An empowered learning and development team improves employee retention. In fact, according to a 2018 Workforce Learning report by Linkedin, a whopping 93% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers (Linkedin, 2018). Furthermore, according to a 2016 Gallup report, 87% of millennials consider learning and development as an important part of the workplace, while 59% of millennials say having opportunities to learn and grow is extremely important when weighing up job opportunities.
This is important when we consider that by 2025 millennials will make up 50% of the US workforce- and by 2030 millennials are predicted to represent 75% of the workforce (Mitchell, 2018). Consequently, focusing on learning & development moving forward is only going to improve retention rates and productivity for an organisation as it becomes a bigger priority for employees.
Design & Build realise this and have understood the importance Learning & Development plays not only for the greater company, but our employees’ morale and satisfaction. This is why we are excited to unveil our latest learning & development training program ‘Building Blocks for Success’ which has been designed to cater to all employees within the business – from associate consultants just starting their recruitment career to division managers fine-tuning their leadership skills. Today we talk to our Learning & Development manager Leanne Kemp on how the program works and why it’s so important to Design & Build’s continued success:
You started out your career as a recruitment consultant- even working as a recruiter at D&B! How did you transition into the training and development space?
I did start out as a recruitment consultant – even working for Design &Build for over 6 years in their Melbourne office when the company was starting out! After taking a break from the industry I decided I wanted to apply my managerial and consulting experience, and transitioning to the learning and development space seemed like an obvious choice. I just love it – but I do miss recruiting sometimes!
Why is ongoing learning and development so important- for both employee morale and the overall organisation?
It is important because learning isn’t finite, it’s a continual process and for the majority of people to feel engaged and motivated within their job- and in their life as well – they need to have constant stimulation, which often comes from learning new things and developing their skillset and knowledge. When we learn we feel productive and it is a tangible way to show our progress. Alternatively, when we feel like there is nothing left to learn or no accomplishment left to reach, we lose that drive, that sense of satisfaction, which lowers morale. This then has direct effects on a company’s overall productivity and can often lead to employees leaving an organisation in search of something else, which again results in more costs for the business when trying to replace them.
Everybody learns in different ways and have different functions within an organisation. How do you ensure you’re catering to these different needs when designing or running training programs?
Everyone has their preferred learning styles, so the aim for me when developing an effective L&D program was to ensure that all styles would be accommodated under one platform. To achieve this, we’ve focused on a blended learning approach, in which we use a range of different learning activities from shadowing and role-playing to online modules and collaborative workshops, to ensure that no matter if you’re a kinaesthetic, audio or visual learner or anything in-between, you can absorb the necessary information.
I’ve also tried to personalise the training program to the individual in terms of their own goals and previous experience. By spending time with them when they first start and asking them what they want to achieve or what they think their skill gaps are, I have a better idea of their learning styles, their strengths, and their L&D goals. This then helps me to fine-tune the program to their needs and ensure they stay motivated.
How can you determine individual progress- and the overall success of an L&D program?
I think progress is best determined or judged by continual feedback; from both the individual and their managers or team leaders. This way, if there are any areas for improvement they can be voiced, and give those going through the program something to focus on and aim for moving forward. Feedback also creates a chance for self-reflection. I like to check in with each trainee and see how they are travelling with the program. Their feedback will help to make alterations to their program if needed, For example, if they’re looking for more of a challenge, I’ll accelerate some of their key steps. Learning isn’t one-size-fits-all, so feedback is essential to find out how well the program is working for both the individual and their wider team.
Also, when each employee starts at Design & Build, I sit down with them and their managers to create some learning and development objectives and set these objectives against a timeline – these objectives can be achieved in the first few weeks, 6 months, 1st year etc. These objectives can then be used as a guide to determine the progress that is being made when we do our regular catch-ups.
Can you give a summary of the ‘Building Blocks for Success’ program you’ve developed? How is it applied to newcomers at D&B/PSP?
Our ‘Building Blocks For Success’ program is aimed to cater for all levels of the Design & Build business and has been split into three key levels; Foundation, Elevation and High Rise. The ‘Foundation’ portion of the program has been designed to give all newcomers to Design & Build and the world of recruitment, the foundation to acquire new knowledge and learn everything there is to know about recruitment. Alternately, the elevation level has been designed on consultants wanting to improve their skills and progress in their own careers. Meanwhile, the ‘High Rise’ level focuses on transitioning more experienced consultants into leadership-based positions and acquire the skills needed to make this transition relatively seamless.
The idea with this program is that no matter what level we are all at, there’s always room for improvement and I am so pleased that Design & Build prioritise training and development.
What do you think is the difference between ‘onboarding’ for new starters and further learning and development programs?
Obviously, all new employees will have to go through an onboarding process when joining Design & Build. Even the most experienced consultants won’t necessarily be familiar with the specific D&B culture, the systems and programs we use, and the different processes our teams use to maintain relationships with clients and candidates – depending on the division they are in. Onboarding can be more generic, however learning and development programs have to be more tailored to the individual and where they are at in their recruitment journey- which is where the Building Blocks For Success program comes in.
How are employees (new starters and associate consultants included) supported throughout the training program?
Support is so important, especially for our associate consultants who are just starting out in the industry! Feeling like you have the whole team behind you really helps you to persevere, especially in the beginning when you’re unsure and are still learning and can consequently have feeling of doubts creep in. Consequently, I like to make sure I am regularly checking in with everyone in our program; I have daily stand-ups with our associate consultants, weekly longer-form training and catch-ups and I also coordinate shadowing and mentorship programs, to ensure all new starters have colleagues they feel they can go to for advice and encouragement.
What are your goals for D&B/PSP’S learning and development resources over the next year?
We’re just at the beginning of our Learning & Development journey, which is exciting! As I’ve said previously, learning isn’t finite so there are always ways you can develop or improve your Learning and Development strategy. Considering that we’re still in the growth phase, moving forward, my key goals is to develop more content for the program itself and incorporate more collaboration from the wider team; especially managers and lead consultants, to ensure the program is as cohesive and relevant to new starters as possible.
If you’re looking for new opportunities within the recruitment industry or have always been interested in recruitment and would like to find out more about our Building Blocks For Success program, you can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Linkedin. (2018). 2018 Workplace Learning Report. Linkedin. Retrieved from: https://learning.linkedin.com/resources/workplace-learning-report-2018
 Mitchell. (2018). The Rise Of The Millennial Workforce. Wired. Retrieved from: https://www.wired.com/insights/2013/08/the-rise-of-the-millennial-workforce/