Recent surveys overseas have highlighted senior management concerns about the needs of their workers to learn new skills.  According to the  2018 Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn, 68 percent of employees prefer to learn at work, 58 percent of employees prefer to learn at their own pace and 49 percent prefer to learn at the point of need.  Learning managers are depending more on online learning solutions (such as Modlettes) to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse, multi-generational workforce,” officials wrote in the LinkedIn report.

 

The Importance of a Learning Culture

According to the 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, building a culture of learning is a “significant enabler of a 21st century career.”  Deloitte researchers found that companies that “only discuss mistakes to promote learning are three times more profitable and have up to four times better retention than those who do not.”  Researchers found that companies are using self-directed learning tools to help employees find the content they need, take courses and share knowledge with colleagues.

Learning in a corporate environment is a competitive differentiator for companies according to Edward D Hess professor of business administration at the University of Virginia.  Hess said in a Edward D Hess 2017 Report for the Society for Human Resource Management that in a corporate world where “raw technology is cheap and widely available, the quality of an organisation’s human workforce and having employees who are to think, relate and learn continuously is crucial.”

 

Case Study:  New Air Appliances

Andrew Stephenson, director of product marketing at New Air Appliances, has nine marketers on his team.  Most, he said, are straight out of school, so they lack work and industry knowledge.  “Being focused mainly on digital marketing, it’s important that my team stay up to date on the ever changing medium,” Stephenson said.  In his organisation each marketing team member is allowed to do an ongoing “passion project.”  They can spend up to one day per week on it, or a total of eight hours per week.  It has to be marketing related.  It has to help make an impact on the company and its efforts. It needs to be measurable.

 

Good training is short and relevant

Thomas E Boyce, Ph.D. told CMS Wire that organisations should make training timely and relevant.  Don’t assume, he said, what employees need.  Ask them and provide the training in a timely fashion.  Shorter sprints of training are better than longer courses with a lot of information.

Boyce suggests setting up a peer-tutor model of training or learning groups of those employees working toward a common goal.  Also, provide suggestions, he said, for on-demand and on-line training to supplement in-class training.

Further, invest in your trainer’s training.  “Not everyone has the skill set to effectively transmit information in a learning environment,” Boyce said. “Just because you are technically proficient at a task does not make you effective at teaching it.  Create an expectation of learning from the highest levels of your organisation to motivate participation in training and also the willingness to supervisors to send their direct reports to relevant training.”