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Martin Coles


Customer Success Coach

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ITO: The L&D strategy you need for 2023

An ITO (Individual, Team and Organisation) approach to training can harness your work community and boost success.
Three strong men juggling fire

There is no doubt that retaining talented staff is an enormous priority after the upheavals of the great resignation, so as organisations plan their Learning and Development strategy for 2023, a rounded approach is vital.

Recent research from GoodHabitz shows that 89% of people want to embark on some kind of personal development, but a huge 69% need a nudge in the right direction. In our view, training can’t be left to the individual – it works best when people are supported by their line manager and the rest of the organisation. That’s why an ITO (Individual, Team, Organisation) approach is so effective.

After training, 74% of employees said they were proud to work for their organisation and would still be there in two years' time

What is ITO? 

When we ask HR teams why they invest in new digital learning and development programmes, they might give us a surface-level answer, such as: ‘We want to give our people the opportunity to learn new things’, but actually there is always an underlying objective – understanding this is key.

For instance, it is more important than ever for companies to retain staff and our research showed us that after training, 74% of employees said they were proud to work for their organisation and would still be there in two years' time (an increase of more than 10%.) They also said they were more likely to go that extra mile for their company. This loyalty andhappiness meanss less disruption, less time spent hiring and training up new staff and better customer service and morale. 

The key method we use is the ITO model, devised over the last 11 years. Learning and development should not be the sole responsibility of the HR and L&D teams. It is a community effort and needs to be a collaboration between individuals, managers and the company as a whole. As the saying goes: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ and that’s very relevant to this model.

Giving people permission to learn

The majority of people would like some form of personal development, so using an engaging platform that takes care of individual motivation is essential. It makes sense that intrinsic motivation is important to creating a learning culture, but having this pillar alone will only engage up to a third of employees

It’s also important to remove barriers and make digital learning flexible and easy to access. Ensure the content is lively and mobile-friendly, while also implementing single sign-on technology to remove the need for passwords if it’s possible in your business. And for employees who don’t work at a computer as part of their role, providing workstations or tablets is a game changer.

What do managers think if they see an employee watching a TED Talk at their desk?

Managers have an undeniable impact on the development of their teams and they need to give people permission to learn. Research shows that 75% of employees would do a training course if it was recommended by their manager.

If leaders do not believe in personal development, how can they expect their teams to spend time on it?

Do managers have a growth mindset? And do they believe that learning new things can bring value to their team and help them achieve their overall KPIs? What would a manager think if they walked past someone’s desk and saw them watching a TED Talk or a video about the power of breathing?

This model encourages ‘inspiration sessions’ that help managers consider which skills would help their team perform and shows them what training can do for them. Plus, any courses that help an employee feel good about themselves will ultimately benefit them and the company.

Get the support of the leaders to back an ITO approach

If leaders do not believe in personal development, how can they expect their teams to spend time on it? That is why overall organisational buy-in and a shift in company culture are essential too. Often an organisation will bring in a learning solution because they are worried about losing their people, but in this model, L&D, HR, line managers, individuals and business leaders work together to understand the core values and needs of the organisation and how learning links to achieving those goals.

Consider the demographics

Another increasingly important element of a successful L&D strategy is to consider Gen Z and younger, as personal development opportunities are often very important to them when choosing their next employer. Organisations are responding to this need and making it clear that there are opportunities for new recruits with digital learning solutions.

Saying this, the yearning for personal development is not only the preserve of newcomers in the job market – many over 50s are going through a shift, re-evaluating what work means to them and how they can maximise their role and align it with their values. The need for ongoing learning has never been greater; no longer can we solely rely on qualifications gained at school. Knowing their needs are supported by managers and the company as a whole could be the difference between staying or leaving.

Skills are for life, not just for work

As organisations become flatter, hierarchies are dissipating. This means the top-down approach to learning will no doubt disappear.

Another dramatic change is that soft skills are becoming more important than ever as automation becomes more prevalent. One thing bots can not do is behave exactly like a human, such as reading body language and emotions, so it helps companies, managers and individuals to boost the innate skills that only humans possess.

Personal development is important in small and large companies and the ITO approach works for both

Right now, changing the perception of learning is another important aspect, showing that supporting personal lives as well as work lives is a company endeavour. It is no longer just about being in the classroom, it is about personal choice; learning where and when is convenient to the individual.

Now, more than ever, companies need to offer their employees a workplace that aligns with their values and offers the full package for personal development.

Personal development is important in small and large companies and the ITO approach works for both. By finding out an individual’s needs, making sure they are supported by their manager and taking a deep dive into what value it will bring to the organisation, businesses can build a solid framework for the future.

Author Profile Picture
Martin Coles

Customer Success Coach

Read more from Martin Coles

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