Learner journey mapping is vital to improving employee performance, behavior, and productivity. We’ll discuss the steps to map the learner journey in an organization and the benefits it offers in the long term.
Employee training is no longer a one-time process. It doesn’t end with a quick session or a couple of webinars. Organizations are revamping their training programs to create continuous learning modules. The focus has shifted to developing learner journeys for employees. Statistics show that 67% of HR managers say that the L&D budget will increase in 2022. Around 72% of them say that they pay more attention to employee mental health training with a bigger budget.
From the employee point of view, 76% say they would like to stay with an organization that pays attention to their learner journey and invests in L&D. Skill gap is real, and one in every two businesses is focusing on bridging the gap through training. However, more companies need to step up and reassess their training methods. Employee upskilling and reskilling are gradually gaining attention in the industry.
But how can an organization create a comprehensive learner journey path for its employees? What are the steps involved, and why is it necessary to change training and development to learning and development? Let’s find out.
What is Learner Journey?
Learning is a continuous process, a series of events that target different aspects of the learner and the organization’s requirements. For example, learning includes gaining knowledge about the job, the processes, and the skills required as well as the necessary attitude, approach, and frame of mind to deliver the results. Hard skills, soft skills, and employee behavior are important and get equal attention.
The learner journey is the path from the employee’s entry into the workplace to the exit point. Employee learning doesn’t end after the training session ends. Employees will continue to learn and fine-tune their skills throughout their stay with the business. Formal and informal training is a part of the learner journey. Assessments are also a must to ensure that the learner journey is on the right path and that employees benefit from it.
Explain Employee/ Learner Journey Mapping
The learner journey is not the same for every employee. It may or may not be linear. Unlike traditional training programs, the learner journey cannot be rigid or fixed. It has to be tailor-made based on various factors like:
- Organizational goals and vision
- Employee skills and knowledge
- Job description and requirements
- Employee behavior patterns
- Company culture and workplace rules
- Employee roles and responsibilities, etc.
Learner journey mapping is the process of identifying, creating, and implementing employee journeys in the organization. It has to be flexible, scalable, and align with the business vision.
Steps to Mapping the Learning Journey
Mapping the employee learning journey is a step-wise process. The HR teams and top management have to pay attention to the macro and micro information when mapping the learner journey.
Step One: Who are the Audience?
Who are you creating the program for? What do the audience/ employees want from the training program? Understand the audience/ learners’ existing skills to determine the talent gap that has to be bridged by mapping the learner journey.
Here, new and existing employees are considered separately to create customized programs. If you are yet to recruit new candidates, the focus should begin with the job offer posted to attract eligible professionals to the enterprise.
Conduct surveys, send questionnaires, and use other methods to gather information to understand employees before creating the learner journey for their growth in the organization.
Step Two: What Do You Need?
What does the management want from the program? What are the organization’s mission and vision? What are the short-term, midterm, and long-term goals? What are the industry standards?
Find answers to these questions in the second stage. Knowing your core organizational values and goals is as important as knowing your employees. Both elements have to be aligned at all times for the business to become successful in the competitive market.
At this stage, businesses also need to consider stakeholders and their expectations. There needs to be proper communication between the top management, leadership, and HR managers to ensure that those who map the learner journey and implement it are aware of the organization’s vision and have the same ideas as the founders/ leadership.
Step Three: Identify the Skill Gap
The data from steps one and two are compared in this stage. It gives a clear picture of what is available, what is expected, and the existing gap between the two. Correctly identifying the skill gap in the enterprise is crucial to mapping the learner journey and creating training programs.
The skill gap needs to be bridged effectively to achieve the targets. Here, you also have to consider the methods to reduce the gap. Statistics show that more than 50% of HR managers rely on training and development, while around 34% look to hiring new candidates, and the remaining turn to offshore/ freelance service providers.
Since new candidates also require some form of training, developing a robust L&D program is considered to be cost-effective and employee-friendly.
Step Four: Answer the Whys & Whats
A lot of ‘whys’ will appear when you start mapping the learner journey for your employees. It is essential to understand them and find appropriate answers. These answers have to be shared with the employees and stakeholders. Communication is the key to creating an effective learner journey within your organization.
Inform employees about the developments and take their input. Consider their vision to see how it can be aligned with the business vision. For example, many professionals today want to build a portfolio career with a wide range of experiences. Does your organization give them what they want? Why should a business provide employees with growth opportunities? How do the L&D program help employees and the business?
Step Five: Create a Clear Path for the Journey
The above steps will highlight the roadblocks and challenges you need to tackle for mapping the learner journey. Such challenges have to be handled at this stage to create a clear path for seamless learning.
For example, the existing training material may be outdated or insufficient. You may have to invest in LMS and assessment tools to provide continuous learning opportunities for employees. Immersive techniques will have to be adopted in place of older training methods.
What can you do to ensure that employees are benefiting from the programs? How do you conduct assessments to measure the success of learner journey mapping? What can you do to create an uninterrupted learning path with little or no distractions?
Step Six: Eliminate Triggers to Enhance Learner’s Experience
The last step in mapping the learner journey deals with monitoring the process and using feedback to make changes. Assessment and feedback tools are used in this step to gather the required information.
For example, PrepAI is an AI quiz generator used by SMBs and large enterprises to determine the extent of knowledge acquisition and retention by employees. The tool can be integrated with the existing LMS to automate question papers and conduct assessments at a moment’s notice. It accepts multiple input formats (Wiki search, Docx, PDF, video, and text) and allows you to create a test paper with varied questions (MCQs, true/false, fillups, and descriptive). The assessments can be scheduled at different stages of the learner journey to gather data for insights.
The trainers, mentors, and coaches should pay special attention to triggers that affect employees in different ways. Issues that negatively impact an employee should be eliminated to create a safe work and learning environment in the enterprise.
Benefits of Mapping Learners Journey in an Organization
But why is learner journey mapping necessary? Why should a business invest in enhancing the employee journey? Here’s why.
Employees will become more aware of the organization’s core values and processes. They will also know their strengths and weakness. When employees have more information, they will be better prepared to handle the job and make the necessary effort to achieve the goals. It also allows them to explore their abilities at work and prove their worth.
Not all employees are equally motivated, nor do the same things motivate them. Some employees might be motivated by the prospect of a bonus or additional rewards, while some might enjoy a complex challenge and freedom to make decisions at work. Mapping the learner journey gives the management insight into what motivates each employee and why. This information can be used to encourage employees to give their best and deliver results.
The basis of the learner journey map is to increase employee participation. Here, participation is not limited to the employee performing their tasks. It deals with their interaction at work, their additional inputs to the business, ideas, opinions, and zeal to try something new to increase returns. When employees feel motivated and involved with the business, they will be active participants and decision-makers.
Willingness to Experimentation
Employees with access to learning programs will be confident and eager to experiment with work. Experimentation and feedback are necessary for a business to improve and stay relevant in the changing market conditions. It makes employees more open to change, which helps the top management easily adopt the latest technologies to streamline business processes and earn better returns.
The learner journey provides several opportunities to establish communication between the employees and management. There will be fewer instances of misinformation being spread when there are effective communication channels within the organization. This brings clarity to the situation. Keeping the feedback loop open is important for everyone associated with the business to have the same vision and goals.
It takes time and effort to implement effective changes in the workplace. Skills and behavioral changes can be reinforced through continuous formal and informal learning programs. Learner journey mapping is an effective method to make employees an integral part of the organization and enable them to see the business from the leadership’s point of view.
The learner journey is essentially employee-centric but also has to bridge the skill gap in the enterprise. Empower employees to become active stakeholders of the business and generate better returns in terms of performance, productivity, customer satisfaction, market share, and profits.