"In our fast-moving and changing world, to stand still means you are going backwards. Learning and development underpins organisational improvement and change. Excellent learning opportunities will not only be key in attracting the best staff but in ensuring employees have leading edge knowledge, skills and practices and it is vital in retaining talented workforce members."
Andy Lancaster, Head of L&D Content, CIPD
ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES: Reducing Employee Turnover
Lancaster reminds us that in today's fast-moving an ever-changing world, competitive advantage cannot be guaranteed because the competition is always knocking at your door, pushing to disrupt the space in which you operate. Additionally, today's digital technologies threaten organizational stability through an ever-present threat of turnover. From remote job searches and application processes to remote work opportunities, employment is no longer limited by proximity. Between that and the current workforces' global need for self-fulfillment in their jobs and a proper work-life balance, effective employee engagement strategies are critical. Catering to these priorities and this change in workforce trends will provide a strong company culture that should reduce employee turnover.
"Supporting staff to pursue their unique career goals and in a valued process of lifelong learning will be a key factor that sets organisations apart as employers of choice."
LEARNING: Developing the Employee Benefits the Business
One of the most notable themes throughout Lancaster's discussion is that focus on training and development is a key employee engagement strategy that translates into an effective way to reduce employee turnover. The importance of professional and personal development is highlighted as a critical component to maintaining engagement for the ever-growing millennial workforce. However, as Lancaster keenly points out, this drive isn't unique to millennials! Your entire workforce wants, seeks, and even expects a certain degree of drive from the Learning and Development department to support employees in seeking development in the areas that they deem important to their own professional development. Employees aren't satisfied with role-specific knowledge development – they seek recognition of their own interests and aspirations beyond and even outside of their current role.
Even though organizations' training should focus on the organization's business model and bottom-line, this insight demands that those lines be blurred. Training that benefits the learner benefits the business. Sometimes the reciprocal is true and sometime it isn't, but putting in the extra resources to develop employees outside of their role ultimately does pay off for an organization.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: Driving Employee Performance
Although providing employees the ability to seek their own areas of development may be ideal for the employee, it's critical that organizations can find the line where the demand on resources outweighs the benefits. Lancaster tells us that machine learning can aid organizations in establishing this boundary, by providing predictive business insights from the data relationships and patterns captured through online questions, searches, and content. Machine learning, therefore, can enable a business to respond to complex associations and proactively respond faster to the needs and aspirations of their employees. With this knowledge, organizations can provide personalized learning opportunities and key learning programs without straying from the business performance goals and culture.
This means that using the right knowledge management technologies not only permits the optimization of training design and delivery, but also the maximization of profit gain and turnover reduction at minimal cost.
"Learning that is not a generic ‘one size fits all' is more engaging and motivating for staff. Whilst key concepts and procedures must be delivered in a consistent way it is vital that learners contextualize learning for their role."
DIGITIZED LEARNING: Transforming Corporate Training
Lancaster reminds us that digital technologies have transformed every area of our lives, including the way we interact, research, shop, and even socialize; of course it has transformed the way we learn and develop professionally. Any organization that is not bending their L&D approach to this new way of life is ignoring a key insight into the modern learner. Employees need to access their learning anywhere, anytime, so that they can receive performance support just when they need it. This means a transition from "course" to "resources" and a drive towards the socialization of online learning through communities and collaborative opportunities. He stresses that savvy organizations are harnessing the potential of this new world by selecting quality knowledge management platforms that align with this transformation. Organizations who are not moving forward in this manner will simply be left behind in the dust of those who are.
Lancaster's insight into these critical areas reiterate how investment in learning and development, the digitization of learning, engagement activities, and turnover reduction strategies are all paramount to success in today's fast-moving, digital world.
Andy Lancaster, Head of Learning and Development Content at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), is helping to lead a wider vision for learning and development across the field. At CIPD, Lancaster oversees the creation of professional development programmes, qualifications, and resources across all delivery channels. He was part of a team that developed their new learning and development qualifications, and he is currently pioneering digital learning at the institute.
Lancaster offers his insight from more than 25 years' experience in learning and development, a Master's Degree in Instructional Design, and experience in a range of sectors and as a consultant in the field. Here, he will share his expert insight regarding learning, knowledge management, and engaging employees in the digital transformation age.
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