Organizations are facing several critical pressures, including a short supply of leaders, the need to develop and engage employees, and issues with turnover. Finding and keeping talent is no longer an HR challenge but a strategic business priority. Yet, most companies are unable to build lasting relationships with their employees in an effort to overcome these challenges. Instead of empowering employees with the tools they need to succeed, many companies feel threatened by their workforce and fearful of change. In fact, when asked to define their company culture, Companies often described it as “controlling,” or a highly structured and informal place to work with little collaboration. Companies now days must provide a new mechanism for learning—one that can adapt to the needs of a changing workforce and align closely with organizational objectives.
Although learning is one of the most mature areas of talent management, it is also one of the most innovative. With recent technology advancements and the rapid adoption of social collaboration, learning and development has come a long way. Companies are quickly embracing social media tools, as well as investing in social collaboration tools to better engage employees and foster a learning culture. Although social has become mainstream, companies still lack the knowledge and insight around how to use these tools for learning and development. Learning and Development is a methodology that breaks traditional models and allows employees to learn at their own pace. It can be effective at improving efficiency, as well as employee engagement and retention since it allows employees to build confidence and overall expertise. Companies may want to consider breaking traditional learning methods by introducing aspects of adaptive learning and development.
The learning of the past operated in silos where learning professionals had little interaction or input from other areas of the business. The learning of the future must be closely aligned to overall corporate strategies in order for companies to achieve results. Any program or technology investment should involve input from business leaders to ensure that learning is driving retention, engagement, and performance.
Most companies must adapt their learning strategies to meet the demands of today’s workforce. Traditional models of learning do little to bridge the gap between employer and employee or to improve engagement and performance. By aligning learning strategies with corporate objectives and leveraging innovative technology, organizations will be able to significantly improve their learning functions.
Key notes are:
- Choosing the right sources. In the past, organizations had limited technology choices for learning and development, but today there are new solutions emerging every month. Organizations should consider the right sources with innovative capabilities such as mobile and social and also understand the importance of measuring the effectiveness of learning activities.
- Collaborate with the business. Learning professionals must work closely with business leaders to design the learning program and also to gather input on the right technology providers. With executive support, organizations can help shift their approach to learning and create new vehicles for enabling individual success.
- Employee interest first. Companies must shift the way they view employees and consider focusing on the individual and his or her unique learning needs. For some companies, this strategy may include aspects of adaptive learning; for other companies, it could mean a different communication strategy.
The core elements that have to be present in order for a Learning and Development are:
Learning and Development has to become proactive instead of reactive. The only way to do that is to bring new ideas and thought leadership to the organization. The idea is to take big problems and solve them with small solutions. Learning and Development can identify big organizations problems and look for individuals or solving or achieving them, there is an opportunity to be a thought leader and bring these small bright spots to the masses.
Innovation and thought leadership go hand in hand. If you are looking for bright spots and bringing new ideas to the organization, you will then have the ability to introduce innovation that aligns with learner demand. Things such as learning platforms, social learning, micro learning, etc should be encouraged effectively.
- Time Management –Being able to identify and execute on a learning opportunity in a timely manner is vital if you want to make Learning and Development the center of your organization. Speed, speed, speed! It’s time to get programs and technology to 80% and perfect it over time. Trying to be perfect prior to an initial roll-out will cause paralysis by analysis and ultimately will drag out timelines and effectiveness.