There are four primary areas that HR should focus on in order to transform their organisation’s corporate learning function in 2019, writes Josh Bersin
Promotions for new corporate learning and other tools are probably landing in your inbox every day. Somehow you’ve got to distill pages of “must do’s” and “urgent priorities” down to a manageable list that your team can actually accomplish. You’re wondering how to upgrade staff skills with a limited budget and worrying if you’ve got the analytics your CEO is going to be looking for next week.
After coping with daily challenges like these, it’s no wonder learning leaders often struggle to determine what they should focus on to keep their organisations relevant, up-to-date, and integral to the business.
My advice, based on my research and conversations with learning executives around the world, is to focus your efforts on these four primary areas:
1. Assess and upgrade your learning infrastructure.
Many companies are using outdated tools, LMS, and content that don’t adequately meet modern corporate learning needs or the user experience expectations of young workers. As a rule of thumb, most systems become outdated after five or seven years. And, in today’s technology tsunami, the pace of innovation is coming even faster.
“AI-enabled technologies, potential economic slowdowns, and shifting workforce trends will keep us on our toes and demand agility”
2. Embrace micro-learning.
It’s a well-documented fact: people like to learn in small chunks. Employees today typically don’t have the time for lengthy courses. In fact, Bersin research showed that employees typically spend one perc ent of their time each week on learning. We now have the tools to produce high-quality, timely micro-learning resources in very efficient ways. Find a way to incorporate this type of learning into your training portfolio.
3. Be creative with new forms of content. Virtual reality, augmented reality, self-authored videos, online practice, meaningful social experiences – it’s all here today. Getting up to speed on these new forms of content and determining how and where they can be used in your organisation should definitely be part of your planning.
4. Think “learning in the flow of work.” This is my most important piece of corporate learning advice. I coined the phrase “learning in the flow of work” to describe how we should be harnessing everyday workflows for learning. Employees’ days are often consumed with managing emails, updating Salesforce with calls and customer notes, tracking orders and deliveries, or managing weekly quotas. Employees are usually so overwhelmed by such tasks that they don’t have time to visit learning portals. That extra step often gets pushed down on a long to-do list and never happens. What if learning appeared in our systems of productivity?
“Design thinking, a willingness to experiment, and an open mind to innovation will be key ingredients for learning success”
There are now tools and technologies to support just that – delivering learning recommendations via chat, curating learning tailored to individual workstreams, recommending learning based on preferences or work-related activities.
Additionally, we’re seeing corporate learning providers integrate their offerings with widely used productivity systems such as Salesforce, Office 365, and Slack. All learning executives need to learn more about these innovations and understand how they might fit into their companies’ overall IT strategy. In fact, if you’ve not forged a close relationship with your IT organisation, add that to your 2019 priority list as well.
The year ahead promises to be exciting and full of change. AI-enabled technologies, potential economic slowdowns, and shifting workforce trends will keep us on our toes and demand agility. I can’t tell what the future holds for corporate learning, but I do know that design thinking, a willingness to experiment, and an open mind to innovation will be key ingredients for learning success.