While Talent Management Systems offer a great value, there is a separate growth area that companies are looking to address their specific challenges of L&D
According to a report by Deloitte University Press, learning and development is the third most important trend in ‘Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the New World of Work’. As per the report, “Companies are actively exploring new approaches to learning and development as they confront increasing skill gaps.” Couple this monster challenge with the dinosaur of attrition and one can comprehend the constant struggle the HR function goes through on a day-to-day basis. Management consultants Mark Stein and Lilith Christiansen, in their book ‘Successful Onboarding’, point out that nearly one-third of people employed in their current job for less than six months are already searching for another job.
For now, let’s focus primarily on the Learning and Development challenge and how organizations both in India and abroad are addressing this. To understand that better, it would make sense to break down the challenges into more identifiable smaller (not small) problem areas:
Scale of L&D programs: For any organization beyond a certain size (say more than 500 employees for instance), a larger part of the challenge is the sheer number of people and skills that need to be mapped. Imagine this for a company with a strength of 10,000 people or even 100,000 people and the challenge multiplies exponentially.
Various stages of L&D: For a smart organization, it is actually a continuous process, but for the sake of simplicity, it can be broken down as onboarding, skills update, skills upgrade, and knowledge retention for both succession planning and outgoing employees.
Business landscape: It doesn’t get easier when not just the trainees and trainers change frequently, but also the overall business landscape with competitive challenges, business offerings, which only means that there is a constant need to change the content and the methods of training for either faster go-to-market or for performance support etc.
Learner environment: This one is a big driver of change in the overall learning and development ecosystem. The end users themselves are evolving right from the way they learn or want to learn, to the devices used or desired to be used to accessing learning and performance support. There is a sea of change in this environment and it is playing a major role in how organizations are looking at new ways to go about L&D. Don’t forget that this becomes more complex when the learners work 24/7 and in globally distributed teams/offices.
Over the last few years, all these factors have driven organizations to invest significantly in using technology in HR to address this growing challenge. This is a growing trend and is getting stronger by the day. Technology in HR spans the very first step of managing recruitment right up to exit management of the leaving employee, and everything in between.
One major change that is taking place in this spectrum over the last few years in India is the increase in adoption of digital methods for training and development. From the early days of using unorganized digital methods, this space is now witnessing a more focussed and better-planned initiative. Along with better IT planning, the most important thing here is a stronger alignment with business objectives and goals. Collectively, this is the space of Talent Management Systems, most of which look at a full cycle of Hire to Retire for employees, and everything within.
While Talent Management Systems offer a great value, there is a separate growth area that companies are looking to address their specific challenges of L&D – eLearning. While for a long time eLearning remained synonymous with Internet learning on desktops, it has now become a more diverse and pervasive ecosystem where it can be through a mobile phone, a tablet, laptop, desktop and even other handheld devices or as advanced as wearables (future). Today, the trend is to adopt eLearning or digital learning with an eye to the future where mobiles will become the primary device for this purpose. There is a growing breed of Learning Management Systems that have their feet firmly planted in both present and have the readiness to support organisations in the future. Nigel Sullivan, Group HR director at TalkTalk, perfectly sums it up by saying, “All companies could benefit from rolling out digital training to every employee.”