The Forbes Human Resources Council, a community of human resources executives in various industries, offered four training and development initiatives learning leaders can explore at their own organizations if they aren’t already.

Lunch and learns: This is a great chance for staff members who’ve recently attended a class or conference to share what they’ve learned. They can give a 30-minute to hourlong presentation on their takeaways from the learning event, which can benefit them and their colleagues.

Mental health talks: The human resources department at Influence & Co. brought in a mental health expert to discuss with staff the things that lay beyond what’s covered in the employee manual. That includes things like mental health in the workplace, an employee’s responsibility when requesting a reasonable accommodation for mental health issues, what resources are available to help employees with mental health concerns and breaking the stigma around mental health.

Shadowing and cross-training: In cross-training, employees learn someone else’s responsibilities at their company, which can help to build their skills and effectiveness. Shadowing provides a similar value, and both give employees a vision of mobility at the company. It is also valuable to have more than one person knowledgeable about other roles so they can help out when extra hands are needed to complete work.

The World Wide Web: There is a lot of content available at little or no cost that can add value to staff and complement formal learning and development initiatives already running at an organization. Book clubs, professional development articles and educational videos such as TED Talks that touch on areas relevant to employee skills and work are just a few ideas.

Bravetta Hassell is a Chief Learning Officer associate editor. Comment below or email

Tags: cross-training, learning and development, lunch and learn, mental health, shadowing

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