Uncommon Common Sense
Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of what we already know. I just read the results of one piece of research that reminded me of this:
A well-trained workforce is a competitive advantage in a down economy.
ASTD and the Institute for Corporate Productivity (I4cp) are about to release the study “Learning in a Down Economy,” which reports that in the current economic downturn, 38 percent of the companies they surveyed are increasing their emphasis on learning. That study also found that “companies that put a stronger emphasis on learning during the economic crisis had better market performance.” (see ASTD article “Economic Survival Guide” )
How to Achieve Market Advantage Through Learning
The challenge is how to become one of that 38 percent of companies wise enough to enjoy a competitive advantage in their industries, long-term as well as short-term, by optimizing learning technologies now. Internal experts or consultants like Sealund and Associates can help maximize that advantage with the latest best practices and learning technologies.
Whether you can leverage internal expertise or invest in advice from a consultant, there are several key actions to take.
Show executives you understand their needs and can deliver solutions. If you begin with a “listening session” (needs-analysis conversation) with business unit executives, you can achieve three important outcomes. By getting the leaders to talk about their business objectives, you’ll ensure that all your learning programs support those corporate goals. At the same time, you can find out how the leadership measures employee performance related to their goals, and make sure your programs’ content and learning activities reflect those performance metrics. Finally, your having engaged the leadership and asked questions that address their concerns helps you obtain their sponsorship for the programs that the business needs. Training becomes an even more visible, integral and vital part of the business’s success.
Leverage learning technologies. Learning technologies can provide the metrics you need to demonstrate the value and effectiveness of courses and entire programs. Serious games and other eLearning methods may have internal mastery metrics that equate directly with job-performance metrics tracked after the learning. Certainly, a robust LMS can report mastery achievement within courses and curricula.
Keep your eye on the bottom line. When corporate budgets are tight, you can assure executives that you have the tools for the most efficient learning by applying technology-based learning models such as webinars, simulations, serious games and virtual worlds that reach the highest number of employees in the most effective, as well as the most efficient, ways. With these tools, learning can put employees to work - increasingly productive work.
Build a learning culture. A learning culture is the foundation of the company’s long-term advantage against competitors by stimulating innovation in alignment with business strategies. Coming full circle to that first key action, as you continue to engage executive advocacy for learning—based on its efficiency and measurable effectiveness—you ensure a solid learning investment into the future. So report regularly on how serious games and other eLearning methods are engaging employees, helping them identify with corporate strategies, and stimulating innovation as part of a learning culture.
What do you think? Please share your comments.