Is It Time to Rethink Your Employee Learning Program?
Leverage the Power of Your People
In our connected world, learning and development (L&D) professionals know that employee training is constantly evolving to keep pace with technological advancements and an increasingly diverse workforce. Today’s learners prefer personalized information and expect it to be delivered quickly, efficiently and seamlessly across devices and channels. It’s no wonder that knowledge sharing among peers and social learning are becoming more pervasive, particularly among millennials and the YouTube generation.
According to the eLearning industry, 85 percent of corporations have some type of learning management system (LMS) installed, but many are unsatisfied because of ROI analytics, lack of functionality or poor ease of use. Yet, the global LMS market is expected to grow to $38 billion by 2027, and mobile learning is projected to reach a $80.1 billion market size by 2027. Some 72 percent of companies believe eLearning puts them at a competitive advantage, and 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies use an LMS extensively to keep their competitive advantage.
A learning and training culture that develops engaged and productive employees is on everyone’s minds, but some companies lack the proper strategy or implementation when it comes to training. In some cases, throwing out the old, instructor-led employee training in favor of a more agile and fluid model is the best approach for reaching today’s learners.
Coaching and Mentoring
Businesses that invest in employee development see improved employee retention, engagement, productivity and performance. A learning culture that scales and is recognized across the organization can drive that goal. Research also shows that more than 70 percent of learning occurs informally while on the job, and there are many other factors to consider.
In USA Today’s annual Future of Education feature on its Education and Career news site, Phil Friedman, president and CEO of CGS, discusses coaching and mentoring as one way to combat loss of internal knowledge. He says that finding ways to maintain the expertise of the 75 million baby boomers who are nearing retirement is absolutely critical. Setting up a system of formal or informal coaches and mentors can help solve that challenge.
Another learning and development trend that helps combat knowledge drain for more engaged, productive employees is crowdsourcing internal expertise. Emerging new learning technologies continue to drive into the constantly changing and ever-evolving ways in which employees share knowledge, which in turn helps organizations meet their business goals. In fact, failing to share knowledge efficiently and systematically can cost a company greatly in revenue. Fortune 500 companies lose approximately $31.5 billion a year by failing to share knowledge.
“The trend is taking off, and we see it getting bigger,” said Doug Stephen, SVP of Enterprise Learning at CGS. “One example is a fast-moving consumer goods client; the brand increased its investments in crowdsourcing by almost 50 percent.” Another example: IBM held an “Innovation Jam,” a huge online brainstorming session with 150,000 employees from 104 countries. During the session, 46,000 ideas were produced, and 10 new IBM businesses were launched with seed investment totaling $100 million.
In an age when a YouTube video has the potential to reach many thousands or millions of people, high-performing organizations and employees have found that video content is a powerful method for knowledge sharing. Organizations can also encourage knowledge sharing that does not detract from core responsibilities by gathering feedback and communicating insights digitally, by employing e-coaching technologies or by using remote learning. The only requirement for these techniques is a mobile phone.
Social learning is a natural answer for millennials and other digital natives, but older employees stand to benefit a great deal from this trend, as well. Utilizing closed social platforms—such as Yammer, Teams, Workplace or Slack—as a business process management, collaboration or communication tool can be a productive move for companies and teams. Internal forums or processes can also be helpful. Regardless of the technologies and methodologies, sharing knowledge between employees creates a better-informed and more cohesive workforce.
Knowledge gained is only as good as knowledge shared and applied. Companies may best be served by creating an internal knowledgebase or repository to house information gathered through mentorship and social sharing. And as you might imagine, storing and managing this data is no small task. The data in an internal knowledgebase should be curated, categorized and regularly reviewed for quality and redundancies. The latest AI and analytics tools can help, but some degree of human interaction is needed.
Creating and managing a successful employee training and development program takes work. There is no magic formula. It requires a precise focus on data and understanding how to turn it into actionable analytics that will improve the process. It also involves understanding learning trends and tools, as well as trends in workforce, culture and technology. But emerging trends and technologies create more than training challenges—they create exciting new opportunities to engage employees like never before and foster a productive workforce that will meet business objectives.
For more information on how L&D pros are preparing companies and employees for the future of work, download our Finding the New Normal report. And watch for our upcoming 2022 enterprise learning trends report, coming soon!