Improve Top Skills for Individual Contributors with These 3 Proven Learning Programs

Individual Contributors having discussion in office

In today’s fast-paced workplaces, individual contributors (ICs) often get sidelined in training efforts despite their crucial role in day-to-day operations and customer interactions. Surprisingly, 62% of ICs prefer to remain ICs, emphasizing the need to equip them with essential skills for success.  Investing in ICs’ growth fosters a culture of learning, collaboration, and resilience, crucial for navigating today’s dynamic business landscape.

ICs are instrumental in driving sales, customer interactions, and meeting company objectives. Their proficiency in soft skills directly influences long-term business performance, making their development a strategic imperative. And after teaching thousands of learners, Hone has curated three learning programs specifically designed for ICs.

Learning Program 1: Fundamental Workplace Skills

The objective of this first learning program is to equip ICs with clear actions to foster trust and establish positive working relationships, mitigate unconscious biases, and build strong time management and productivity habits. You can use a program like this to ramp up early career professionals, new hires, or level set all employees to build a shared foundation of frameworks and language.

Key skills to focus on at this stage

  • Building relationships: Strong workplace connections enable smoother communication, problem-solving, and support, enhancing professional growth and effectiveness in today’s workplace.
  • Managing bias: By recognizing and mitigating bias, ICs can make more objective decisions, collaborate effectively with diverse teams, and contribute to a culture of equity and respect in the modern workplace.
  • Productivity and execution: When tasks are completed efficiently and goals are achieved effectively, ICs can drive results, meet deadlines, and contribute to the overall success and competitiveness of their teams and organizations.

Classes to include in this learning pathway

trustworthy office man

Build High-Trust Relationships

Measure relationships strength (up, down, laterally, externally)

Understand the emotional bank account and theory of deposits and withdrawals

Cultivate deeper trust using the trust equation

woman managing bias in office

Manage Bias in the Workplace

Explore the different types of bias and where they originate from

Learn how affinity bias can influence access to opportunities

Practice strategies for mitigating bias and being a cultural ally

woman focused on work

Own Your Day

Maximizing energy available by using habit-forming strategies

Using deep focus blocks to direct energy to high-impact tasks

Sustaining energy by building restoration into the work day

woman in office feeling empowered

Utilize Your Strengths

How to use various techniques to identify your strengths beyond surface answers like “I enjoy solving problems.”

How to utilize and grow your strengths both in your day to day work and at key moments throughout the year


Learning Program 2: Individual Performance Accelerator

The objective of this learning program is to empower ICs with essential skills to enhance their performance, regardless of their position or role within the organization. You can use a program like this to boost intrinsic motivation, cultivate a bias toward action, and deepen self-awareness and reflection on their performance.

Key skills to focus on at this stage

  • Setting and achieving targets: By mastering this skill, ICs can enhance their productivity, track their performance effectively, and contribute significantly to the success of their teams and organizations.
  • Receiving and implementing feedback: When ICs are open to feedback, they can adapt their behavior and refine their skills to keep up with today’s dynamic work environment.
  • Continuous improvement: Embracing continuous learning and development is crucial for individual contributors (ICs) to foster innovation, adaptability, and maintain a competitive edge in today’s rapidly evolving workplace.

Classes to include in this learning pathway

woman reaching her goals

Set Powerful Goals

How to set TRAMS (time-bound, relevant, attainable, measurable, specific) goals

How to increase the likelihood that you will achieve your goals by making them more visible

woman in office planning her day

Prioritize the Right Work

How to avoid “almost right” priorities and focus on the right things

How to map your priorities to a SMART goal and rank them by your chosen factors

How to schedule, assign, and communicate your priorities clearly to all stakeholders

woman getting feedback from coworker

Get Feedback That Improves Your Performance

How to put together a feedback A-team whom you can trust to give you helpful feedback

How to ask goal-based questions that lead others to give you concrete suggestions for how to improve

How to receive feedback well and make the most of it – even if it is not delivered in the most helpful way

woman looking at computer developing skills

Hone Your Skills

How to get things to stick in your long term memory

How to get the most “bang for your buck” by practicing deliberately

How to push your skills by studying top performers and being part of a community of practice


Learning Program 3: Personal Influence Mastery

This program is meant to transform the way individuals communicate and deepen relationships with colleagues to drive a wider sphere of influence regardless of seniority. You can use a program like this as next-level development for any employee who frequently collaborates cross-functionally and/or with external clients and partners.

Key skills to focus on at this stage

  • Giving feedback: By providing constructive feedback effectively to leadership, their peers, and external customers/partners, ICs can facilitate improvements, strengthen relationships, and contribute to a positive and productive work environment in today’s dynamic workplace.
  • Active listening and questioning: This helps ICs facilitate understanding, promote effective communication, and enhance problem-solving abilities within teams.
  • Resilience amidst conflict: ICs must be able to navigate challenges, maintain focus, and foster positive relationships amid disagreements or setbacks in order to be successful collaborators.

Classes to include in this learning pathway

man influencing coworker's decision

Influence Without Authority

Diagnose motivation by asking the right questions

Prioritize individual and group deposits to inspire influence and build partnerships.

woman giving feedback to coworker

Give Feedback That Lands

How to give effective feedback

Acknowledging and validating

Asking open-ended questions

man asking question over video call

Ask Powerful Questions

Evidence-based strategies for mitigating bias and bridging differences on your team

Powerful questions to ask when coaching, building relationships, making decisions, innovating, and managing conflict

How to sequence your questions effectively to get the most out of your conversations

woman collaborating over video call

Transform Conflict Into Collaboration

Step-by-step process to manage conflict and de-escalate challenges

Improved communication skills for conflict resolution


Power skills development for everyone

Making sure ICs have the right skills is key for business success. The learning programs we’ve discussed give managers the tools they need and help ICs thrive in their roles, boost their performance, and have more impact in the organization.

At Hone, we have structured learning programs and individual classes designed specifically for ICs at every stage of their career. By giving ICs these important skills, companies can create an environment where everyone is always getting better, working together.

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