The state of L&D in corporations today
As the modern workplace evolves, the influence, power, and responsibilities of those in the learning and development teams are shifting. Talent developers and L&D teams now have a major responsibility to impact their organizations by enabling rapid learning and effective skill development throughout.
In this era when learning requirements keep on changing, L&D experts need to think like marketers to increase learner engagement and facilitate learning opportunities for employees.
Looking back at the LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report 2019, only 27 percent of talent developers (from the 1,200 surveyed) cited a limited budget as a constraint to organizational upskilling, down from 49 percent in 2017.
Additionally, since 2017, 59 percent of talent developers now spend more money on online learning and 39 percent say they spend less on instructor-led training. It’s an interesting trend to note that online and self-paced learning has gained precedence recently over instructor-led classroom learning. This, we believe, has its own impact on shaping how the workforce of today learns.
The challenges faced by organizations in making learning enjoyable and desirable
L&D teams have always wanted to believe that they keep employees and the workforce at the center of their plans. It’s much easier said than done. A recent research study backed by Harvard Business Publishing included asking people about L&D opportunities and initiatives at their business.
The results are shocking. The Learning and Development Net Promoter Score (NPS) across these organizations is only -25. This means only one out of every five people promote their organization’s L&D, while half of them are detractors. The study was conducted among C-suite executives, business leaders, team managers, and individual workers across North America, South America, Asia Pacific, and Europe.
The low scores in this study indicate that employees are either unaware of their companies’ learning opportunities or they are never offered the right opportunities.
When this happens, people become disengaged from their organization’s L&D initiatives and begin pursuing independent learning activities to fill skills gaps for themselves.
Another challenge for companies is to leverage the already available material on the internet instead of reinventing the wheel and wanting their L&D staff to come up with teaching material.
Recent trends have revealed that people are constantly learning through listening, reading, searching, and watching.
However, when these activities happen beyond the scope of the organization, there is no way for L&D teams to track which skills their people are adept at. Therefore, without this data on learning behaviors and objectives, there is only so much that learning and development teams can do for an organization.
Another challenge for L&D teams is to create the right environment within to accelerate and encourage learning. This means teams need to connect employees with the right resources in the form of content, colleagues, and insights. Creating learning conditions can mean a lot to the effectiveness of learning.
Creating a community of professionals to guide and support learning initiatives can prove to create a proper learning environment that promotes innovation, thinking, and discussions.
Finally, learning in organizations should not happen in a fragmented form. Learning should happen as part of a bigger goal, in a personalized manner so that every learner can be sure they are on the right learning curve.
And, in order to pursue L&D as part of a bigger process, there is a need for companies to measure the availability of skills. Organizations need to assess and identify the competency score in terms of learning engagement and performance.
How data-driven learning can make L&D efforts effective
Another report suggests that 54 percent of the workforce will require significant upskilling and reskilling within the next five years, owing to the pace of change in all industries facilitated by technologies.
Eighty percent of business leaders believe they need more innovation in learning and development.
The most advanced L&D teams recognize the power they can have by integrating these independent learning efforts with those strategies by the company. These teams leverage data and make decisions on the basis of insights.
As employee experience becomes a major focus area for companies, executives are now trying to get their hands on analytics solutions that will help them steer their employees toward gaining the right skills.
Data pertaining to a learner’s interest, capabilities, and skillsets can help chalk out a career path for each individual personalized to fit their needs as well as the organization’s. People like to learn at their own pace and would rather learn at home, online, than being forced to grasp concepts at a time the enterprise deems fit.
Data-driven learning can enable a knowledge-driven organization that knows where its employees stand, how to upskill them, which skills are necessary for each employee, and how to induce in them the need for upskilling.
Moreover, data-driven learning initiatives will help organizations deal with content overload and present only the most relevant content to employees. Data can lead to hyper-personalized curation and do away with the need for investing in creation.
Such an organization will use insights from data to intelligently drive learning behaviors toward organizational goals as well as employee upskilling objectives. According to the 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, the “people data revolution we predicted for years has finally arrived.”
What kind of People Analytics do Organizations need to enrich Learning Experiences
In 2020, enterprises will face the need to become more agile and include people analytics as part of the L&D process. As an increasing amount of data enters Business Intelligence and reporting tools, giving insights about the individual’s learning pattern, more workers will be able to devise learning strategies for themselves based on these insights.
As a whole, this shift toward data analytics will help organizations create better experiences by measuring competency index, employee skills, improving time to productivity, comparing learning outcomes, and create more immersive learning experiences.
Competency index plays a crucial role in pushing the right content to a learner, not only as per their skills and talent but also according to the career path that they choose and that excites them. Doing so, companies can create a more engaged workforce that proactively learns and grows.
Going further, artificial intelligence and machine learning can play a significant role in helping companies realize this modernization of L&D. So much so that organizations can shrink the path from learning to leveraging it into the business.
AI and ML can also function as excellent tools to forecast which skills would soon be in higher demand by looking at the new and disruptive jobs coming around only now. Employees can then be encouraged to learn these newer skills, which will help them develop a growth mindset, seeing L&D activities as something of their personal interest.
How companies can leverage data and analytics to get more ROI from training activities
A knowledge-focused organization will help meet business goals and objectives by utilizing learning from various sources online and org-driven. If organizations are to attract top talent and retain millennials and future generations, they will have to opt-in for more modern ways of upskilling.
Stakeholders will also have the right capabilities to see what content formats work and which ones fall flat. This way, investments into content can be made data-driven, too. The kind of content that creates maximum engagement ad impact can be augmented and others can be avoided.
Communication and collaboration will take on a more critical role as companies rely on their senior managers to drive the learning efforts throughout the organization.
Through data-powered learning and development, organizations can align learning strategies to gaps and create a win-win for both themselves and their employees. That’s also exactly what respondents said when asked what would make organizational learning more relevant to their individual career goals.
Knowing that the workforce wants guidance from their employer on what to learn, data can hold critical importance in allowing organizations to create personalized learning programs suited to each learner. The next top priority for learners is to take up assessments to find where they need improvement and get a chance to apply what they’ve learned.
By guiding, enabling, and rewarding learners through automation to embark on a self-driven, data-backed career path, companies can create a more effective L&D environment that also improves their ROI from the efforts.
Data and analytics, besides guiding individuals on learning opportunities, can also allow organizations to reallocate talent dynamically within to address skills gaps and perform better financially.
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