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by Max Maccarone

Innovation is an inescapable fact of being in business in today’s market. Advancements and developments in technology mean that nearly every industry has been impacted by a variety of innovations within their specific field. If the technology is moving so rapidly, how can you bring your employees up to speed, maximize their innovative potential, and the innovative potential of your organization? That journey begins in the training room.

In findcourses.com’s 2019 L&D report, conversations with practicing L&D professionals revealed that an innovative training strategy translates to innovative business practices. This may appear as commonsensical, but not every business realizes how training can affect their organization’s competitive edge. The report also found direct links between learning and innovation, diversity and inclusion (D&I) training with revenue growth, and an increase in revenues coupled with increasing investment in L&D.  

The report found that companies with growing revenue are 3x more likely to predict an increase in their L&D budget. Using L&D to maximize the innovative potential of your business is no small undertaking, but professionals have identified some key training strategies that can help your business either enhance an already existing culture of innovation, or foster the new culture of innovation your organization needs to move to the top of your industry ladder.

Staying Agile Drives Innovation

For Anthony Sandonato, Vice President of Learning and Development at Wyndham Destinations, agility is the key to success in executing professional development for the organization’s 25,000 employees in over 110 countries. Sandonato finds that an L&D strategy should be, “[…] built upon that flexible framework, and designed to remain nimble and adjust to continuous organizational changes without compromising either the speed or quality of our talent development strategies.” 

But, agility is a two-way street. Employees can be trained on adapting to business needs, but adapting your L&D strategy to their present and future needs will help employees materialize how innovation is, or can become, a regular part of how your company conducts business. Martin Hayter, Global Assurance Learning Leader at Ernst and Young recognizes that, “That personalization can come either from our professionals accessing required content at the right time for them, or from choosing specific content relevant for their role and the clients they’re working on.” Markets and technologies move quickly, and by implementing an agile L&D strategy you can train employees on how to adapt to the fast-changing priorities of your organization and your industry, and implement new innovations on the fly.

Experimentation Requires Recalibration

Delving into innovation will require a degree of experimentation, as you figure out what training strategy shows itself best in your metrics, and has the most positive impact on employee satisfaction and performance. Findcourses.com.uk’s 2019 L&D report reported that 42% of employees valued professional development as their most important employee perk, so making sure you implement the right fit will be an ongoing process.

Take the time to do a post-mortem on your training strategies, evaluate the needs of your organization, and the current trends of your industry to re-strategize how you implement innovation through L&D. Be flexible, but also stay reflexive. The report found that companies with executives highly engaged in L&D were 3x more likely to say their company had a culture of innovation. Recalibrate your L&D strategy with trainee feedback to understand how to implement innovation applicable to them.

Shifting organizational culture from the training room will allow you to build a culture of innovation from the ground up, or transform your existing culture to be more applicable to the needs of your industry. Recognizing that innovation is a learnable skill, not an inherent quality makes training employees into innovation an ongoing organizational process, simultaneously fostering a culture of learning and a culture of innovation. Take the plunge to ensure your organization’s success for the long term. 

Max Maccarone is a content editor for the higher education portal educations.com and professional development search engine findcourses.com. Originally from Canada, Max relocated to Stockholm after graduating from York University in Toronto. An avid traveller, Max is dedicated to creating diverse and engaging learning and development content for a wide-range of publications.

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