Business sustainability has become a crucial component of long term business goals. For many its to factor in future capability needs and others, it involves figuring out newer ways to remain productive in a fast-changing landscape. But as both technological change and employee preferences evolve, keeping up to date with the required skills and more holistic ways of addressing such change becomes an important means to ensure businesses remain sustainable. At the core of addressing such business needs today is a robust learning culture.
The need for a high impact learning culture is reflected both in the rising size of the learning tech market and its demands within the business who see it as an important part of their company’s future goals. L&D departments across companies have become vital in enabling their workforce to deal with market uncertainty and ensure businesses can innovate. Although corporate learning programs have always played a vital role in helping business fine-tune its employees capabilities, the last decade has witnessed rapid changes that have created shifts across the entire global workforce. Persistent market uncertainty and technological developments have made once strongly held skills obsolete and reduced the shelf life of many tech facing skills. This has made upskilling and reskilling initiatives within companies necessary. A strong learning mechanism which can impart skills in a timely and effective manner to mitigate is also required to mitigate and minimize the impact of the threat of job loss. As employee roles are expected to continue evolving, and a large number of people will need to learn new skills to remain employable. All these factors play a vital role in how companies manage to perform better than their competitors.
The strategic role of L&D teams
Digital technologies have significantly changed how companies operate and interact with their stakeholders. It’s only logical therefore, that they have the largest role in redefining how organizational capabilities are built and knowledge gaps bridged.
The need to have a robust learning mechanism within companies has propelled the L&D function to the forefront and it currently plays an important role in ensuring the organizational workforce can face future threats. But with the need becoming more ever-present, L&D frameworks need to be more responsive to changing needs. And this becomes a core part of developing a high-performance organization. The L&D function is responsible to enable employees to perform more effectively in what is becoming an increasingly complex and unpredictable market scenario.
Productivity today is also related to how efficiently our employees can use new-age digital technologies to make their work more efficient and impactful. And to do so, knowledge and skills play an important role. Human capital requires ongoing investments in L&D to retain its value. For a high-performance organization, it's imperative that these knowledge and skills are being continuously replenished. When knowledge becomes outdated or forgotten—with a smaller shelf life of both companies often run into this problem—the value of human capital declines and needs to be supplemented by new learning and relevant work experiences. High-performance companies are defined by their ability to keep a track of market changes and their ability to responds proactively. To do so, L&D professionals have to build future-looking learning practices that enable employees to do so.
Companies that make investments in the next generation of leaders also help create a culture where qualified and prepared leaders are at the help of creating a high-performance organization. And having the right leaders pays off in the long run. A Mckinsey research indicates that companies in the top quartile of leadership outperform other organizations by nearly two times on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). Moreover, companies that invest in developing leaders during significant transformations are 2.4 times more likely to hit their performance targets.
Building current capabilities and preparing for new ones
Market changes mean that not only do companies need to upskill and reskill their workforce but also do so while nature of jobs rapidly evolves. Candidate preferences have evolved significantly in the last few years with remote working option becoming a strong preference. Thus not only do L&D professionals need to keep the workforce updated with the latest skill changes required in their domain, but they also have to do so in a way that finds widespread applicability. From a small company to a large conglomerate, becoming a high-performance company depends on a host of factors. And learning programs play a critical role in building a workforce that can outperform their competitors not only in the short term but in a sustainable manner, maintaining a high level of performance in the long run.