Research suggests that corporate learning strategy is the #1 priority for human resources personnel and business leaders. Learning & development purpose is to equip the current workforce with better skills and competencies to match the business objective. Organizations that can identify the effects of globalization and the changing corporate culture have better chances of survival in this competitive business environment.
Many businesses in various industries find learning & development an immeasurable and unrewarding expense. The question often arises if the expenditure on L & D is bringing any profitable ROI. The fact is that in the past 4 years, year by year, the spending on L & D around the world has increased more than double.
Learning & development is no longer limited to training a skill or technology to a set of employees. It is more of a continuous process that enables workforce in career progression and talent enhancement. The culture of learning must be integrated in the overall corporate strategy of an organization to reap its real benefits. Organizations like Nokia failed in competition with new companies such as Apple as they failed to learn and adapt to change. Low tolerance for disruption and rigidness to accept and bring in change can cause even corporate giants to pack and fold.
It is a tricky process to transform an organization into a high-impact learning and development organization. However, with the right understanding and the intention to incorporate the challenge, it is an achievable milestone.
There are various levels of incorporating learning & development into an organizations’ culture:
- On-the-Job Training: In this model, senior executives help the new employees through knowledge transfer. It is a good method of training; however, it is limited to the scope and knowledge of the existing people in the company. The speed at which the business environment and technology landscape is evolving, organizations need to hire specialists to cope up with the change.
- Training Needs Analysis: This model enables learning and development specialists to analyze the current workforce and business operations. A training plan is devised based upon the company requirement to ensure more productivity. Training experts have some amazing training plans and models to add real value to the employees and the organization.
- Continuous Learning Program: When organizations need to introduce a new skill set, sometimes training the existing staff or hiring the specialists is not enough. A holistic approach is required that merges these two aspects. The process begins with hiring, developing expertise, and sharing the knowledge with the existing employees.
- Building a Culture of Learning: Companies that generate high impact and high revenue must always work closely with their customers to understand and match user requirements constantly. To encourage this kind of ‘capability development’, learning, coaching, knowledge sharing must become an integral part of the company infrastructure.
Learning and development can no longer be limited to training employees to enhance workforce productivity. Organizations need to look past this traditional thinking and utilize training for competitive advantage.