Building a learning organization requires more than just an L&D budget

August 11, 2022

Learning is trending.

The way the world perceives upskilling has dramatically evolved in the last couple of years. Remember when the pandemic broke and a lot of very cool universities across the world announced free courses? Yes, our feeds were blown with certifications and people sharing testimonials on how they’ve been utilizing the lockdown to grow and develop their skills. Well, another thing that happened in the midst of that was that people began demanding learning opportunities from their employers. They were no longer able to attend in-person conferences, meetings, networking events and a lot of people felt that was dramatically stunting their growth. Thus, organizations began paying heed to this sudden demand for learning and allocating budgets and time to a segment that was much ignored for a long time — L&D.

In fact, LinkedIn recently released their 2022 Workplace Learning Report which reflected this through data.

These statistics essentially show that organizations are responding to the demands of today’s workforce which deeply values learning. They want an organization to invest in their growth and employers are fast realizing how significantly this factor is impacting hiring and retention. Another LinkedIn survey showed that 7 out of 10 Gen Z are more likely to join a company if they get ample learning opportunities.

So, we know that companies are on the right track. But are their L&D interventions?

More often than not, learning interventions are devised and delivered on the back of limited or no data. This also means that these interventions are extremely standardized and centralized without catering to specific employee needs. One of the most trending forms of upskilling implemented by organizations at the beginning of the pandemic was workshops conducted via webinars. Workshops on wide subjects that ‘might’ have been relevant to ‘most’ employees.

While this is a great step in the right direction, it’s not necessarily something that directly helps businesses because it is being executed blindly. What most companies fail to realize is that if you invest in learning the right way, by basing your interventions on reliable data, it can directly impact business outcomes. The Definitive Guide to Learning: Growth in the Flow of Work, a research study produced by The Josh Bersin Company shows that “effective L&D departments are no longer training functions — they’re growth functions”.

Making data-backed upskilling decisions means you’re not wasting money or time and directly contributing to your business. In fact, a lot of companies invest money in trying to map RoI on learning interventions, and oftentimes even cut L&D budgets due to poor impact metrics. This is largely due to the fact that most interventions are being implemented randomly.

Fundamento helps companies measure and develop teams in power skills and provides them with data-backed training recommendations.

Here are some best practices we think organizations should adopt:

Personalized learning

Carpet-bombing L&D initiatives has to stop. The current workforce is very enthusiastic about working in organizations that invest in their personal professional growth. This means understanding their needs and addressing them in a way that propels their career. So, while organizations put aside L&D budgets, it might be pertinent for them to note that using it without really understanding what each employee needs would not reap the results they’re looking for.

As mentioned above, the best way to do this is with data. Measuring teams on power skills can be extremely beneficial in charting out the right learning interventions for them.

Introduce a learning allowance

Millennials and Gen Z also want their own space and time to upskill and they are extremely vocal about it. Learning allowances are transformative because they allow an employee to chart out their own learning journey. This makes room for on-demand learning where employees can learn in the flow of work, at their own time and pace.

Read more about how learning allowances facilitate on-demand learning.

Learning in the flow of work

It’s important that whatever L&D route the organization takes, it seamlessly integrates with the employees’ work and is continuous. A lot of the upskilling initiated by organizations goes unattended because it requires employees to go above and beyond their existing work or is only a one-time activity. Thus, recommendations for training that are given to employees should essentially help them learn in the flow of work, making it more impactful.

There’s a lot more that organizations can do to build better teams and see improvement in business outcomes. We’ll be deconstructing these over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, visit Fundamento if you’re looking to power up your organization today.

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