According to John Ambrose of Skillsoft, the ratio of learning professionals to learners is diminishing, forcing L&D departments to do more with less. Continuous learning is one way.
3 Questions…For John Ambrose, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development, Skillsoft
1 Recent research has indicated that L&D departments have been changing their focus in recent times. What changes are you seeing? We’ve seen the ratio of learning professionals to learners diminish to the point that is less than ideal. Doing more with less certainly hasn’t excluded this multi-faceted business function. But learning professionals who offer a self-service enterprise learning program can be more strategic in their departmental mission and work toward addressing skills gaps and developing succession planning. According to a recent Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Factbook, “L&D teams should build skills in performance consulting, gain expertise in new technologies including social and mobile, and work to cultivate strong learning cultures within their organizations.” Essentially, learning professionals need to be seen as contributing to the business; increasing the performance of their organization through the performance of their people.
2 How can HR professionals enable continuous learning?
Without a doubt, a culture of continuous learning must be rooted at the very core of the organization. Without it, you’ll lack optimal transfer of learning to the job, delay individual progress,
and hinder organizational innovation. When content is woven into the daily fabric of the organization, employees can get just-in-time assistance to the problems they are trying to solve. They won’t have to “miss work” to get what they need, and the concepts they learn can be applied immediately. Get used to the idea that learning isn’t an event; rather, learning should be infused in the day-to-day and available anywhere and everywhere employees need it. In working with other business departments, learning leaders will be able to identify skills and gaps
and be able to develop a plan to bridge the two.
3 What advice do you have for L&D professionals who want to be viewed as contributing to the success of the organization?
First off, if you are a learning professional not devoting at least half of your budget to e-learning, you are missing huge opportunities to be more productive and more efficient. The enterprise-wide scalability is well suited for skill development and transfer. Three more pieces of advice:
1) Be prepared. Get in front of your skills gaps before they get too big to fill. Not just for the sake of continuity, but for the sake of innovation for your organization. We already know that we’re going to see a big dip in numbers when baby boomers retire. Why not get ahead of that? Additionally, offer a variety of learning asset types that meet the wide range of all five generations in the workforce.
2) Take advantage of the benefits of new and emerging technology, such as mobile access. Employees are busy and on the go, so getting content into their hands when and where they need it increases the chances of learning transfer in the moment; not having to wait until they return to the desk per se. Look for ways to promote and encourage learning on the go.
3) Lastly, social is huge. It will transform the way that people learn. Flows of information and the amount of it that each employee can contribute are important. Having a forum for employees to share ideas, ask questions, be seen as experts, and be viewed as learners is an invaluable piece of the learning culture that is necessary for optimal organizational success.
—Source: “The Corporate LearningFactbook 2013: Benchmarks, Trends, and Analysis of the U.S. Training Market” by Karen O’Leonard, Deloitte Consulting LLP, January 2013.