How are you pushing your team to pursue learning and development opportunities?

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CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
One thing I pushed hard last year is making development part of their quarterly goals, and we’re starting to see some benefits of that now. As part of their HR goals to deliver A, B and C, I want to see them attend specific trainings. We can debate whether they should go to training A or B, but we agree that they're still going to do some kind of training. Once we agree, it's on them to make the time and I’ll respect the time that they've made. We’ve also gamified it to some extent, which started happening across the company; people get bragging rights for that entire quarter. We have a lot of tools through LinkedIn via our corporate account, so we get those trainings for free.

In addition to that, I wanted to lead by example, because I write for Fortune and I work a lot with Harvard School of Business (HBS) as the CIO. I decided to try to get some professors from HBS to come in and talk to the teams about topics like leadership, diversity, and other high-level subjects. I was able to get that program started because of my close connections with the school, so now there’s an annual cohort for that as well.

One thing that I have learned is that while we often focus on tactical training, people want to develop their soft skills. I saw a lot of affinity towards the softer skills compared to the tactical things. Everyone seems to do these certifications in their sleep, but it's the softer skills that they need help to pursue. But how do you get people motivated to attend? Because it's still an investment of their time. It takes time away from their personal life, because those kinds of courses will give you homework, which you have to finish in order to get that certificate. 
Senior Executive Advisor in Software, 10,001+ employees
One of the things we've done with some of the teams is that we've baked in trainings as part of MBOs (management by objectives). There’s an emphasis on softer skills and giving back to the community in some way, be it a presentation, a talk, etc. We actually remunerate people based on the training that they've done. And we have leaderboards so that folks get to brag and share their progress. Gamification is an interesting thing.

The fact that we, as humans, are starting to focus on higher value things and things that are more personal to us, rather than just the professional or technical aspects, is encouraging. It makes me feel that we are evolving to a higher level of existence. The new generation of people who are coming in want to become leaders. They want to learn these skills and try to help promote them within the organization. We are creating a safe containing space for them to bloom and grow to become better human beings.
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CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

I think COVID was one of the catalysts for that higher level thought process. People want to do good. We have a large team in Ukraine and Russia, so when the Ukraine crisis started, the employees set up a 24/7 support hotline literally overnight. People who were certified mindfulness coaches or therapists in addition to their day jobs volunteered for that.

We also changed our website so that you could support people in Ukraine through, as people were doing with Airbnb. Just as you could book an Airbnb place in Ukraine and not go there, you could hire a freelancer in Ukraine on Upwork without asking for any deliverable. That money goes straight to the individual. We didn't have a crypto platform with the banks being closed, so I set up another process for Harvard Business School to transfer dollars to crypto in London and then distribute that crypto. I leveraged that, poured that into the platform and in three days, we had it up and running. The engineers who worked on it did not sleep in those three days. Everything happened super fast.

CIO in Telecommunication, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
From my perspective the biggest issue is actually apathy.  Employee's need to own their development, that ownership needs to be clear.  That being said I have my managers talk to each employee quarterly about their development plans to ensure we are fully supporting them and make sure it is discussed.  There are so many options these days when it comes to training, it's not hard to find the right blend of technical, business, and "soft-skills" and various price points.
We also develop people through stretch assignments.  We will put some teammates on projects that will require them to use skill that might not be part of their normal day to day activities, in area's they want to develop in and provide a support framework - a mentor to monitor and proactively reach out to them and/or other teammate that they can go to more reactively if they need help or support.
It sounds easy on paper, but it takes a lot of effort and focus to do well.  It should be important enough that you make it a priority    

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