Employee learning and development is no longer a nice-to-have; it's a must-have - especially if companies expect to hang onto key talent. And I'm not sure I know anyone who doesn't want to do that.
And since we're talking about expectations, employees have a few too. Today, employees expect their employers to support a culture of ongoing learning in which they can continuously enhance their skills, knowledge and experiences.
When continuous learning is openly supported and encouraged, employees know their organization values them and is investing in them, which can go a long way in boosting employee engagement, performance and retention. A focus on learning and development helps companies adapt with greater agility to market, leadership, technology changes and a host of other factors.
How do organizations weigh in when it comes to the importance of learning? According to Bersin by Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends 2016, more than eight in ten executives (84 percent) surveyed view learning as an important (40 percent) or very important (44 percent) issue.
As research continues to underscore the importance of learning, how are some savvy companies fostering a culture of learning?
Let's look at three trends that are changing the corporate classroom.
Video and gamification
Today, when people want to learn something here and now, where do they turn? YouTube, of course. And it's no wonder. Videos have the power to help us learn virtually everything from just about anywhere.
For organizations watching their training budgets, corporate training videos can be relatively inexpensive to produce while providing employees with an entertaining and engaging way to learn. With videos, learners watch at their own pace and in their own time, making scheduling conflicts a thing of the past.
Gamification is fast emerging as an effective way to engage learners of all ages. In generic terms, gamification refers to the addition of game concepts to a field not traditionally associated with games. It provides instant feedback so that learners know what they know or what they should know, which results in better recall and retention, and better engagement.
But thanks to mobile-friendly learning technology and responsive design, learning at work can take place 24/7 - from smartphones and tablets to ultraportable laptops.
As more jobs move away from the traditional office setup - a 9-to-5 desk job - many companies are dialing up their mobile learning capabilities to offer employees anytime-anywhere access to training. With employees working flex hours across various locations, doing their job from home or spending time on the road, the availability of learning programs on mobile devices simply makes good business sense.
Integrated Learning Management Systems
Many companies are implementing cloud-based Learning Management System (LMS) to create more effective learning environments.
With an LMS that's integrated with other talent management processes, companies can easily develop smart learning paths for employees and link learning directly to competencies to improve individual, team and organizational performance.
An integrated LMS system that's worth its weight will also enable HR and managers to assign relevant, high-impact learning and development activities to address skill gaps, or in support of career progression and talent pools. The right LMS system can also help improve engagement by giving employees the responsibility and accountability for career development.
Every learner is different
Training mediums and trends aside for a moment, there's one fact that organizations can't ignore - everyone learns and processes information in different ways (I know I do).
Video and gamification might be hot in the training industry now, but they might not be every employee's most effective or preferred way of learning (for example, classroom vs. online). Managers first need to get to know their employees and which learning environment or methods work best - and then consider that when creating learning and development plans.
On a final note, remember that L&D plans are subject to change and, in fact, should change if an organization is truly committed to building a culture of continuous learning.