By definition, something that’s “impactful” makes a mark on people. It may change their minds about something or cause them to act differently than they had. How can you shape an impactful corporate learning strategy? And, more importantly, why does your company need to do so? Read on for those answers, as well as other insights.
What is corporate learning and development?
Corporate learning and development refers to the process of improving the skills, knowledge, and abilities of employees within an organization. This is typically achieved through various learning and development programs, such as training workshops, e-learning courses, coaching, mentoring, and professional development opportunities.
The goal of corporate learning and development is to enhance the performance and competitiveness of employees, while also preparing them for future roles within the company. It helps employees acquire the skills necessary to meet the evolving needs of the business, and supports the overall success and growth of the organization.
What is a corporate learning strategy?
A corporate learning strategy is a comprehensive plan for improving the skills and knowledge of employees within your organization. It outlines the goals, objectives, and approach for corporate learning and development activities, and provides a framework for aligning these activities with the overall goals of the business.
A well-designed corporate learning strategy takes into account the current and future needs of your organization, as well as the learning preferences and styles of employees.
Some key elements of a corporate learning strategy include:
- Assessing the current skills and competencies of employees.
- Identifying learning and development needs and gaps.
- Defining learning and development goals and objectives.
- Choosing appropriate learning and development programs and methods.
- Integrating learning and development activities with business goals and objectives.
- Measuring the effectiveness of learning and development programs.
By having a well-designed corporate learning strategy, your organization can improve the skills and knowledge of your employees and support their overall success and growth.
How corporate learning drives competitive advantage
Corporate learning can drive competitive advantage in several key areas that affect short-term performance and long-term competitive strength and viability.
Improved employee performance
By providing employees with the skills and knowledge they need to perform their jobs more effectively, corporate L&D initiatives help your employees improve their overall performance and productivity. This is a win-win for your company; studies indicate that productivity increases efficiency and profitability in an organization.
By investing in employee development, organizations encourage a culture of continuous learning and improvement, leading to increased innovation and the development of new ideas and processes.
Attraction and retention of top talent
In light of massive workplace changes driven by the Great Resignation and a global work shortage, retaining talent is now more important than ever. A recent study by LinkedIn shows the integral role corporate training plays; 94% of workers polled said they would remain with their employer longer if that employer fostered their individual development.
Enhanced organizational flexibility
Establishing a culture of learning provides a framework that prepares your company to react quickly and efficiently to market changes. Workforces that have already developed a diverse range of skills and knowledge within the organization are ready to adapt when changing markets present new opportunities.
Improved customer satisfaction
By supplying employees with strong skills for delivering excellent customer service, corporate learning contributes to improved customer satisfaction and helps your company build a strong reputation as one that cares about service.
Verified contribution to ROI
Every aspect of your organization should contribute to ROI, right? Not so long ago, however, L&D teams had a hard time verifying that their activities actually enhanced the bottom line. Now thanks to the development of software with LearnOps capabilities, corporate education and learning professionals have the capability–and the responsibility–to show that their activities contributed to ROI.
Overall, a strong corporate learning program can help your organizations stay ahead of the competition by developing the skills and knowledge of your employees and positioning the business for success in the future.
7 challenges in corporate training
Corporate learning challenges come from internal and external sources. Here are several of the most pressing issues:
Lack of buy-in from employees
Some employees view corporate learning as just another obligation, rather than an opportunity for growth and development.
In some cases, their view is understandable. Consider the traditional top-down approach to learning that initiates in the C-suite, is administered in a one-format-fits-all session, is evaluated very subjectively and then never followed up. Is it surprising that employees fail to engage whole-heartedly when they weren’t asked for input about the training they feel is necessary or the format that works best for them.
Today’s L&D teams must meld C-suite training goals with the needs and desires of employees, and then verify that the training is both enjoyable and effective.
Time and budget constraints
Corporate learning can be time-consuming and costly, and many organizations struggle to allocate sufficient resources to their learning and development programs.
According to research from Brandon Hall Group’s 2021 study, 40% of companies polled had seen budget cuts in L&D, while 47% of L&D managers said that a lack of resources hampered the effectiveness and efficiency of learning and development
Difficulty in measuring impact
Measuring impact used to be very difficult. Training sessions were “graded” subjectively, immediately after the training ended. There was little to connect the dots between “good” or “excellent” scores from learners who completed the training and a contribution to ROI.
Measurement can still be challenging, and L&D teams are increasingly feeling pressured by their executive teams to measure–and verify–the impact learning has on the company, according to a 2022 survey by LEO Learning and Watershed. It can be difficult, but L&D teams must find a balance.
Keeping up with technology
The world of work is constantly changing, but the rate of change, especially since the pandemic, is astounding. Corporations that want to thrive will absolutely have to commit to keeping up with technology.
A study by Indeed.com bears this out. In its list of 20 in-demand job skills, the great majority of jobs near the top of the list deal with technology. As a result, L&D teams will have to master the technology themselves and then develop training programs that enable their learners to master it as well.
Limited access to training
Another pandemic-driven change is the huge increase in the number of employees working fully– or partially–remotely. Some employees, particularly those in remote locations or working flexible hours, may have limited access to corporate learning programs, making it difficult for them to participate.
Resistance to change
It’s true that change is the only constant. It’s also true that change often brings difficulties, perceived or actual. A Harvard Business Review survey compiled the top reasons respondents gave for resisting change. Particularly relevant to corporate education and learning are the following:
- Loss of control
- Fear of being incompetent to handle the change
- Increased workload
- Excessive uncertainty
Additionally, some employees could resent any change that disrupts their daily routines, even if the change is training that equips them to do their job more efficiently.
A Changing Workforce
Today’s workforce spans four generations–from Gen Z to Baby Boomer–with marked differences. Creating cohesion, respect, and inclusion is a challenge.
Beyond that, there are changes spawned by technological advances, a global labor shortage, and social expectations. L&D teams need timely and adaptive training initiatives to address these issues.
Despite these challenges, corporate learning remains an important component of a successful organization. By addressing these challenges head-on and continually adapting and improving their programs, organizations can overcome them and drive continued success and growth.
Designing an effective corporate learning program
Designing an effective corporate training is central to achieving the desired results. Here are some crucial steps to designing a corporate learning program:
Assess learning needs
Begin by assessing the skills and knowledge your employees already have, and identify the areas where they need additional training.
A thorough training needs analysis provides a starting point. It identifies knowledge and skill gaps in your company and then addresses details such as who needs training, what type of training will be the most effective, and when the training should occur.
Set clear goals and objectives
Once you have assessed the learning needs of your employees, set clear goals and objectives for your corporate learning program.
A SMART framework–in which goals are specific, measurable, assessable, relevant and time-bound–guides your learning and development team to establish goals that will provide what learners need and contribute to the KPIs of your company, because they align with your overall goals and objectives.
Match the training format to the learner and the learning situation
Today’s training formats vary widely, spanning everything from workshops, e-learning courses, coaching and mentoring to on-the-job training. These formats provide the opportunity to match the learning format to the learners and the situation to a far greater extent than was economically or technologically possible before. The effective L&D team identifies and implements the training format that best suits the situation.
Create engaging content
Ensure that the content of your corporate learning program is engaging, interactive, and relevant to your employees. Increase retention and completion rates by delivering the content in a way that learners find interesting, even compelling.
Interactive units, small-group training sessions that feature the storytelling concept, content that’s mobile-friendly–these all enhance learner engagement–and engagement enhances memory and satisfaction.
Provide opportunities for practice and application
Encourage employees to apply what they’ve learned. (This applies to your L&D team, too.) For example, allow sales reps who just completed a training course in conflict resolution to practice the skills they learned by handling actual complaint emails or calls under the guidance of a skilled rep before handling the task alone. Practice and application are the best ways to reinforce learning.
Evaluate and measure impact
Regularly evaluate and measure the impact of your corporate learning program. The importance of evaluation and measurement is growing geometrically, and it’s not only due to the pressure of being able to measure the ROI of L&D–although that certainly exists.
Today, as corporate learning directors are increasingly invited to strategy-level meetings, they are expected to produce KPIs that verify L&D contributes to corporate goals. Additionally, expenditures for L&D are significant. According to the 2022 Training Industry Report published by Training Magazine, corporations spent more than $100 billion on training in 2021-2022.C-suite members and other stakeholders want to know that the funds are contributing to corporate advancement.
As a result, models like the Kirkpatrick Model now provide a framework for measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of corporate training efforts.
Continuously adapt and improve
The world of work is constantly changing, and your corporate learning program should evolve with it. Adapting “midstream” used to be difficult. Evaluation, if done at all, was done after the training ended. L&D teams were hard-pressed to know what needed to be changed until after the fact.
The development of collaborative and interactive software allows learning teams to evaluate programs and adapt quickly so that training stays relevant and impactful.
By following these steps, you can design an effective corporate learning program that helps employees develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their roles, and also contributes to the overall success and growth of your organization.
Adopt a LearnOps approach
Effective and efficient learning needs a function with mature operations behind it. Without strong learning operations within the L&D department itself, processes, technology, and efforts become scattered and disparate.
Add in the need to show the impact of L&D’s output and an increasing need to work more closely with the business, and the pressure is on.
LearnOps is a framework, approach (and now a tech category) that enables L&D teams to manage their end-to-end operations effectively. From stakeholder satisfaction to doing more with less and getting the data needed to show L&D’s impact, LearnOps is a solution to many of the industry’s ongoing challenges. Check out LearnOps software to see how it works.
The role of technology in corporate training
Technology plays an increasingly significant role in corporate learning, since it’s evolving so rapidly and provides planning, actuating, and evaluation options unimaginable even a decade ago.
New programming languages, databases and interactive applications–among other innovations–comprise a learning and development tech stack that offers effective and relevant ways for employees to acquire knowledge and skills. Some of these include:
Technology has made it possible to deliver learning content in a variety of formats, including online courses, video tutorials, and interactive simulations. This provides employees with flexible and convenient access to training materials.
A 2020 Training Industry article ,noted in several ways, how mobile learning is more effective for corporate training, both for learners and the organization.
For learners, mobile learning makes training more accessible, less restrictive as to location, and easier to adapt to their life situation.The organization benefits from mobile learning because it meets the needs of remote workers, and is also more engaging, easier to manage and less expensive than traditional classroom learning.
Virtual and augmented reality
Virtual and augmented reality technologies allow learners to “experience” learning rather than “do” it. Immersive learning experiences allow employees to practice and apply new skills in a simulated environment, effectively combining traditional learning with on-the-job training.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Much-discussed and increasingly conspicuous, AI and machine learning techniques now provide personalized learning experiences that match employees with customized content and resources based on their unique needs and preferences. These capabilities enable a level of individual learning that was impractical–or impossible–previously.
Social media learning opportunities
Social media and learning activities now intersect, thanks to discussion forums, wikis, online communities, Q&A platforms, and other avenues that workers rely upon for information. (For example, 94% of Gen Zers use social media; 50% use it every day.) These platforms provide opportunities for employees to collaborate, share ideas, and learn from each other in an atmosphere that feels more social than educational.
Technological advancements now provide tools to collect and analyze data on employee learning and development activities at all levels and from all departments, branches or divisions.
For example, key learning operations analytics include stats like: the number of learning requests received, completion rates, trainer competence, and adherence to budget. Quantitative data analytics enables your organization to track the effectiveness of your programs and act quickly to make necessary improvements.
In today’s corporate world, technology plays a pivotal role in corporate learning by providing organizations with new and innovative ways to deliver training, engage employees, and measure the impact of their programs. By incorporating technology into your learning and development strategies, your organization can support your employees as they grow in competence and enhance their competitiveness in the marketplace.
Shape an impactful corporate learning strategy with the help of LearnOps®
Impactful corporate learning strategies:
- Focus on improving the skills, knowledge, and abilities of employees within an organization.
- Drive your company’s competitive advantage.
- Discover ways to overcome the challenges inherent with corporate training and development.
- Foster the design of effective learning programs
- Utilize technology to provide training that benefits both learners and the corporation.
Cognota’s LearnOps software enables you and your L&D team to shape an impactful corporate learning strategy. You’ll have technology that’s interactive and comprehensive. The platform lets you manage everything from intake to post-training analytics, and enables you to verify that you met your training objectives and contributed to your company’s KPIs. Get started for free or speak with sales to learn more.