With shifting external market conditions and business processes, learning and training programs have become critical to the business. Although employers across the board are already showing a growing interest in building their training capacities, business leaders are still waking up to the fact that there is a real need of holistic learning programs that enable employees to weather the future . Building a strong case for learning initiatives has never been easier, and more necessary.
A shift from older means to a newer paradigm
The advent of new age technologies have significantly altered the learning landscape and brought in techniques to make such programs more impactful. The shift from traditional classroom/courses based, one size fits all approach to newer and more robust ways of imparting knowledge including the use of gamification and VR technologies have made learning more immersive. The use of digital platforms and cloud computing have enabled employees to take control of their learning pathways. Increasing employee productivity demands continuous or lifecycle learning. Here are five effective ways of doing so:
• Make identification of learning gaps easier: A key part of a continuous learning framework is to make employees in charge of their learning. To ensure effectiveness, making it easier for employees to see what skills and knowledge they must build to close performance gaps in their current job proves vital and makes them more responsive to external changes.
• Provide feedback: Feedback is the bedrock of a healthy learning program. HR professionals can work closely with managers to give timely feedback on how employees perform and provide course corrective measures to help them align their learning needs with organizational goals.
• Make learning available: The concept of learning anytime, anywhere has to be a vital component of learning programs. Businesses need to invest in a digitized learning experience featuring an online dashboard that puts learning at employees’ fingertips and is personalized to the learning needs of the individual. Only then can a continuous learning approach be impactful in proactively addressing the company’s skill gaps.
• Integrate learning with talent management: HR is key in ensuring that learning programs are beneficial in enabling employees to remain productive. To do this successfully, there is a need for learning to be integrated into talent management policies. This will help ensure that the training being provided is tuned to both the growth of the company’s and their employees while impacting the culture.
• Quantify ROI: With the ‘ask’ of larger investments in learning technologies, HR also has to create better ways of quantifying their ROI. Tracking job performance in a timely and holistic manner is one of the most effective ways to show returns on investments in learning and development. Such capabilities such be part of the learning platform alternatively there are options of partnering with external solution providers who can help make this easy.
The future role of technology
To successfully implement a lifecycle learning program, technology has to be strategically leveraged. A Bersin research report states that the corporate learning tech is over $200 billion globally. With lifecycle learning becoming a focus, technologies that promote immersive experience while enabling employees to chart their own learning journeys are a growing need.
Morné Swart Vice President, Global Product Strategy & Transformational Leader at SumTotal Systems in a report noted that HR today has become vital in ensuring business sustainability with learning becoming a key offering. He explains how the “apt application of technology is imperative to enable them to do this.” The report highlights the need for HR to build forward-thinking learning management systems (LMS) and to “integrate such learning tech into larger business intelligence systems to ensure learning programs are responsive to business needs and enable lifelong learning journeys for their employees.”
Although learning programs have become more important in recent years, there still needs to be a larger focus on how such programs can be sustained for longer periods of time and through a employee’s life cycle, to ensure they are better prepared for changes in the workplace.