Create future-proof learning experiences for employees

Curating learning sources can give employees more control over their learning experiences.

Work is fundamentally changing. Today, employees want more than engaging videos and shorter content. They want career development support and ongoing skill development opportunities – otherwise known as experiences. Many organisations say they want to create a learning culture, but few have one and even fewer know what makes up a true learning culture.

The CHRO SA webinar, “Agile L&D strategies: Creating a future proof learning experience for employees”, which was hosted in partnership with Degreed, showcased the reasons why the most successful learning organisations are those that adjust their strategy and approaches, balancing content, experiences and application in accordance with the ever-evolving landscape of employee and business needs.

Degreed chief learning strategist Annee Bayeux and Standard Bank Group head of learning Lucy Voss-Price provided first-hand insight into how organisations can curate different sources of learning and create new experiences for their employees, thereby giving employees more control over their learning experiences.

According to Annee, learning and development aligns with the agenda of the CEO, particularly under the current circumstances where pandemic disruptions are leading to talent shortages and supply chain challenges which have affected almost every business in almost every industry at the same time. Consequently, businesses have been impacted by digitisation and transformation.

The chief learning officer now has to consider the role of learning taking these factors into account.

However, learning still means doing more, often with less [budget],” she said. “This needs to include the traditional expectations of performance linked to objectives, compliance requirements and employee readiness to do the job and the new expectation around talent and learning is that the chief learning officer is expected to drive change and innovation to stay more competitive and accelerate growth. CEOs are pulling away from merely operationally efficient organisations to companies that are agile and resilient.”

Lucy noted that as a result of data and tech innovations, clients also have changing expectations: “We must notice the relationship of the workforce with tech and move employees from passive recipients of change to empowered problem solvers. We are trying to offer and ensure that the employee value proposition manifests and contributes every day.”

For Standard Bank, this falls under three focus areas:

  • Skills activation: Setting the direction to activate, embed and utilise learning in the organisation.
  • Guidance on what to learn: Ongoing research helps prioritise skills for people to remain future fit and offers guidance on what and how to learn.
  • Ongoing building of capabilities for the future: Confirming critical roles and identifying critical skills.

According to Lucy, access to learning using a learning experience platform is the game changer as learning is then in the hands of the user, setting a democratising learning agenda. “L&D is moving away from providing training to people as an order taker to empowering people to develop. It is also shifting from analysing needs and identifying competencies to tracking progress and stretch skills,” she said,

She added, “Instead of designing training plans and buying content, there is more social learning and tracking those experiences to guide employees to the learning that matters. It is also helping employees to understand the relevancy of some courses and skills to develop from a personal perspective.”

In essence, as Annee commented, it is a shift from being a learning manager to a performance detective. “In this way it is useful to take some lessons from digital marketing principles, where L&D can attract, engage and result in an employee influencer network to create an ecosystem of communities. It takes a village to change a culture. L&D is not on an island alone within an organisation and can serve as the catalyst to activate the village,” she said.