Tuesday, 28 May 2024
Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Why learning and development is so important to Alzheimer’s Research UK

John Gregg, Head of Learning & Development at Alzheimer’s Research UK tells us about why learning and development is so important to supporting the charity in achieving its mission.

Q1) John, why do you place such a big emphasis on learning and development at ARUK?

Why learning and development is so important to Alzheimer’s Research UKLearning and Development (L&D) is often seen as ‘nice to have’, rather than a ‘must-have’. But ultimately, any business is only as good as the people within it. The work that our employees do every single day is vital in moving us towards our goal of revolutionising the way we treat, diagnose and prevent dementia, and ultimately discovering a cure. That’s why we invest in L&D platforms like LinkedIn Learning that enhance the performance of our employees, allowing them to build on their existing skills and develop new ones.

Q2) You mentioned LinkedIn Learning, how are you using this at ARUK?

LinkedIn Learning is a platform I first came across when working for another charitable organisation. As well as having more than 20,000 courses taught by expert instructors, with our learners typically engaging for one hour a month – its unique point of differentiation is that it helps me to build content hubs, quickly, and then scale it throughout the organisation whereby currently 95% of our LinkedIn licenses have been activated. It’s almost like having an extra team member working alongside you to deliver fit-for-purpose content for the team, which can be built into personalised individual learning paths.

To date, the top five skills our learners have been interested in outside of our own ARUK-specific content, include 1) Interpersonal communication & public speaking, 2) Project Management, 3) Personal Development & Career Management 4) IT systems (including Excell and CRM) and 5) Time management and Hybrid working.

We use this at Alzheimer’s Research UK because as the world of work continues to change, it’s important that we provide online training tools that don’t just rely on in-person trainer-led sessions. People are increasingly receptive to short-form content that fits their lifestyle, and with LinkedIn Learning our talent can access training on-demand, giving them an incentive to pick up training programmes when and where it suits them.

Q3) How receptive have your employees been to an increased focus on learning and development?

Why learning and development is so important to Alzheimer’s Research UKEmployees at Alzheimer’s Research UK have been hugely receptive and, senior leadership from all functions of the organisation are engaged and participate widely. In particular, something we call ‘community learning’ – whereby employees of the charity suggest learning content that gets pushed to the community and organisation-wide. By empowering our teams to get involved in the learning process, we’ve seen an increase in engagement by giving the teams greater control of their own learning.

Q4) For other non-profits looking to boost their L&D efforts, what advice would you give them?

Don’t be afraid to question your own processes. Why has training been designed in a certain way? What is the impact of the training programme you are delivering?

Reviewing your L&D efforts through a more critical lens can help you to keep stakeholders engaged throughout the planning and implementation of training.

With LinkedIn Learning, we’ve been able to review regular performance reports that aid us in identifying which topics are resonating with our employees and which are not. Showing this data to senior leadership has much more of an impact than just having conversations around L&D, as they can see the real-time influence of introducing certain learning measures to continue to secure investment here.

Q5) How do you see your L&D programme evolving over the next two years and what elements of it are you looking to continue with?

The nature of our organisation means that we have to be ready for technological advancements, whilst remaining agile in the face of societal changes.

With L&D platforms, such as LinkedIn Learning, we know we can bundle up content that supports employees in enhancing their learning around strategic goals alongside any physical training we may provide them. Collating content into fully formed training programmes is key for us as we set our L&D priorities for the next 3-5 years. This also helps us save on costs. As a charity, we don’t want to spend money on something that isn’t going to deliver us a real return on investment. We understand the ROI of a strategic L&D programme, however, and we also want to move with the times – which is what we rely on LinkedIn to do for us.

Ultimately, small teams can achieve big things, with the right tools and technology in place. Employees are the lifeline of a business, especially in our case, so developing and enhancing their skill sets is of paramount importance.

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