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Productivity in any organization whether for-profit or not-for-profit makes a significant impact on the organization’s growth and sustainability. Productivity helps drive the organization forward and is a key indicator of cost-efficiency. When not-for-profits battle with daily challenges in the areas of funding, volunteer turnover, and lack of resources, keeping a tab on productivity becomes all the more important. An often overlooked solution in our sector to improve productivity is strategizing learning and development as an organizational culture. This article focuses on five questions to help you reflect on your not-for-profit’s learning and development strategy.
 
1. How will learning and development improve productivity?
Each person’s competence levels directly impact the organization’s success. Learning and development is a solution that can help employees and volunteers to maintain, improve and upgrade competencies. Further, trends in socio-culture, funding, legislation, standards of practice, and community needs are rapidly changing in our sector. Providing just-in-time learning opportunities to employees help keep up with changing trends and more importantly, developing an organizational learning and development strategy is an excellent solution. 
 
2. Why should we spend on a learning program when you can review content on the Web?
Credibility matters. Learning facilitated by skilled learning and development professionals or institutions are carefully planned processes of comprehending something in its parts and understanding its application as a sum – going beyond the watch and learn buzz. In the not-for-profit sector, our community entrusts us with community resources and relies on us to apply proper standards of practice. We have a moral responsibility for efficient and effective utilization of these resources, time, and effort.
 
3. What is the extent of our learning and development strategy?
How far does your existing learning and development strategy go? Does it stop after the person is trained or do you measure its impact? A learning and development strategy should also have a strategy for tracking its implementation. Maintaining an up-to-date database of the learning needs and planned solutions to address these needs will ensure that no opportunity to uplift the competency levels falls through the cracks, and ensures that regulated and legislated requirements are met without putting the organization at risk due to non-compliance. 
 
4. What should we train our employees and volunteers in?
Learning generally falls into 6 key categories:
  1. New Hire Orientation
  2. Competence Building
  3. Compliance Training
  4. New Initiative Preparation
  5. Development
  6. Change Management
 
What learning and development are needed at your organization? What have you provided so far?
 
5. Who can support our Learning and Development strategy?
When you select an educational program, a learning service provider or an institution to partner with, evaluate the following to ensure that your investment is both worthwhile and productive:
 
a) Does the learning service provider truly understand the not-for-profit sector? A known or entertaining person to train your employees or volunteers may seem a tempting option, yet question their practical exposure to the nuances of the sector. The examples the facilitator provides can enhance or hinder the learning process based on their relevance.

b) How credible is the learning content? Determine whether the learning objectives are aligned with the current trends in the sector. Moreover, is the content relevant to your not-for-profit’s learning needs?    
 
At Volunteer MBC, we asked ourselves these questions in two perspectives. First, we looked at our own team’s professional development. Next, we looked at what we can do to build the capacity of our valued members. Volunteer MBC is committed to supporting your learning needs, and our doors are always open to discuss how our highly regarded facilitators and credible programs can help empower the role of employees, the board of directors and your volunteers. To browse our current professional development programs and to be updated with new programs, visit our learning portal.
 
Written By: Shaminda Perera, Manager of Learning & Resource Development | First Published on October 31, 2017

[ Modified: Thursday, 16 November 2017, 9:48 PM ]
 

  
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