Play It Again Sam – Looking Through HR’s Crystal Ball – Prediction Four of Nine – Corporate Learning

Collab Trg WEBIn the January/February issue of HR Magazine, Josh Bersin with Deloitte, makes nine predictions of “what’s in store for HR in 2015.”   This is part three of a series of articles looking at each of these predictions.Training is another topic with a repeatable tune. However, training often doesn’t get much “air time” as it’s neglected entirely or the first thing to go when the bottom line gets out of tune with profits. In addition, the debate about its value plays like a broken record. But just like the title to Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times They are A-Changin’”

Gone are the days when you went to a training class, listening to the corporate trainer pouring the annual mandatory topic into your brain, while you sat there and passively soaked it in only for it to be forgotten the next day. According to an unscientific poll taken at ATD (formerly ASTD) Techknowledge 2015 on the top concerns in corporate leaning, the melody plays out this way:

Employee engagement 26%
Increasing speed to employee productivity 23%
Tracking quality of learning programs 18%
Personalized learning paths for all employees 17%
Leadership development 16%

According to Deloitte, the concerns around corporate learning are of a different tune and it’s a song that’s being played more and more and its title is technology. A study by Erik Brynjolfson of MIT suggest that due to technology, half of the jobs HR must fill today won’t even be 10 years. Further, jobs are becoming more and more specialized. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discern that corporate learning or training, as it used to be called, must change with the times.

Another concern is collaborative learning. According to a study with a limited number of participants, not only is collaborative learning growing, but the way to do it is changing as well. Technology, or social learning, is making that more and more possible and affordable. Not only is it affordable, social learning can increase revenues by twice as opposed to organizations that do not use it, according to a study by Human Capital Management. The technology, in turn, spurns another concern. Which technical tools are best for collaborative learning? The top six tools are:

  1. Wikis
  2. Facebook
  3. Blogs
  4. SharePoint
  5. Twitter and Virtual Meeting Software (tied)

Again, it doesn’t take a Harvard Ph.D. to understand that trainers must be on the cutting edge of learning technology. This can be a hiring concern as locating this talent can be expensive and time consuming. Another concern that none of these studies mentions is that not everyone was born with a silver computer in his/her mouth. There are still plenty of people in the workforce of the age that knowing or being comfortable with technology is a given. Therefore, organizations need to understand that in order to implement social learning on a wide scale, additional training in social media will be required. In fact, a white paper by Internet Time Lab, states:

Two out of three Chief Learning Officers neglect experienced employees, but
these are the very people who make money for the company. New hires and
novices aren’t very productive. Raise their proficiency by 20 percent and next
to nothing hits the bottom line. Raising the proficiency of top performers by
20 percent can double the bottom line. A wise Collaborative organization
focuses its efforts where they’ll have the most impact.

This white paper goes on to suggest that people do better when they initiate the activities rather than having activities shoved on them. The white paper goes on to state that the solution to this concern is self-directed learning teams. In most organizations, these changes will require a total rethinking about where and how people learn. Of course, if the company does not have a learning culture, that too must be changed. Above all, be sure your organization is ready for these changes and that everyone is in harmony with the idea; if they are not, your training program will only hit flat notes. Use a good change model to help ensure success. A good change model will keep everyone on the same sheet of music and sing and learn in harmony.

Next Prediction: Talent Acquisition

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