Challenges and Opportunities in Corporate Learning

Corporate learning

The demand for talent development and organisational development consultants has been growing over the years. They become critical in guiding organisations and creating a competent workforce for tomorrow’s challenges, observes Siddharthan VGJ, Founder & Managing Director, Bodhih Training Solutions Pvt Ltd, for Elets News Network (ENN).

Siddharthan VGJ
Siddharthan VGJ, Founder & Managing Director, Bodhih Training Solutions Pvt Ltd

In the modern workplace, the opportunity for both companies and its employees is ever changing with innovation, market, customer behaviour, social media, socio-politics and economic policies of Government etc. The demand for new skills and knowledge makes continuous learning and updating oneself is inevitable. Businesses to sustain themselves ahead of the competition and to create newer markets are invest

ing heavily in building and managing a competent workforce. With automation and AI making several jobs redundant, there is a need for workforce and businesses to reinvent themselves. Today, the key to the success of an organisation is in providing the precise skilling prospects to their employees at the right time. With digital transformation sitting firmly in the backdrop, up-skilling or re-skilling helps one grow both personally and professionally. The demand for talent development and organisational development consultants has been growing over the years. They become critical in guiding organisations and creating a competent workforce for tomorrow’s challenges, today.

Both individuals and organisations are trailing behind and missing out on competitive advantages due to the skill gap today. Many employees already feel that their skill set is either redundant or outmoded and the pressure to stay and swim with the tides is more evident today than ever before.

Challenges faced by OrganiSational Development (OD) Consultant:

Competence of OD Consultant and Talent Managers: While it is the OD consultant and Talent Manager who are going to play a critical role in creating and managing their talent pool, it is imperative that they aware of the current changes happening in their own fields. This includes skilling for future learning methodologies and technological influences in the learning space, etc. Organisations and businesses face a massive challenge in terms of upskilling their units to meet the competency/skill gap. Considering that skill redundancy is one of the pain areas, OD consultants and Talent Managers should be able to design a clear career development plan to address the issue. Any gap in skill will only continue to widen if left unchecked, therefore, timely planning and innovative ideas and actions must be taken to ensure both the employee and the organisation grows.

Time Constraints: Well, several surveys conducted in the past, have time and again proved that both employees and employers are aware of the growing gaps in skills and its enormous impact on both the individual and the organisation. Businesses want its team members to be on the job – creating products and services, managing clients and customers and hence find it challenging to move them to the training environment. The lack of relevant and timely upskilling or re-training leaves a negative impact on organisations, leading to multiple issues such as lack of profits, lack of productivity, diminishing value of the brand and goodwill to name a few. We are haphazardly stuck in what is called a typical “Catch 22 situation”.

All of this is directly linked to the upskilling or reskilling of individuals to ensure the required competencies or gaps in skills are filled and help in retaining high motivation levels in an employee, in turn, helping them and the organisation grow together.

In an era where digitalisation is such an integral part of today’s corporate culture, it is highly recommended that organisations keep in mind the potential gaps with regards to the digital aspects and plan their skilling and upskilling programs to meet the objectives at the right time. Digitalisation and skills management requires organisations to bind technology and learning in a manner where continuous learning or upskilling becomes the culture of the organissation.

Formality v/s Real Impact: For several HR and L&D functions, training is more like a formality – completing a calendar or exhausting yearly budget. Any place where training is seen as just a formality or compliance requirement – the whole L&D fails. This hampers prospects of competent workforce and business growth. Upskilling employees are now at an all-time high – thanks to the rapid digitalisation of businesses of all sizes and sectors. It is said that the core skill sets that are relevant today may not even be considered vital or crucial for the jobs in the near future. To stay relevant in the fast-changing industry, it is important to not just upskill employees but to also ensure timely and effective reiteration and continuously learning is encouraged.

Stake Holders and their Involvement: In several circumstances, I have seen the stakeholders – the Reporting Managers or the functional heads are not involved in the L&D decision making. This creates a gap in what is needed and what is learnt by the team. An organisation needs to ensure that all upskilling programs are planned in line with the values, vision, and mission of the company. All employees must be upskilled to perform their jobs both effectively and efficiently, meeting all requirements of the current technological, soft skills and competencies set as thresholds to meet the desired outcome. Once these are met, productivity and profits will follow instantaneously, and this cannot be achieved without the involvement of all relevant stakeholders.

An effective Learning and Development training plan will make a huge impact on an organisation’s and Individuals’ growth. Talent management teams and Employers today foresee the immediate need to invest in upskilling their employees. Many organisations today are placing career development plan at the top of their agenda, ensuring skill gaps are minimised is a top priority of several organisations. It is also one of the most effective ways of ensuring there is a buy-in and creating an enthusiasm among employees.

For the most part, the responsibility of upskilling, re-training or training is bestowed upon the Learning and Development department of the organisation.

A few things to keep in mind to ensure the effectiveness of training is kept intact are:

 Continuous Learning: Creating a learning culture that does not start and end with induction or compliance process. It should be developed in a way where Micro-Learning and blended learning approaches are introduced to ensure retention of a concept and time to apply learnings at the job is taken into consideration. This also helps in providing short, bite-sized learning interventions that can keep the employees engaged and be conducted at different intervals. A good Learning Management System helps in conducting such training, where employees attend in-house training programs or revise the course content at a later time through the integrated system. An LMS gives you multiple options to make learning easy, self-driven, and continuous by providing numerous learning opportunities via collaborative workshops, streaming videos, articles, course content etc.

Customised Learning: The one size fits all concept is no longer applicable when it comes to competency-based training, the idea is to create an alluring career development training plan that looks into an individual’s current skills and competencies and prepare a roadmap based on this. In addition to this Learning and Development teams also need to seek out various formats such as Gamification, E-Learning, Blended Learning, Outbound Learning, etc. that suits a learner’s needs and deliver training in a holistic manner.

Limitless Learning: Heard of M-Learning yet? Mobile Learning is a learner’s choice to learn from anywhere, at any time, using a device of their choice. In the mobile-friendly era, almost all businesses have an “App” which makes doing business whit them far easier these days. Similarly, to create and maintain a leaner’s interest you must give them the time and convenience of learning at their own pace, an LMS app or the businesses platform can be used to provide uninterrupted and limitless learning; Learning On-the-go.

Collaborative Approach: Learning doesn’t necessarily always happen in the classroom or via online courses, a lot of learning happens on a regular basis via peer-to-peer learning. With most of us being citizens of the global village these days and being better connected via technology, peer-to-peer learning is not limited to peers located under one roof, a good LMS can be used to share similar experiences and knowledge across the globe. It can be used to create discussion forums to share and learn in an informal but structured manner.

Skilling initiatives are a must for both employees and organisations grow. It is time to rethink and relook at our existing up-skilling programmes.