We are pleased to bring you a guest blog post today from Mollie Lombardi, Research Director, Human Capital Management, at Aberdeen Group. She has surveyed and interviewed thousands of end-users to better understand the key challenges facing today’s HR and talent management leaders, as well as uncover the Best-in-Class strategies, capabilities, tools and technologies they are using to address those challenges. She has written and spoken about a wide variety of HCM topics including strategic talent management, workforce planning, employee engagement, talent acquisition and learning, as well as the use of emerging technologies.
By Mollie Lombardi
Learning is as essential to organizations today as its customers are. It is how intention is translated into action. Without learning, the core purpose of an organization – to generate revenue by delivering goods and services to paying customers – will rapidly grind to a halt. Continuing to expand skills and knowledge among company leaders, organizational veterans, newly hired employees, and even temporary workers, customers and channel partners is fundamental to the success of organizations today.
But for all the investment in learning, for all the new ways to go about it and channels through which to deliver it, organizations still struggle to make it last, and to make sure that the messages delivered don’t go to waste.
Even as the importance of learning as a bridge between strategy and execution continues to rise, organizations still face critical challenges in executing on their learning priorities. Anyone who’s ever been to a training event or learning program knows how quickly the day-to-day demands of the office can erase the insights from even the most targeted and useful class.
Participants can struggle to link what they’ve learned to life back on the job. So it’s not surprising that in my latest learning study, nearly half the respondents (47%) indicated that the biggest learning execution challenges are supporting learning after a formal learning events and linking learning to business results.
Learning Execution Challenges
So how are companies combating this? One way is by serving up learning in new ways, with a mix of in-person, online, formal and informal learning approaches that better deliver learning when it will be meaningful to the learner.
This is also important because the type of skills most commonly cited – things like leadership, people management, communication skills and critical thinking – are ones that can be shared in formal learning environments, but are often honed through a longer period of trial and error, coaching, and seeking out feedback from trusted peers.
For organizations looking to move the bar on organizational performance, creating learning programs that address these key skills through both formal interventions and ongoing informal and social learning support is worth considering.
And social learning – the kind of peer-to-peer learning that comes from mentors, project team members, and seeking out experts – is a strong differentiator for Best-in-Class companies in Aberdeen’s research.
While still adopted by only a third of all organizations, Best-in-Class companies are 37% more likely than all other organizations to use structured social learning as a delivery modality within their formal learning strategy (41% vs. 30%). But this real-time interaction is likely to be tailored to the moment, and makes an efficient use of the time and effort invested in teaching one another.