There is an emerging need to shift from designing learning programmes to shaping learning ecosystems
Most organisations have recognised the need for reskilling and upskilling for the digital era and have budgets set aside for training. Such training has to be focused on building capabilities for creating unique customer experience and hence there is a huge need for training employees in digital skills such as analytics, designing AI centered products, using virtual reality and augmented reality in sales, training or for customer intimacy, building solutions using sensors to name a few. While the attempts to enhance customer experience are underway, it is important to note that the fundamental capabilities required to service the customers in a holistic manner become even more critical as customer expectations are rapidly changing. Hence the training in these areas require priority attention in order to succeed in the digital era. Although organisations are familiar with such training and have periodic training interventions, there is a huge scope for addressing the capability gaps that exist and thus enhance the training outcomes.
The traditional approach to talent development to get the resources aligned with the business goals is centered around standardising the contents and delivery of the programme and making it mandatory for the employees to undergo such programmes from time to time as required. There are several limitations with this approach. Recognising the individual needs and the inability to address them speedily, training is delivered onetime and only through a predetermined trainer and it is not continuous. New learnings on account of self discoveries based on solving customer problems are not captured and shared with others in the organisation etc are some of the challenges faced currently.
Digital learning platforms are designed to address these concerns and can be a shot in the arm for L&D managers and business managers to bring about quantum change in the productivity of the teams as well as get them to be agile and flexible to function in the dynamic business environment. L&D function will get the support from the business if they are able to solve their burning business problems and help them in ensuring the teams are equipped with the required firepower to be effective in the marketplace.
Organisations which have invested in various technologies related to HR in the past wonder how the digital learning platforms are going to be different and have the potential to make the transformation a reality. In order to achieve success, there are some important areas that would require to be addressed right at the start. Learning solution being designed has to be centered around the business problem and should be measurable. To begin with, the definition of the business problem has to be precise.
Improved customer satisfaction index, reduction in the number of escalations, improved cycle time in processing of documents are some examples which need to be quantified. Next step is to define the required skills in a granular fashion for the teams involved with these activities and carry out assessment on their current capabilities vs the desired levels. With the business environment being dynamic and chaotic at times not only due to the digital transformation that the organisation is experiencing but also on account of the volatility of other elements in the ecosystem due to policy changes by the government, actions of the competitors, emergence of new alternatives and changing customer behaviour, coping with the changes and enabling employees to constantly upgrade and remain relevant for the business would be absolutely essential.
L&D managers would be well served by recognising these trends, work closely with the businesses to define priorities at granular levels on a continual basis and focus on building the ecosystem for learning rather than building training content with predefined boundaries. Going forward, the success lies not so much in designing and delivering great training programmes but in facilitating and designing the learning ecosystem equipped with the right tools and analytics supporting customised learning pathways.
The writer is CEO, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company