How are you providing learning and development (L&D) opportunities?

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Chief Information Officer in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
There are learning and development (L&D) opportunities for enablement, such as sales and CSM enablement, where we're constantly teaching them about our products. Or when it comes to customer enablement, we’re teaching our customers how to use our product and drive adoption. But L&D for individual employees is more so HR’s domain. In those cases, we want to make sure that the employers are thinking about manager bootcamps, executive or leadership training and individual training tools that are provided online. Using LinkedIn Learning or Udemy, they can develop their skills to perform better or develop their career paths. 
CISO in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees
Learning and development comes up in our engagement surveys, so it's something my team and I have been trying to work on. We're a busy security team and there's so much to keep up with in terms of trends, new platforms and vendors. If the team is bogged down with security work, they don't get the time to look at the trends and feeds to see everything that's going on.

To help them keep pace with industry changes, we implemented a weekly afternoon where the whole team is doing professional or personal development. The focus could be anything but it's usually related to the role; they’re often researching something for a problem they're working on, or doing some vendor training on a new security tool. But it could be wider than that, depending on what they need to do.

We've found that having that dedicated time for the whole team to work on development has been quite good. As the manager I'm not distracting them during that time if I don't need to and neither are their peers. And once a month, we use that afternoon session to come together and discuss what we've learned. That allows us to learn from each other as well, so we each get the benefit of other people's learning. But finding the time is essential because if you don't put time into it during the workday, you’re expecting people to do it all after hours, and that doesn't work as well if they're not self-motivated to do it during that time.
Director of IT in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
The way that you learn as an adult is so different from when you learn as a child. Adults learn through doing, which is why the tools and platforms that include gamification are so effective. It’s because you're not just consuming content in that situation; you're applying what you're learning and being incentivized for it too. I try to incorporate that type of contextual learning for our teams.

We have what I like to call “training vacations,” where they block out a certain amount of time every quarter. We do that because the biggest challenge is getting them to stop what they're doing and not multi-task or context switch as they're training for certifications. The training vacation forces them away from the day-to-day workflows and email, so they can be heads down when they’re doing that development work. They can consume the content and then also have real-time exposure to apply what they learned. Sometimes that means taking a risk by putting somebody on a project who has more peripheral knowledge and pairing them with somebody who’s experienced. Then they're learning by doing the work alongside someone who already knows it, versus trying to learn it within a classroom without any application.

Hands-on experience is important, even when I'm looking at candidates to bring into the team. I often see certified Salesforce experts who have all of the certifications, but only 18 months of actual hands-on experience. I would rather take somebody with five years of experience and one certification because, from an applicability perspective, that person will bring in more value. They can recognize the right way and the wrong way, and they know what great looks like.

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