Have you made your 2021 learning and performance New Year’s resolutions?

By Matt Linaker and Kayleigh Tanner

This time last year, who would’ve thought that this is where we’d be today? As you may know, the Totara team is based around the world. In our Wellington, New Zealand headquarters, things are relatively normal, with very few COVID-19 cases and many of our team now safely back in the office. In the US and Europe, however, everyone continues to work remotely. We know that these continue to be challenging times for our customers, but we’re delighted that Totara has made such a measurable difference for so many of you when it comes to adapting at speed.

Now we’ve made it to 2021, lots of us will be busy thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. If you’re keen to put 2020 behind you and make a fresh start, these resolutions will give you a great place to start for a productive new year.

A woman writing her New Year's resolutions

1. Make a plan

Like most other organizations, it’s likely that 2020 saw you scramble to move as much of your learning online as possible. It’s understandable that for many learning departments, this meant switching from face-to-face training to Zoom sessions, uploading existing paper-based resources online and lots more. With remote working (and learning) here to stay in some capacity or another for the foreseeable future, 2021 is the perfect time to build even more structure into your online learning.

If, like many organizations, you were forced to create your digital learning strategy at pace last year, take some time at the start of the year to plan how you will migrate from last year’s temporary online learning program to a more permanent, sustainable offering. Perhaps that means building your learning team, upskilling your HR team and coming up with a schedule for converting face-to-face training into permanent e-learning content as a starting point. 

2. Introduce social learning

While many people enjoy working remotely, you have probably found that many of your people also miss the social aspect of the traditional work environment. With a lack of face-to-face contact over the last year, your learners are probably craving different types of interaction.

Social learning, collaboration and informal knowledge sharing play a key role in every single organization’s learning activities, whether it’s supported by you or not. Without the incidental social interactions that usually occur in a physical workplace, where should your people go to informally share information and discuss ideas? 2021 could be the year you implement a dedicated platform for social learning, such as Totara Engage, to keep conversations alive and knowledge flowing throughout the organization.

Interested in social learning?

Take a look at what you will find in our learning experience platform (LXP) to support social learning, knowledge sharing and collaboration.

3. Improve your reporting

Whether you already had a comprehensive online offering or the pandemic forced your hand, it’s essential that you pay attention to your reporting and learning analytics to ensure you’re getting a good ROI on your training and platforms.

In Totara Learn and Totara Engage, you can create customized reports to dig into what and how your people are learning. Cut down on time-consuming admin by scheduling reports to go out automatically each week to stay on top of learning activity and your data. This will give you a powerful insight into which courses are working, which aren’t performing so well and how your learning is having a direct impact on your business goals.

You can learn more about reporting in Totara Learn here.

4. Align your learning and performance management strategies

The vast majority of organizations have learning and performance management strategies running concurrently. However, many of these organizations don’t align the two, instead treating learning and performance as separate entities. With Totara’s Talent Experience Platform, it’s simple to combine learning and performance in a single platform for easier management and reporting.

You can schedule and record your performance management conversations in Totara Perform, including informal check-ins and yearly appraisals, and link them to learning activities in Totara Learn or Totara Engage. This way, you can monitor the relationship between learning and performance to help accelerate both and give you a clearer idea of what’s going on in your teams.

Combine learning and performance

Sign up for our free course to find out how you can combine learning and performance in a single integrated platform.

5. Develop your own skills

Anyone working in learning or HR has likely found themselves with little time to work on their own skills development in the last year. While you probably found yourself thrown in at the deep end and picking up new skills along the way, now we’re settling into the new normal, you may find yourself with some time to take a breather and figure out what skills you will need next to stay ahead.

That’s why we created the Totara Academy. Sign up for free to access 40+ courses to help you get more out of your Totara subscription. Whether it’s seminar management, theming, certifications or even getting to know your new Totara Engage or Totara Perform system, it won’t cost you a thing, and will equip you with the skills you need to support learners no matter what happens next.

Create your free Totara Community account today for instant access to the Totara Academy.

6. Embrace certifications and badges

Working towards something tangible is a great way to motivate learners and boost course completion rates. For instance, many Totara customers used the pandemic as an opportunity to introduce health and safety certifications and badges to their learning management systems to help them stay on top of their compliance.

Open Badges are “portable,” meaning they will move with your employees. That means that if they change roles or even move to a new organization, they can still prove that they have completed vital learning, saving them time by not having to repeat the same training. Why not experiment with badges and certifications in 2021?

Learn more about Open Badges in the Totara Academy.

7. Combine learning, engagement and performance to adapt to your new world of work

Digital learning is already a staple for any modern learning team. HR teams have always wanted to keep employees engaged and motivated, and managers will always prioritize strong performance. This is nothing new - but what might be new is ensuring you’re delivering the best possible user experience across the board in all of these areas.

Blending formal and informal learning and supporting best practice performance management will be the key to success in 2021. Tackling learning, engagement and performance together will ensure a more holistic approach to people management, creating an adaptable, more resilient workforce. You can continue to build on any lessons learned in 2020 this year - and bringing together these three vital focus areas in a single, integrated Talent Experience Platform will see you right through to 2022 and beyond.

2021 New Year's resolutions for learning professionals

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Find out more about our Talent Experience Platform, including how it can help you meet your learning, engagement and performance goals in 2021.