​​This sets out the guiding principles behind workforce development. These principles focus on individual and organizational learning and development; continuous learning and development; shared responsibility for learning and development; and learning and development as an investment.

An organizational culture that promotes and supports learning and development is critical to achieving department business plans and government objectives. Success requires that workforce development initiatives be consistent with the guiding principles.

Individual learning and development

Individual learning and development requires the individual to focus on continuous learning and individual development. The individual initiates his/her own learning and development, to continually improve his/her skills and be flexible by being able to adapt to change.

Learning and development is best addressed on an individual level, with emphasis on competencies that improve employability either within or outside the public service. Learning and development should focus on helping employees develop competencies that support superior performance.

The Performance Excellence Framework provides the context in which learning and development takes place.  It connects organizational and individual performance. Learning and development plans ensure that individual skills, knowledge, and competencies match the requirements of current and future business plans, and individual career goals.

Learning and Development Indicators can help monitor and measure progress in a learning organization. They can provide the organization with the opportunity to assess progress and make adjustments to strategies.

The following are some indicators that may demonstrate the pursuit of individual learning and development:

  • managers and supervisors determining the skills and knowledge of their employees in relation to current and future needs
  • employees' awareness of where or how to find information on learning and development opportunities
  • employees' assessment of organizational support for their current and future learning and development
  • employees' assessment of organizational support to help them adapt to changes in their job or work environment
  • departments determining the gap between competency needs of the organization and an aggregate competency of employees
  • percentage of positions filled by internal candidates compared to the organization's target for internal hires
  • employees' assessment of their employability on leaving the Alberta Public Service
  • assessment of employability of employees remaining with the Alberta Public Service
  • percentage of employees involved in learning and development activities
  • post-learning assessment by employee and supervisor

Organizational learning and development

Organizational learning and development reflects the organization's capacity to convert its experiences into new skills, attitudes, values, behaviours and products, to develop and maintain processes to ensure the transfer of individual knowledge to collective knowledge and to ensure preservation and dissemination of such knowledge.

The following are some indicators that may demonstrate the pursuit of organizational learning and development:

  • number of departments that have implemented supports for a learning and development culture, such as:
    • competency development supports
    • self-directed learning and development supports
    • support for professional memberships
    • learning and development plans for each employee
    • rotation or exchange initiatives
    • programs that recognize learning and development
  • total level of proficiency for each competency
  • ease of meeting new demands with existing resources—for example, the number of employees able to take on new roles
  • number of exchanges within or outside the department
  • managers' and employees' assessment of the degree to which learning is shared across the department
  • number of employees who understand the department and its vision, mission, and business plan goals

Continuous learning and development

Learning and development should be a continuous process that meets present as well as future needs.

The concept of continuous learning recognizes that people learn something every time they read a book, perform a new task, get feedback from colleagues, and so on. Continuous learning encompasses personal growth and development. Classroom training is only one of many ways in which organizations promote learning and development. People can learn through a variety of forms, so learning should fit individual styles.

Within a rapidly changing environment, learning is most effective when it is just-in-time. Learning is most effective when it occurs as close as possible to the anticipated need and employees have the opportunity to immediately apply the competency on the job.

Shared responsibility for learning and development

Learning and development is a shared employer/employee responsibility, because both parties benefit. Investment in development activities—time, cost, and effort—should be shared by both parties in a way that reflects the benefits to be gained by each party.

Employees are responsible for their own learning and career development. The organization communicates which competencies individuals will need, ensures that opportunities are available, and provides the necessary support.

Learning and development as an investment

Learning and development represents an investment rather than a cost. Supervisors and managers are responsible for maximizing this investment by establishing expected outcomes and reinforcing, recognizing, and rewarding the application of new skills.

Workforce development is part of how the organization conducts business and is the heart of productive activity, rather than an activity separate from work.

About this directive

Effective Date: April 1, 2005
Contact: Alberta Public Service Commission:
Leadership and Talent Development; Learning and Development

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