders and C-suite executives have a sizeable role to play in creating a learning culture. It’s not enough for them to encourage learning – they need to be participating in it, too. That means senior managers should be visibly taking a more learning-focused approach to their own roles. You can’t have that cultural shift without their participation.

Along with leaders, everyone must see the importance of embedded learning. Desirable skillsets are no longer ‘hard’ skills, but behaviour such as adaptability and problem-solving. When someone can hone those softer skills and apply them, they’ll be better at their job.

Angelika Martyna is again cited as a great example of this. “Angelika went through a period of big internal organisational change of which she had to manage components,” says Rachel Eales, her Avado learning coach.

“She was committed to her assessments and her EPA [the end point assessment – something an apprentice must pass in order to complete an apprenticeship],” says Eales. “She would always go that extra mile in her own development, like listening to relevant podcasts. Angelika always had a positive, can-do attitude and because of this she excelled in her apprenticeship.

Learning should be natural – not feel like a chore More broadly, it is important that organisations integrate learning into their workforce’s everyday activities, and make it accessible.
As noted in Avado’s recent report on organisational agility, learning methods also need to keep up with the needs of a modern team.

Are your employees using certain tools to make their jobs easier, such as workflow trackers and chat platforms? If learning effortlessly fits into a person’s day-to-day, it becomes more natural and ongoing. Learning shouldn’t be something that causes breaks in a person’s workday or made to feel like a chore.
On that note, learning should be celebrated, too. If someone reaches milestones, completes a programme or earns a diploma, make sure everyone knows about it.

When everyone sees learning as an exciting part of your organisation, cultural shift will happen.