Is there little success when there is little laughter? The truth will probably lie somewhere in the middle. Be that as it may, a recent study by GoodHabitz shows that the majority of Belgian employees would be happier if their current employer gave them access to more development opportunities. It must be the case that the government has also read this study because, in the recently published Labour Deal, there is some new legislation about learning and development. And from then on, we’re all ears!
Labour Deal – what’s in a word?
First, let’s start with a little recap of the Labour Deal itself. The main objective is to get as many people to work as possible. Namely towards an employment rate of 80%. The deal consists of several measures that provide flexibility for both the employer and the employee. With the following main pillars:
- The minimum announcement period about schedules for part-time variable employees will be extended.
- Employees can request an adjustment of their full-time working hours (e.g., 4-day week).
- Better protection for platform employees.
- Night work in e-commerce companies will be loosened.
- Employers with at least 20 employees must include agreements on disconnection in the labour regulations.
- Employers with at least 20 employees must have a formal training plan, containing at least the training offered and the target audience for whom they are intended.
- With at least 20 employees, the employer must also provide an individual training entitlement for each full-time employee of 4 days from 2023 and 5 days from 2024. At least 10 employees, but fewer than 20 employees, then 1 training day per year is sufficient.
A lot of ground to cover, so let’s focus on one of those pillars. More precisely, the link between learning and the Labour Deal.
Not all sunshine and rainbows
We cannot neglect the fact that there is quite some criticism of the Labour Deal itself. The right to disconnect, the right to training, a better framework for platform economy…. In fact, this is a logical modernisation of Labour Law! Yet the detailed measures in the Labour Deal are often very uncompulsory. A right to training and a formal training plan is not yet an employee upskilling….
Further, it is one thing to impose a formal training plan, but who is going to draw it up effectively? Indeed, this will often be the job for HR departments, which are usually already quite tight in terms of L&D capacity. Besides, a minimum amount of training days per year says nothing about the quality of those trainings. Pessimists could argue that the Labour Deal will only increase the administrative burden for HR/L&D departments and that training quality is neglected.
In short, these are not the great, evidence-based reforms that we saw in other countries. But hey, isn’t the grass always greener on the other side of the fence? Let’s have look on the bright side of things.
Learning and development as a passport for the future
The Labour Deal should also lead to a strengthening of the competence of all employees. Maybe even be necessary if you want to guide your organisation through increasing automation, robotisation, and digital transformations. Competencies are declining faster than ever before and the focus is less on technical skills. On the other hand, digital and soft skills are in the spotlight of attention.
The government probably also considered buzzwords. For instance, “the war for talent”. After all, when choosing an employer, young employees attach great value to the opportunities to learn and develop themselves.
That’s where the formal training plan comes in the picture. Such a plan contains at least the courses offered and the groups of employees for whom they are intended. This concerns both formal and informal training, such as on-the-job-training, self-study, or conferences. Luckily, e-learning courses are also eligible under the Labour Deal. In the end, an employee should easily see what’s available to learn. In ideal circumstances, this is all nicely tracked and easily transferrable when changing positions. You can compare it with an educational passport! And when I see education and passport in one sentence, Malcolm X does pop up in my mind…
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X
Put the money where the mouth is – learning platform
When setting up your formal training, and to be in line with the government’s Labour Deal, all your employees must have access to personal development. A wide range of opportunities to learn is the key to success. But how to facilitate this? That’s where a learning platform (LMS, LXP, TXP,…) joins the game.
Two birds, one stone
A learning platform almost always includes a catalogue. In this way, an employee can simply go through the available training and decide which one might be of interest. When setting up the catalogue, you decide which group gets to see what. Ideally, the catalogue includes both formal and informal training allowing you to get two birds with just one stone.
A stage to thrive
To stimulate learning and development, one of the most important tools is communication. By creating a learning stage, for example via a centralised learning platform, you increase the visibility of learning within the organisation and that stimulates the desire to thrive and continue learning.
Less is more
To encourage lifelong learning, it is advisable to be part of a routine. By offering short, bite-size learning opportunities, like microlearning, development is discussed more often, and learning becomes more enjoyable because it is perceived as less stressful. In this way, it becomes a habit, instead of something that only occurs incidentally as an intervention. A lot of work to set this up? Absolutely not, a lot of systems have certain features built-in! For instance, Rise Up‘s platform does have a ‘sprint’ feature where you select the amount of time you have and the system suggests content that you can do within that timeframe. Or aNewSpring‘s memotrainer that helps your employees to remember what they have learned with short rehearsal questions. We need to get rid of the idea that training implicitly is about spending a couple of hours in a dull classroom… less is often more!
Let’s make it fun
If you make learning a fun activity, training will become a good habit over time. For instance, pair certain badges to your training that employees can obtain. Think about leaderboards, points, and incentives based on the platform activity. Most learning platforms have some options built-in, make use of them!
Every day counts
In 2023, full-time employees are entitled to 4 training days. From 2024, this will be 5. Because these numbers are calculated in hours, they do not necessarily have to be full-day courses. But how to track them? You can go for a good, old-fashioned spreadsheet. However, with a learning platform in place, you can assign these hours to the employee’s account and let the system calculate everything for you!
To measure is to know
Training should have a prominent place within an organisation if this is not yet sufficiently the case. By giving it a place within the business strategy and therefore also connecting clear goals and KPIs to it, results become clear more quickly. For example, using various tools, such as questionnaires and peer-to-peer assessments, you can monitor the impact of learning and adjust where necessary.
In a nutshell
To remain competitive with neighbouring countries in a rapidly changing labour market and to ensure that everyone has the required skills, I do understand the Labour Deal. Still, putting it into practice is something else…
I believe that a learning platform can play a crucial role here. You can use it internally as well as externally, and the learning opportunities are available at any time, anywhere. You can automate administrative processes surrounding training and measure impact.
Want to know more about the endless opportunities of a corporate training platform? Let’s have a chat!