From education to employment

How to show appreciation for your teams? Implement one-to-one learning

Johnny Clarke

2023 has been a tricky year from an economic perspective. Showing appreciation for your teams has never been more important. In this piece, Johnny Clarke explains why and how implementing one-to-one learning and giving your employees the specialised care they need is the key to success.

As the country enters another challenging period, with a potential recession looming over us, we must find new ways to support one another inside and outside the workplace. The past few years have created a level of chaos and necessary adoption that we had not yet experienced. Between the pandemic, the great resignation, and now the cost-of-living crisis, we continue to navigate a high level of uncertainty, making this an important time for organisations to reflect on how they support and enable their teams.

As business leaders look to nurture talent and empower growth,  they should consider taking on one-to-one learning within their organisation. It can be an effective, though not often recognised, way of displaying appreciation that goes beyond the usual means of topline positive feedback or encouraging words. One-to-one learning means giving team members the opportunity to receive personalised training from a mentor or a coach, or pairing colleagues up with one another to create a buddying system. This can take many forms, but each way can bring several benefits for the employee specifically and the business in general.

A flexible approach

One of the advantages of one-to-one learning is its flexibility. Compared with group learning or a traditional classroom setup, one-to-one learning can take less rigid forms and be scheduled more flexibly and conveniently. Most importantly, it is tailored to individual needs and abilities. A personal example is the reading club I set up with my colleagues, where each member received a book containing useful insights into career development, leadership and work styles. One-to-one learning can take the shape of a regular buddy breakfast that a senior and junior colleague can go on together, creating a strong personal and professional bond over a lovely meal. This approach simply means that people can learn in a way that suits their unique needs – and there is no better way to feel appreciated.

Increasing the pace of learning – and your teams’ confidence

One of the most difficult aspects of workplace coaching is stalling when team members are on different trajectories or simply have less time to dedicate to training opportunities. Implementing one-to-one means every team member can learn and develop at their own pace, often resulting in quicker improvement and results. In this setting, mentors and coaches can identify areas where more support is needed and respond to these immediately.

Importantly, as well as seeing areas of development, a one-to-one learning partner can also shed light on strengths that team members were previously unaware of. Dedicating time to understanding a person’s strongest points is extremely beneficial, especially when so much of corporate training can be focused solely on sharpening “weaker” skills or giving staff completely new ones. Having the opportunity to work on what you’re already good at means getting a chance to understand yourself better – and celebrate your existing abilities.

Benefitting from personalised attention

We already know that giving team members upskilling and learning opportunities plays a key role in making them feel appreciated: research shows that highly engaged staff experience over 50% lower turnover than those that feel less invested in.

One-to-one learning takes this to the next level. Mentors, coaches, or buddies can provide a high level of personalised attention that is near-impossible to replicate via traditional training. In a one-to-one setting, not only are teams getting more facetime, this is also specifically tailored to each employee’s development areas, learning style, and personality, creating far higher levels of engagement – and a more effective learning experience.

Teams who are engaged in this way will feel supported and valued by their organisation, which in turn, boosts their levels of motivation and thirst for learning and improvement.

Although one-to-one learning can often seem more time-consuming than group learning, it offers huge benefits and brings an unmatched feeling of appreciation and fulfilment to your team. Investing time and effort into this type of training can help teams develop themselves in an enjoyable and motivating way, setting you as their leader up for success on the individual and organisational level.

By Johnny Clarke, Team Leader UK,

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