In a fast-changing and highly competitive corporate culture, a strong training strategy defines how companies leverage the potential of their employees. But what good is training that will become obsolete in some time? Today’s business world calls for learning programs that can work not just now but beyond too. Read on to know how you can create learning and development resources that can stay relevant in the long run.
A workforce that possesses the essential skills, knowledge, and expertise is crucial for any organization that wants to achieve high levels of business success. This is especially true in today’s era where employees work mostly with their minds, rather than their hands as it was in the industrial period. Naturally then, training and development have never been more important as a means to keep employees engaged and help them maintain that competitive edge.
In fact, as HR and L&D professionals, it is upto you to create a learning culture that encourages continuous learning and helps develop that mindset. But you also have to remember that training programs should be such that they can withstand the test of time. In a fast-changing corporate environment, learning resources can become obsolete and archaic if not designed keeping in mind certain aspects. After all, your employees need to constantly absorb all the information that is around them to sustain the competition. And for this, you need to give them the right tools that support the idea of self-learning.
How can you develop such a training that is future-proof and will be fit for purpose not just in the short run but in the long one too? Here’s a quick checklist of questions to ask about your training plan and strategy:
1. Have you invested in a ‘Learning Ecosystem’ rather than just a ‘Learning Platform’ alone?
Without a sustainable and easily implemented plan to capture and spread information between employees, training is actually not much. If you have put all your money into a standalone learning platform, chances are you may have to rethink. The time has come to look at Learning Management Systems not just as a standalone entity but as a more holistic learning ecosystem. Besides managing and delivering learning/ training, the LMS should be able to work alongside several other applications, tools, websites, etc. to present a one-stop-shop for everything 'learning'. Such a system works better for training now considering that times are fast changing.
Today’s learning ecosystem should be capable of easily integrating with and supporting Online Course Marketplaces/ libraries considering that the likes of Khan Academy, Lynda, etc. are growing exponentially. This opens the door to a wide learning/training repository, sometimes beyond what is available in-house/ proprietary.
Similarly, a Mobile Learning App is also a critical aspect of the learning ecosystem since it offers learners a continuous and seamless learning experience while enabling them to access training while offline (not connected to the Internet).
This ecosystem should also have the ability to integrate with HRIS, HRMS, and other 3rd-party applications.
2. Have you built a transformative Learning Culture?
A strong learning culture helps to retain top talent, reduce turnover, and increase productivity and engagement. The question is whether you have a transformative learning culture that makes your organization more successful? According to Josh Bersin, the single biggest driver of business impact is the strength of an organization’s learning culture. Such a culture is where managers assess growth, not just performance. It is also where managers know how to coach effectively so as to help employees build their competence and confidence. This kind of environment makes learning easily accessible and encourages on-demand learning that empowers employees to seek and find their own answers. In a transformative culture of learning, employees will always have the potential to drive an organization to new heights and you will reap the many benefits that learning provides.
3. Are you thinking beyond ‘training’? Are you thinking Performance Support?
Performance Support is a significant aspect of the learning process because it comprises tools and learning aids to help employees with on-the-job support at the “precise moment” of need. So it is imperative that you focus on providing performance support to your employees since these tools are rooted in their learning workflow even as they go about their jobs.
Supporting the success of Performance Support Tools (PSTs) is Mobile Learning in all its glory ready to fulfill learners requirements to learn something new, something more, apply the existing knowledge, solve problems and change something if need be.
Besides PSTs, the other aspects that also fall in the category include Knowledge Reinforcement Tools (that leverage the ‘mobile’ aspect of learning), Sales Enablement Platforms (that provide the sales workforce with the right training with optimum utilization of learner downtime like travelling, waiting, etc), Mobile-first LMS (that enables to deliver training anywhere and through any device) and On/Off Sync apps (that ensures learners can download content even when there is no Internet connectivity).
4. Have you hired right and smart?
The leadership of an organization contributes a great deal in determining its success. However, if you start looking for leaders when the need arises it may not work well. Plus, the average cost per new hire is at an all-time high of $4,000.This is why it helps to work on this right at the beginning and maintaining a steady pipeline of leaders. You can do this by hiring the right kind of people who have leadership capabilities and who can exercise them when needed. You first need to identify values, skills, and attributes that are a key part of the role and use them for screening employees during the hiring process. The next step could be to develop training to hone these skills for leadership roles.
5. Are you connecting the dots between Leaders and Learning?
Organizations play a key role in creating an environment that pushes 'Leaders' to stay in the 'learning mode'. What can you do as L&D to aid the path of leaders towards learning? Among other things, you can focus upon adopting LMSs that provides access to learning content that fits the context (links to Blogs, Wikis, Document Repositories etc.), or has a Discussion Board, where the questions can be posted for a broader audience to input ideas and find the right solutions. LMSs are also known to create a conduit for open communication within the organization, which in turn allows the leaders to communicate clearly, exchange ideas, improve them based on feedbacks, align goals and vision and be a part of the organization’s learning strategy. Leaders can also be encouraged to learn by exposure by establishing peer-to-peer connections, creating individualized coaching programs or Mentoring Programs for confidence building etc.
By putting a check against each of these pointers, you can now answer the question if your training is future-proof. In a corporate world that is always ready for action, your visionary learning future and development strategy will go a long way in preparing your workforce to keep abreast with the transforming business opportunities.