Learning and Development – A Given Not a Benefit

There is no doubt that the forward-thinking business Managing Director/ Owner will put staff morale and development at the very top of the agenda.

This approach, coupled with a people minded focus is essential in the rapidly changing markets that we all face right now. A business’s future will to a large degree depend on the quality of the people that represents it and quality people regard today training and development as a ‘given’ from any company they join.

So the question is: ‘Where is your business on the Training and Development ladder – on the top rung or still to get off the ground?’

If it is the former – good for you, keep building on this. But if the latter in our view you had better start thinking a little differently.

Your organisation needs to be one where learning and development thrives. Where the development of each individual within your team is paramount. This is how we suggest you might go about it:

  1. Top-Down Approach

It all starts with the leader and if the leader isn’t fully behind it any efforts will fail. If the team see that the leaders are involved themselves, they will commit too – if the leaders are not involved you get the ‘one rule for them and one for us’ response and poor commitment. The leader truly has to understand and believe in what learning and development will do for their business and their people – when they do and they buy into it, it becomes a mission.

    1. Vary the approach to learning

Millennials want to learn differently to Baby Boomers or Generation X. Consider the learning preferences of your people and look to accommodate them with a variety of training methods – field accompaniment for salespeople, classroom training for another department, online learning programmes and platforms (like our sister company The Box Academy). Get the route to learning right for the individual and results will come more quickly.

  1. Allow time for learning

It is all very well asking people to learn and offering the learning methods for them to do it but be reasonable and give them some time, within their working week, to learn. It is a good idea to formally allot learning time – maybe one afternoon a week – to people during which they focus entirely on personal development with the learning tools you have provided. People learn from each other too so enable them to join up to discuss their learning progress and development.

  1. Make your learning space a ‘safe house’

People learn from mistakes. In the world of learning you should treat mistakes as ‘misses’ and encourage people to ‘hit the target’ next time as a result of the ongoing learning and development available to them. Weak management hates to be questioned by ‘new, energetic’ employees who probe and ask questions on why the business does things a certain way. Good leadership recognises that this dynamic input will help their future, challenge their thinking and probably provide them with new, exciting opportunities if encouraged. Good leadership doesn’t get defensive and encourages broad input and congratulates those who make suggestions – they recognise that all of the good ideas do not necessarily sit in the heads of the Directors. Encourage the questioning culture as long as it remains constructive.

  1. Confirm ‘why’ you are doing this

It’s great when leadership is committed and fully believing in the benefits of learning and development. However, they will still get a number of individuals who don’t want to get involved and are unsure why they are being asked to do this. The leader must explain why and how this learning plan will benefit the individual going forward. Things like bigger financial rewards, career progress, improving how they see and value themselves or simply being more efficient and effective in their role. Understand the motivators of the individual and play out the benefits to them of the learning plan.

  1. Reward and recognise learning

There are lots of ways to do this – like individual certificates when employees hit certain learning levels (as offered on The Box Academy), give top learners additional responsibility in running meetings etc., set up competitive leagues for learning between people and departments. If people see that learning is rewarded and there are elements of fun around the same, they will commit more readily.


The future of your business, in our view, will to a large extent depend on how focused and dedicated you are in ensuring that your people learn and develop within your business. We guarantee that, if this isn’t in place, you will neither retain nor recruit the best people. Bad news for you because the companies with the best people will always rise to the top.

If you run a business and need some help get in touch with Tinderbox at ignite@tinderboxbusinessdevelopment.co.uk. or call us on 01162325231.

Also have a look at our online learning platform provided by our sister company where great learning and development programmes can be accessed very economically.

You can click here to access The Box Academy and see for yourself as you can join for free and if you like what you see can join as a full member giving your people access to a huge amount of learning and development material.

The Tinderbox Team