In today’s corporate world, what makes an individual desirable, diversified and pertinent is their ability to be a curious learner. Education does not stop after school, college or university and proficient people always look for an opportunity to absorb as much knowledge as possible.
Change is constant be it in technology or shifting demographics, putting constant competitive pressure to upgrade workforce skills. Workplaces should, therefore, push individuals to take up challenges and explore new fields. The more employees lay their hands on different skills and fields, the more they increase their growth possibilities.
Learning costs money, but then so does ignorance. Thankfully though, eighty-five percent of top management feel that companies need to propel learning to foster original thinking.
The company culture should be one that cultivates new ways to make employees custodians of continuous learning.
Two approaches need to be considered in creating continuous learning. They are:
- Companies must eliminate old schools of thought before viewing the aims of constant learning; change the focus to employee-centric learning and not just internally centred and static learning methodologies like traditional classroom-based learning models.
- Allow employees at each level in the company to explore opportunities for continuous and result-oriented learning.
Upgrading learning and development
The push for continuous learning is from the employees, dynamic markets and competitors.
The global economy and an intensely competitive talent market. Companies need to upgrade their learning and development agenda to match the changing market dynamics, such as using e-learning courses. There needs to be a management push to ensure the availability of an extensive range of technology to promote learning for employees on their mobiles anytime, anywhere on any topic, including webinars and podcasts. Additionally, employees need to be able to access dynamic learning opportunities that are flexible and fit their individual needs and schedules, like online certification programs.
Start now, don’t wait
- Recognise an employee-centric approach: Companies need to offer training based on employee’s needs and flexibility to improve their skills.
- Think design: Focus on the learning experience for the employees rather than the course content alone since the spotlight should be on the employee being in the driving seat.
- Employee centric technology-driven: Providing employees with learning with all the benefits provided by the newest learning technology to bring out the desired learning benefits.
- A DNA of continuous learning: Provide learning at every stage of the employee’s career as and when needed to align their skills in a dynamic market place.
- Encourage to be relevant: Focus on continuous learning and implementing the learnings to solve real-time problems, promote out of the box thinking, foster confidence and a sense of relevance in the workforce for now and in the future.
Some facts and figures about L&D
Learning and Development (L&D) budgets for employee training increased by 33 percent since 2017, and are expected to trend upwards in the coming years.
Thirty-eight percent of CEOs believe a shortage of key skills is the top people-related threat to growth. Companies are expected to invest $1100 per employee on their training. That is up from 31 percent in 2017.
Sixty-eight percent of employees prefer to learn at work, according to recent research by LinkedIn. They do not always, however, have time to complete learning activities. Therefore, according to a lot of research, the number one challenge for L&D is getting employees to make time for learning.
Employees want to be the custodian of what, where and when they learn. They are also adopting both conventional and unconventional approaches to maximise their learning.
Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of employees felt empowered to enhance their careers if their manager provides coaching and supports their development.
Eighty-seven percent of employees say that team sharing of knowledge is critical for learning. Thirty-four percent of organisations have started investing in social learning tools and anticipate the uptake will accelerate in the coming years.
Organisations that empower their employees with micro-learning experiences achieve a 63 percent increase in revenue compared to their competitors who do not provide the same opportunities.
Latest learning trends
According to one source, these are the new learning trends organisations are focusing on to upscale their employee skills:
- Continuous learning culture
- Employee led learning
- People leaders as coaches
- Social learning
- Employee-curated content
- Mobile (aka on-demand)
- Data and analytics
- Learning Experience Platform (LXP)
- Gamification, Augmented and Virtual Reality
- People data
L&D professionals are faced with multiple challenges: juggling new technologies, shifts in learning styles and executive expectations to deliver tangible benefits. The shelf-life of skills is decreasing, the shortage of soft skills is increasing, and robotics and AI mean the future of jobs is uncertain. A careful and deliberate adoption of technology to support organisational learning culture is required.