The Best Way to Future-Proof Any Organization? Create a Culture of Continuous Learning

January 10, 2022 | Reskill Your Workforce | 6 min read

In the modern global economy, forward-thinking organizations understand that the key to success lies in their ability to retain, upskill, and empower their teams. Particularly in an economic environment where top talent has more job options than ever, ensuring that team members feel both empowered and engaged not only leads to better output and a more positive work environment, it supports retention and the bottom line.

Rather than sitting staffers down for rote, mandatory trainings, agile organizations are finding innovative ways to integrate learning and upskilling into every day work life, creating flexibility for team members at every level to learn on a schedule that works best for them. And when team members are able to effectively learn and upskill, internal growth and promotions are more likely, creating organizations that are not just stronger economically, but more diverse and equitable, as well.

Here, we’ll take a look at how one organization incorporated Skillsoft’s tools to nurture their in-house talent, and the broader lessons their experience can tell us about learning and the workplace:

Making Learning and Reskilling an Organic Part of the Process

When Glenmark Pharma—a major pharmaceutical company in India—sought to improve their market positioning, the company turned its focus toward developing employee skillsets. One reason a culture of learning was particularly important to Glenmark: in the pharmaceutical field, a certain baseline of scientific knowledge and fluency is essential. However, the company’s existing systems weren’t doing enough to bridge skills gaps of communication or effective customer engagement, and hadn’t addressed issues of self-motivation of managerial effectiveness.

Upskilling around communication has taken on particular importance since 2020, as sales team members have searched for ways to effectively connect with customers when face-to-face meetings are no longer an option. In short, workers at all tiers of the sales team needed strategic upskilling.

With a sales team of more than 5,000, Glenmark’s sales training program takes a multi-faceted approach, focusing on hybrid learning to build capability at every level of the sales hierarchy; mentorship initiatives to enable performance; and career development and upskilling to support employee career growth.

More specifically, the company has a goal of supporting front end sales representatives in achieving in-clinic leadership through improved selling skills, as well as helping managers to build leadership capability and managerial effectiveness.

And they knew that in order to achieve sustainable long-term growth and success, their organization needed to develop a culture of engaged, continuous learning that equipped users with current and future required skilling opportunities.

After integrating Skillsoft Percipio and the Skillsoft Leadership Development Program with existing internal learning management systems, Glenmark saw enthusiasm for learning increase across all levels of the organization. Average learning time jumped from 15 minutes per person and a 40% adoption rate in 2019/2020 to 50 minutes and a 72% adoption rate in 2021/2022. For SLDP specifically, the average time spent learning was 70 minutes per person per month, meaning that the company’s leaders are leading—and learning—by example. (Upgrading to Percipio fueled this trend further, as the availability of thousands of learning modules meant that learners didn’t have to wait after completing one curriculum to jump into a new one.)

Easy access to Skillsoft content through the mobile app enabled Glenmark’s team to learn while on the move and working in the field, and empowered them to upskill themselves on whatever schedule worked best for them. Some of the Skillsoft features that have proved particularly useful to Glenmark learners include:

  • Curated channels
  • Personalized user interface
  • Mobile-friendly design
  • Micro-learning videos
  • Assignments to help integrate the learning journey

With engaging, relevant content and easy-to-understand breakdowns of complex concepts, Skillsoft has kept team members coming back to the platform to learn more, and helped Glenmark create a shift in company mindset so that users now see learning as an opportunity for their personal career development, rather than a dull, required exercise. Learners are even exploring resources beyond their assigned courses, indicating a growth mindset and highly motivated sales force.

This widespread enthusiasm for learning at one company is evidence of a more universal principle: making learning more accessible and engaging will make the lessons themselves more effective, and keep learners coming back for more.

An Inclusive Environment Where Talent Has Room to Grow

Supporting team members through learning opportunities has a long list of benefits, chief among them that creating an environment where employees are able to grow professionally is an essential step towards creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.

When in-house talent is successfully upskilled and prepared to move into higher-level roles within the organization, both the teams and the company itself reap the benefits.

In Glenmark’s case, the company is currently ranked 14th among India’s pharmaceutical firms, and they’ve set a goal of breaking into the top 10 by 2025. The company’s leadership is taking a long view of the process, understanding that rather than imposing arbitrary metrics and applying pressure on their teams, true success will require a combination of higher productivity, higher efficiency, a motivated and engaged field force, and a field force with the skillset to prosper in both current and future challenges. It also means creating an environment where team members are able to learn and grow, creating an internal pool of talent that’s poised to take next-level opportunities, and a firm that’s less reliant on hiring outside talent to fill top positions.

The method in which learning is introduced matters, and by creating a self-sufficient digital learning ecosystem, Glenmark looked to dispel the myth that learning can only happen in a classroom setting, and to set the tone of learners taking control of their futures in order to excel both in work and in life.

Culture at nearly every organization is set from the top down, and getting leadership on board is another key component of an inclusive and effective learning environment. Glenmark’s leadership team stepped up to the challenge, offering testimonials on the learning benefits they’d experienced through SLDP, sharing feedback with team members, and advocating for an overall culture of learning and development within the organization. 60% of total learning time at the company is now coming from self-initiated sessions, indicating a broad excitement for learning that didn’t exist just a few years prior.

Democratizing learning in this way has helped to build the skillsets of sales team members and prepare them for higher level roles. Since incorporating Skillsoft’s learning tools, client interface time and engagement have improved, and Glenmark has seen more of their talent successfully upskill themselves and prepare for next level roles, resulting in more internal promotions and fewer external highers, as well as a confident, future-ready workforce.

With a strong culture of learning and ongoing professional development, Glenmark has used Skillsoft as a tool to improve employee retention and engagement, strengthen customer relationships, and create an agile organization poised to rise in the ranks compared to its competitors.

The company has also demonstrated how quickly and dramatically an organization and its team members can feel the effects when learning is successfully incorporated as part of the everyday culture. Managers who find themselves impatient to see improvement in their teams or frustrated at losing talent in a competitive market would do well to consider Glenmark’s experience as proof that while learning can certainly be a long game, when approached with a smart strategy, its positive impacts are immediate.