5 Reasons Why You Should Re-Evaluate Corporate Learning
Research has shown that the skills gap is becoming an increasing worry for CEOs. It's time for business leaders to modernise the way they encourage employee learning.
Nearly four out of five CEOs in the UK are worried that lack of key skills could be one of the top threats to their business’s growth prospects, according to PwC.
It’s no mystery as to why having a skilled workforce is crucial to success – especially in the current climate. But many of our current tactics for addressing the skills challenge don’t seem to be working. Adding to the issue is the fact that the corporate learning sector suffers from a massive image problem, seen as dry and dusty at best, or totally out of touch – the inept business trainer trying to impart irrelevant skills to an unengaged group of employees is a staple of every film or sitcom set in a workplace. Russ Lidstone, CEO of The Creative Engagement Group, offers his thoughts on how corporate learning can be revitalised.
It’s time to rethink corporate learning. By embracing fresh thinking and new approaches, we can move away from the dread that so many people (and organisations) have about corporate learning and make it something that truly adds value to businesses. It’s something we truly believe in, hence our recent acquisition of Logicearth Learning Services.
At the heart of what Logicearth does are five tenets, shaping an approach to learning that can help close the skills gap that so worries CEOs. Are these tenets that shape your training philosophy?
1. Let your need guide platforms, not vice versa
Digital platforms, much like physical spaces, promote specific and nuanced behaviours. Choose your platform with the same care that you would apply to designing a building with an architect.
Meanwhile, a digital learning leader in an enterprise organisation has access to a portfolio of platforms. Such modern learning provision serves the needs of both the employee and the organisation.
Choose your platform with the same care that you would apply to designing a building with an architect.
Platforms support self-directed learners with content relevant to their roles that is easily discovered and delivered to any device. Experts inside the organisation can quickly produce and distribute valuable content. Rich data is gathered and used to inform talent strategy.
A service portfolio of learning platforms is about agility, flexibility and making data-driven decisions. Organisations can use this rich toolkit to tailor each learning intervention for the specific business challenge.
2. Remember, employee engagement and learning are inextricably linked
The pace at which knowledge, skills and roles change has greatly increased. LinkedIn research shows that 63% of employees consider themselves to be professional learners and that 94% of employees would stay at a company that supported their career development. An organisation with a strong learning culture as part of its employee engagement strategy sees benefit to both the business environment and the employees.
Giving employees the autonomy to be able to direct their own learning, investing in coaching and mentoring and building a culture in which curiosity and learning are celebrated will yield genuine success.
3. Measure what matters
Re-evaluating the role of corporate learning means looking again at how the success of learning interventions is measured. Traditional learning and development measures – the number of classroom participants, for example – while important to track engagement and usage, do not speak to ROI or business performance.
We look deeper into the actual performance of staff and how that performance generates value to the business. We demonstrate that learning has been applied in the workplace and that the application of the learning has boosted the performance of the company.
So, you could see a sales enablement learning campaign where a sustained effort to educate sales staff on a new product range results in more qualified leads or a fresh approach to onboarding where the crucial time to performance is being reduced.
Making a connection from the actions of individual employees true to strategic business goals ensures that corporate learning programmes can really make a difference.
4. Consider immersive technology combined with world class learning design
By leveraging Virtual Reality (VR) in a training session, the learner can enter a simulation of an oil rig, for instance. VR allows the learner to test the limits of safe practice in this environment to gain competence, with such simulations now closely mirroring the real world.
VR and Augmented Reality also allow individuals to safely practice soft skills. These technologies can place the learner in someone else’s shoes to understand how they feel and how they would act in this situation.
The ability to feel genuine empathy with another, even just for a moment, is powerful.
5. Apply to learning the principles of good communication planning
After many years spent in advertising and marketing communications, I know that the core principles of creating relevant, compelling and authentic communications using mixed channels remain truer than ever. But I also believe these core principles are just as critical today in corporate learning.
Learning – a discipline where strategy, creativity, technology, channel thinking and data analytics meet – is one of the most mould-breaking areas for strategically minded, creative, digitally conversant and experientially minded communicators. When practices from communications and marketing are applied to corporate learning, a clear move from traditional event-based classroom delivery to continuous learning experiences with the employee at their centre will emerge.
Modern learning technologies learn what the individual needs and respond automatically with essential content delivered to the point in need in a similar way to digital marketing workflows and consumer platforms, like Netflix.
Learning – a discipline where strategy, creativity, technology, channel thinking and data analytics meet – is one of the most mould-breaking areas for strategically minded, creative, digitally conversant and experientially minded communicators.
Learning campaigns are managed like digital communications with structure, agility and deep audience understanding with behavioural nudges and a mix of channels used to draw the employee into an unforgettable experience.
Through innovation, companies like Logicearth are working to drive a corporate learning revolution – which will come when people’s eyes are opened to what’s possible with flexible, remote and self-directed learning. Though the current Covid-19 pandemic poses profound challenges, if it underlines the value of a fresh approach to corporate learning then that will surely be of benefit to us all.